If what you are about to read is to make sense, I need to agree something with you concerning the work that the Son of Man came to do. Can we agree that the ultimate expression of his work was his 6 hours on the cross? Of course it was preceded by his 33 years and followed by rising up, but the heart of his work was his death.
For it is in his death that everything changed and all was finally achieved.
Stress has many faces and I would like to invite you to look into one of them. It is the stress of the work not yet done. Somewhere in your soul is an achievement not yet accomplished, an ambition not yet realized, a calling not yet answered. It can be a strange and mystifying experience until you complete this task. It can be like a burden, a straightjacket on your spirit, an internal pressure.
You can now turn your mind to some words of the Son of Man which give you a window into his soul. “I have a baptism to undergo and how constrained I am until it is completed.”
There it is in the middle of his words, a rich Greek word translated constrained, distressed, burdened, straightened, afflicted, anguished. It’s an intense idea which tells you that the Son of Man was filled, simultaneously, with dread and foreboding, along with an eagerness to fulfill his calling.
Without the cross the fire of the Spirit cannot be lit in the hearts of humans. Without the cross there is no rescued life with profound meaning. Yet he is stressed.
I will suggest some thoughts to help you this week.
There is no shame in being troubled about something difficult ahead. The Son of Man lets you see his troubled heart. Of course what was to come was literally excruciatingly difficult.
Second, he knew that once he achieved his goal all heaven would be let loose and he can’t wait for that to happen. He is feeling held back, limited or restricted until that zenith moment arrives with the release of grace on earth.
Third, this restraint was much bigger than anyone could see at the time. The restraint stretched back into eternity past, reached down into his body and included spiritual realities way beyond the human eye.
So the Son of Man is almost bursting with his desire to complete his call. For him it was his death. Has it occurred to you that he was also troubled by the thought of his own death, which gives you some permission to express your own trouble?
Here’s the last thought, it has to be. His work would finish with his death. His death was in fact his work.
Your death is not your work in the way that his was but your work will only finish at your death, as his did. Your life and your life’s work will end simultaneously.
His death let loose new life, which you now inherit. But your new life is the energy driving your energy to the work you were born to do. To finish the race, to complete your painting, compose your music.
Until that time, you should not be surprised at the distress that accompanies your journey to accomplish the not yet done.
49 “I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! 50 But I have a baptism to undergo, and what constraint I am under until it is completed!
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