There is so much about Jesus’ life that we simply don’t know. Most of his childhood (except for that one incident in the Temple when he was 12) is a mystery to us. Most of his adulthood is similarly blank – we have no record of what he was doing or saying or thinking before he turned 30.
And even when we get to the well-documented ministry years, there is much left to our imaginations. We know what he did, to a certain extent, but we don’t know his innermost thoughts. There is much that falls into the category of “I wonder…”
And that’s not a bad thing. It is good that we, as seekers of the Way, get to imagine. We get to wonder. And as Holy Week continues I find myself wondering.
We know that Jesus knew the scriptures. He knew precisely where to turn to in the Scroll of Isaiah (because it wouldn’t have been a chapterized and versed book which was easy to navigate, but an endless – 24 ft long! – scroll of cramped Hebrew letters in his day) in the synagogue in that incident we know as Luke, Chapter 4, when he declared the year of the Lord’s favour and proclaimed that he had come to give sight to the blind, and to set the captor free.
So I wonder, as the cross loomed close, as his mission drew to its painful and inevitable end…did he take comfort from these words in Isaiah:
“I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, ‘You are my servant’; I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. “All who rage against you will surely be ashamed and disgraced; those who oppose you will be as nothing and perish. Though you search for your enemies, you will not find them. Those who wage war against you will be as nothing at all. For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.”
Isaiah 41:9-13 NIV
Did he repeat these words to himself as he walked the way of sorrow with the cross on his back? Did he whisper them in prayer in Gethsemane? Did he cling to them when he was a prisoner in the pit in Caiaphas’ house?
I don’t know. But I wonder. In fact, I more than wonder. I like to think that it was precisely words like this that gave Jesus strength forming his final days. Because I know that they have given me strength throughout my years. And I like to imagine that Jesus and I share that.
This Holy Week, may you know the power of the Word. May you be strengthened by the promises of God. And may you follow in the footsteps of Jesus.