The Hebrews writer said this.
In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.” Hebrews 5.
Lent walks with Jesus on the road to Jerusalem. As we make the journey with him, we notice how he endures homelessness, Luke 9:58; the constant criticism and judgment of his critics, Luke 10:25, 11:53,54; and the pain of seeing the fallenness of humanity, 19:41.
Anyone with Jesus on that road notices the attention he gives to his Father, telling his parents, early on, that he must be about his Father’s business,” Luke 2:49. And the prayers! You see how often he retreats to pray, so much so that his disciples asked him to teach them to pray like that, Luke 11:1.
It’s no surprise when the Hebrews writer mentions Jesus’ “reverent submission.” Knowing what was about to befall him in Jerusalem, he still prayed, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet, not my will but yours be done.” Luke 22:42. This is the prayer of someone that has utterly released his life into God’s care.
In the 40 days of Lent, we are reminded, if we’re paying attention, that self-centeredness is not welcome on the road to the cross. Self-will gives way to the will of God. Comfort gives way to suffering and death. Greed gives way to generosity.
Giving up chocolate or Facebook for Lent is such an insult to the rigors of divine love. This love persevered through the rebellion of the Old Testament and the horrors of the Cross. To say to Christ on the journey to the cross that dessert or social media or television is the best that you can muster is the height of hubris.
That is why Jesus warned wannabe disciples of what signing up to follow him would involve. “Are you willing to do this,” Jesus asks us.
Prayer: Dear Jesus, we dread and long-for this Lenten walk with you. Dread because the fear we have for inevitable suffering that comes to those who renounce all to follow you. Longing because we know that ultimately this road leads to the empty tomb and victory over sin and death. Dread because we know that the cherished things of this earth are also the things we must leave. Longing because we know that only you can fill our hungers. Please give us courage and faith to go with you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.