When Jesus had finished saying all these things, he said to his disciples, “As you know, the Passover is two days away – and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.” (verses 1-2)
At what point in his earthly life did Jesus become aware of the full scope of his mission? In the counsels of the Trinity, it had been planned out since “the creation of the world”(Revelation 13:8), but at what point did he, as the “Word become flesh,” grasp it? Was it at his baptism when the Holy Spirit descended on him like a dove, anointing him with power? Was it when he spent several days in the Temple at age twelve, knowing that he needed to be in his Father’s house? Or was it earlier yet?
We don’t know. Indeed, the mystery is too deep to fathom. But clearly by the time he walked the dusty roads of Galilee and Judea with his disciples he knew it well. All through his ministry he had the cross fully in his sights. Indeed, he spoke of it time and again, even though his disciples seemed unable to fully grasp his meaning. He stated it clearly for the first time immediately following Peter’s confession of him as “the Christ, the Son of the living God,” telling them he must go to Jerusalem, which would result in his suffering and death (Matthew 16:21). He stated it explicitly again after the healing of the demon-possessed boy (Matthew 17:22-23), and again a short time later as they were travelling enroute to Jerusalem (Matthew 20:17-19).
Yet knowing, Jesus didn’t hold back, didn’t detour, didn’t seek to avoid what was ahead. Rather, Luke tells us that “as the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem” (Luke 9:51). He knew his mission. He knew what was coming. Yet he pressed on toward Jerusalem with steady determination. He was unwavering in his commitment to fulfill his calling.
That resolute steadfastness is clear In these two short verses (Matthew 26:1-2). He is now in Jerusalem itself and the momentous event is just two days away. I am struck by how matter-of-fact he is as he tells his disciples he “will be handed over to be crucified.” Just like that. He continues to press forward, determined to fulfil his goal.
“The Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost,” he’d said (Luke 19:10), and the cross would be the means of making that happen.
“The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28). In two days, the ransom will be paid.
“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus … who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame” (Hebrews 12:2). It is the joy of completing his mission – seeing the lost found, ransoming many – that compels Jesus to press through two more days to the cross.
We stand amazed in his presence. We marvel at his unwavering purpose. We give thanks, for his determination has brought us salvation.
Thank you, Lord Jesus, for your faithful commitment to your mission. You endured the cross, despising the shame, that I might be ransomed, that I might be saved. I am forever grateful. Praise your name.
Reflect: Think about Jesus’ dogged determination to press forward to the cross. Praise him. Give thanks for the results in your own life. Ask him to strengthen you with similar commitment.