I’m working through a Lenten devotional called Contemplating the Cross: A 40 Day Pilgrimage of Prayer by Tricia McCary Rhodes, for the second time this Lenten season. My first time through was six years ago. I’m getting so much more out of it this time around, mostly because of my willingness and desire to dig deep and face unpleasant emotions. There’s no way to understand Christ’s suffering without facing the pain and suffering head on.
Yesterday’s devotion helped me understand Jesus’s suffering in the garden in a new way. In order for Jesus, who had no sin, to be the sacrifice for our sins, he had to take on the sins of the world. He had to become sin for us. Rhodes explains, the cup Jesus asks the Father to take from him is filled with the sins of all humanity throughout all of time. Can you imagine the repulsion that Jesus must have felt?
In response to each daily devotion, Rhodes urges readers to write prayers. Here’s mine:
Dear Lord Jesus,
I cannot imagine the depths of sin and darkness that filled the cup you were given in the garden. My sin was included. Your perfect righteousness was defiled by the sin of the world that night.
I am so eternally grateful that you drank from the cup, becoming sin for us, so you could be the sacrifice for sin. My life and the lives of everyone I love, indeed, everyone in the world, would have been lost had you dashed the cup upon the ground. Your struggle, pain, and doubt was not as big and strong as your love and obedience toward the Father.
If only we could try to immolate that obedience, Lord. We would all be so much better off; I would be. But, you are perfect righteousness. You are ultimate love and compassion. You are the giver of life and all good things. Thank you for loving me and drinking my sin into your body that night. May my life always reflect this gratitude.
In your precious name, Amen.