This post is part of the Holy Week 2013 series.
So, I made it to the vigil last night. I’m so thankful.
I spent most of the hour staring at the icon of Jesus (pictured above), which last year I realized is incredible because in the depiction of his eyes, he seems to both take in the whole world while staring at and through the individual beholding him.
I stared at that icon and sought to place my heart with him in the garden on that last night of his freedom. The darkness. The fear. The loneliness. The anticipation. The desire for that cup to pass his lips on by.
The eventual surrender.
At one point, I realized that right at this moment, our Christ is seated at the right hand of the Father. And to get there, it means he actually walked through the events he — and we — most dreaded him to experience.
He went through with it. He walked through the doors leading to his death.
I thought about the strength that required. The resolve of will. The willingness. The greater vision that compelled him beyond the scourging and the pain and the abandonment and the forsakenness and the death and the descent into hell.
He walked forward.
Then this morning, as I read the events of that last day of his life, which we observe on this day called Good Friday, I saw even more of that initiative.
Like when Judas and the guards and religious leaders entered the garden and Jesus, John says, “went forward” and asked them, “Whom do you seek?” (John 18:4). John says that Jesus knew “all these things that would come upon him,” and even still, he stepped forward and asked the question directly. He even asked it twice (vv. 4, 7). Then, when Peter tried to defend him with a sword, Jesus tells him to put the sword away because, he says, “Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?” (v. 11).
The events of John 18-19 move forward with such unrelenting purpose. He’s arrested. He’s questioned. He’s put before Pilate and questioned again. He’s dressed in a robe and scourged. He’s given a cross, which he carries to the Place of the Skull. They cast lots for his clothing. He gives his mother to the care of John. He dies. He’s pierced. He’s taken down from the cross and carried to a tomb, where he is dressed for burial.
It moves with such intentionality, and he withstood it all.
He did not look back. He did not forestall. He did not run.
And so today, we both mourn and receive what he gave and wait.