Courage to act when one fears what lies ahead is a circumstance common to man. We resist entering a room where unfamiliar faces wait. Mounting a podium before a live audience makes us tremble. Wearing a smile, when people who oppose us are present, challenges our resolve. If we could run the other way, we would, and often do.
Planning to celebrate Passover with his disciples more than two thousand years ago, Jesus arrived outside Jerusalem, knowing he would not leave the city alive. The people heard he was coming and lined the streets, waving palm branches and throwing clothing in his path. He rode a donkey through the crowd, greeting the citizens as a king might. This display of popularity angered the Jewish leaders and they sought ways to silence him. Though it was the middle of the night, they followed him and his disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane, dragging Jesus away to stand before the Sanhedrin and later Pilate.
Jesus could have said no to his fate, simply turning away from Jerusalem and celebrating Passover elsewhere. He could have continued his ministry in another part of Judea. He could have behaved in the same way most of us would have when confronted with difficult circumstances. But he was no ordinary man—he was God in human form. He’d been sent here to redeem mankind from its sin. The only way to complete his mission was to offer his life as the atoning blood sacrifice.
When the Sanhedrin later confronted him, asking if he was the Christ, the son of God, he answered with prophecy. (Luke 22:69) “I am. Hereafter the Son of Man will sit on the right hand of the power of God.” His answer angered his accusers and would result in his being led away to be tried and convicted by Roman law, sentenced to die by crucifixion at Calvary.
As we enter this Easter season, remembering what was done for us at the cross, let us not forget Jesus lived among us as a man. He faced the day to day trials of human life to identify with us. He sweat drops of blood as he faced his destiny. He knew real fear as we would. But in the end he acted as the God he was that we might live for eternity with Him—conduct none of us could duplicate.