I have recently read "Humility; True Greatness" by C.J. Mahany, and have been very moved by the book. One of the things that he touches on is something that I have always been awed by, and I have not heard many people discuss.
Let me quote this section out of the book, and then add my comments:
"In Mark 10 we find Jesus and His disciples on the road, going up to Jerusalem. This is the last journey of Jesus' ministry; and the final destination is in full view. The hour for which He ultimately came now approaches. The cross is on the horizon.
This long journey to Jerusalem and the cross will apparently be a lonely one for the Savior, for He's making it without the full understanding and support of His disciples. They continue to be blinded by selfish ambition, so He must continue to teach and instruct them and confront their arrogance.
And yet, however grieved His heart must surely be at this moment, we see Him 'walking ahead of them' (v.32). No one is prodding Him on; no one is forcing Him. He's leading the way. And the One leading the way is the only One in this group of travelers who's aware of what indescribable anguish awaits Him there.
Pause, if you will, and picture Him in your mind. Behold this lonely figure out in front of you, fully aware and informed of what awaits Him in Jerusalem. See Him steadfast in heart, determined, setting the pace for His disciples, striding purposefully forward.
He will not be deterred. He's full of resolve as He keeps this appointment made in eternity past. Relentlessly He proceeds to the place where He'll be betrayed and arrested, where He'll be accused and condemned, where He'll be mocked and spit upon and flogged and ultimately executed. And there's no hesitation, no reluctance in his steps. Though unimaginable suffering is before Him, He's walking ahead, leading the way."
© 2005 Sovereign Grace Ministries
Often it seems as though people believe that Jesus was simply a man in the wrong place at the wrong time; oh yes, they will say, "Of course, He is the Son of God", but their attitude is one of pity for Christ, NOT awe.
When we consider that it was Christ who was in charge the entire time, it radically changes our perspective on the atonement. When you view Him as a VICTIM, then you have the wrong perspective; Jesus Christ was not a victim, but a victor! He was steadfastly moving towards the very reason that He was born on this planet. When we view Him in any other way, we may have many 'feelings' about His sacrifice, but they may well be maudlin, and wrong-headed. However, when we view His sacrifice in the proper and biblical way, we find ourselves lifted up, not saddened. HE DID THIS FOR US!
Hebrews 12:1,2 -- "Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God..."
Philippians 2:5-11 -- Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
And finally, a Scripture I recently quoted in another entry:
john 12:23-32 -- "And Jesus answered them, 'The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him. Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? "Father, save me from this hour"? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.' Then a voice came from heaven: 'I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.' The crowd that stood there and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, 'An angel has spoken to him.' Jesus answered, 'This voice has come for your sake, not mine. Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.'
At this time of year, as we observe the incarnation of the Christ, let us never forget that the baby in the manger was the one who would walk resolutely into Jerusalem, be nailed to a cross, and die for you and I: willingly, obediently, and looking forward to the joy of His people being redeemed!