It’s march madness time! The men’s NCAA national championship basketball tournament is underway. I’ve filled out my brackets with all the precision and cunning of a roller skating giraffe trying to win a limbo contest. Lets just say that I didn’t burn a lot of emotional energy on the process. Some things are just fun serve as a get-a-way in lives. Others, however, demand our full attention, full investment and are often life changing. Jesus had such a moment. We read about it in Luke’s gospel: “He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, ’Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.’ An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being In anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.” (22:41-44)
Jesus was facing the most difficult test of his life and his deepest desire was not for self comfort, but to fulfill the will of his father. Did you notice God’s response? Looking through the lens of history we know that God did not shield or “protect” his son, Jesus, from the hardship. I want you to see this through the Father’s eyes… we would be very quick to rescue and protect. Our heavenly Father came to his son’s aid to strengthen him for the journey. Still knowing what must take place; completely understanding the inevitable pain of this road - God let his son continue. Why? Take a look at Acts 2:23… and it’s neighborhood… did you catch it? “...God’s set purpose…” Yes, the heavenly Father was involved in the death of his own son… all to redeem his beloved; you and me. There was no other way. A price had to be paid. Justice had to be served. Wrath had to be poured out. Jesus became the target of all of that at the will of his father for our sake. But, praise be to God… there is a rescue! Acts 2:24 “But God raised him (Jesus) from the agony of death…”!! You and I also have this promise. So, when we have to walk through the trials of this life we can do so with confidence of knowing that our Father understands; that our Lord, Jesus, understands and that through it all we can have life - even if this flesh is lost. Praise be to God, the Father of our Lord, Jesus, the Christ. BTW… Michigan State over Arizona for the title.