He had walked a hard road. As a child, who knows how much weighed on his young mind – I’m sure it was tough even then to fit in with his peers. Perfection – the demand of every moment he experienced -- the demand of his Father. As a young adult, what pressures did he bring daily to that Father, in anguish and on his knees? We seem to think Gethsemane was the only time he sweat blood in the face of severe testing -- but sometimes I wonder...
Adulthood, and the constant allure of power that threatened his mission of humble service – it must have been excruciating at times to refrain from reclaiming his glory when it suited his needs… The song says anytime while hanging on the cross “He could have called ten thousand angels” – but what about before that? What about when his cousin John was be-headed? Do you think he considered it then? What about when he rode into Jerusalem on a donkey instead of a shining white stallion like he deserved? Do you think it was easy for him to stoop so low? Jesus, the son of God, walked a hard road.
His whole life was a symphony of searing meaning, of promised purpose and prophetic completion, performed through a desperate and unceasing dependency on the Holy Spirit – building, constantly building, towards a powerful, awe-full moment, building towards “crescendo…” The symphony thundered towards crescendo at the cross – “It is finished!” he cried before dying – and concluded with the resurrection. But what happened after the crescendo?
If I were in Jesus’ shoes, I would have high-tailed it for heaven as soon as that cross business was behind me. I would have stepped out of that tomb, inhaled a deep breath of crisp morning air, stretched deeply – and flown home to my Father and the comforts of heaven. Mission accomplished; I died for them, I rose for them – it’s their mission now. Time for some well-deserved R&R… Good thing I wasn’t Jesus.
Jesus didn’t go home, at least not right away. He stayed on this earth beyond his required ‘tour of duty,’ voluntarily remaining in hostile territory to make sure his dear friends and followers were comforted, encouraged, filled with joy, strengthened and enlightened with an understanding of what had just happened -- the fulfillment of prophesy and new life for all who would take it. He also promised them access to the same Spirit of God that allowed him the perfect life, and that this Holy Spirit would be their constant comforter, fortifier, strength and teacher until his return. We are still sustained by that same Holy Spirit.
Christ does not simply give us eternal life and then abandon us to our human self-efforts. Even today, He sticks around ‘after the crescendo’ of our salvation. The work begun in us is continued to completion: ‘Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus’ (Phil. 1:6).” Through your life, Christ continues His unbroken symphony of promise.