Changes in life are inevitable. Some happen so slowly, at an almost glacial pace, that we hardly notice. Others happen in the blink of an eye and leave us reeling from the shock. In times of change it is comforting to know that Jesus understands how we feel because He experienced that blink-of-an-eye kind of change in His earthly ministry.
Tomorrow is Palm Sunday. All four gospels record what is called the Triumphal Entry of Jesus. I like the way John records this happy event:
The next day the great crowd that had come for the Feast heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting,
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Blessed is the King of Israel!” John 12:12
The people were so excited to see Jesus come into Jerusalem. They loved Him and praised His name! He was called blessed.
But Good Friday is less than a week away. This is the day on which Jesus was beaten, spit upon, had a crown of thorns placed upon His bleeding head, was mocked, and was finally crucified. When Pilate, the Roman governor, tried to set Jesus free, having found Him to have done nothing worthy of death, the crowd had turned on Him.
It was the day of Preparation of Passover Week, about the sixth hour.
“Here is your king,” Pilate said to the Jews.
But they shouted, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!”
“Shall I crucify your king?” Pilate asked.
“We have no king but Caesar,” the chief priests answered.
Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified. John 19:14-16.
Talk about a change! In less than a week Jesus had gone from blessed to anathema in the eyes of the Jews and the Romans. I don’t know about you, but I know that Jesus experienced a change bigger than any I have ever known.
So one might wonder how Jesus dealt with such a devastating change. The answer is prayer. All of John 17 is the recorded prayer of Jesus for Himself, for His disciples, and for all believers. Before His arrest, Jesus went to pray in the garden of Gethsemane.
They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.”
Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” Mark 14:32-36.
When faced with a huge change in how the people would treat Him, Jesus prayed. He asked that this change not occur if possible, but ultimately He prayed that the Father’s will be done. He trusted God’s plan in the change. I know Jesus had an advantage because He was God incarnate and was closely in tune with the Father at all times. We let life get in the way and don’t always (or maybe even seldom) stay in tune with our Father in Heaven. But if Jesus could trust in God’s plan in the face of His own crucifixion, surely we can trust His plan in the changes that take place in our lives.
Can you trust in God’s plan today? I think I’m going to try, and realizing Jesus understands how I feel during all the changes in my life helps.