Betrayed by a kiss, denied by friends, abandoned, alone, abused, falsely accused, judged, condemned, stripped, whipped, spat upon, crowned with thorns, burdened by the cross, mocked and insulted, thirsty, dying…perhaps it all had to come to pass just like this so that no one on the face of the earth would ever be able to say that Jesus doesn't understand my suffering, that Jesus doesn't know my pain, that Jesus just doesn't get it.
Jesus gets it alright - He understands all of our suffering and then some. Jesus has "been there and done that" in larger measure than most of us can begin to imagine. He took all of this upon Himself out of love for us, and He took all of this upon Himself because sometimes we are the ones who betray Him; we are the ones whose spirit is willing but whose flesh is weak. Sometimes we are the ones who give false testimony, who are poor in the judgments we make. Sometimes we are the ones at whose hands others suffer. Sometimes we are the ones who mock and insult others. Sometimes we are the ones who deny Him and abuse and abandon Him as He is found in those around us.
And in spite of all of this, God’s love for us has no end, and His mercy is forever. The story of the suffering of Jesus is a violent one, but at its heart is a love story: a story of God's love for His people and His willingness to give everything to show us the depths of that love.
As we enter the week called "holy," may the love and mercy of the Lord Jesus make us holy and bring us to the joy of His resurrection.