The dictionary defines anticipation as ‘a feeling of excitement about something that is going to happen’. Maybe a holiday to some exotic location or perhaps a concert featuring your favourite singer or musician.
Another definition is ‘the act of preparing for something’. Ahh! That might not be so pleasurable and relaxing – a job interview, an important exam or perhaps a confrontation with an unreasonable boss.
Have you ever wondered how Jesus felt as he faced his impending arrest, trial and subsequent crucifixion? In fact, when did the horror that awaited him actually begin to dawn on him. Was it when he was growing up, sitting at the feet of the Rabbis who instructed him in the scriptures? Or maybe as a young man, working alongside his father in the carpenter’s workshop, or was it later?
We know for certain that he was aware of a special destiny when he was twelve years old and engaging in discussions with the religious teachers in the temple, after being left behind when his parents had already begun their journey home. His words to his parents when they remonstrated with him for causing them great anxiety, are found in Luke 3:49, ‘But why did you seek me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?’ But was the full horror of the cross revealed to him then?
He certainly knew later on in his ministry when he instructed his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah. Luke 9: 22 TPT ‘The Son of Man is destined to experience great suffering and face complete rejection by the Jewish leaders and religious hierarchy. He will be killed and raised back to life on the third day.’
The true horrors were obviously made very clear when he wrestled in prayer in the garden of Gethsemane, sweating great drops of blood – a sign that he was under extreme stress – as he pleaded with his Father to find another way to obtain our forgiveness and freedom from the penalty of sin.
Thankfully he didn’t choose the easy way out, knowing that there really was no other way.
As I regained consciousness following five hours of open heart surgery in 2006, I found myself in extreme pain and, with all the paraphernalia which goes with critical care, my only thought was how to escape this nightmare. Then, as clearly as can be, the realisation came that Jesus chose to suffer pain and suffering far beyond anything that I could experience when he endured the humiliation and torture of the Roman cross.
Why would anybody do that from choice I asked? He lovingly told me that he did that because of his great love for me. I became overwhelmed with that thought and my own situation became a little more bearable as I drew strength and comfort from the knowledge that Jesus was with me and would never leave me.
Why wouldn’t we love and serve someone like that?