This weekend we will celebrate our Risen King!  No other holiday commemorates greater significance and meaning as without Him conquering death we would have no hope.  The celebration of the birth of the Christ child would be meaningless without His death and resurrection.  Christianity shouts from the mountaintop that our God is indeed alive and risen.  No greater sacrifice has been made, no greater love has been displayed.

Turning our eyes and ears to the scene of the night Jesus was arrested we remember the cost of redemption. Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane.  His prayers would be an offering of surrender, submission and complete obedience to the Father.  We are told that “in His anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.” The intensity of his prayer was like twisting and squeezing a washrag out to dry.  His focus and purpose laid before him as he wrestled with the inevitable.   Jesus utters, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done,” Luke 22:42, 44.  He knew the price, the cost he would have to endure with so much at stake. With deep anguish he knelt before His Father as he requests a reprieve, but only according to His Father’s will.   Perhaps the sweat of blood and earnest prayers wrung out any fear or doubt for Jesus to take the cup to do the will of His Father by being beaten, crushed and pierced for our sins. The cup was filled with the wrath of God and Jesus took it on our behalf.  It was the cup He took to fulfill His purpose of love and redemption.  Hallelujah!!

This snapshot of Jesus’ last night may seem shocking and dreadful.  It’s not until you see the bigger picture of His triumphant victory over death that this becomes a beautiful and magnificent scene stirring in our hearts such undeserved mercy and grace. Something in this transforms us a little more into his image as each of us will be given a cup.  This cup will not be filled with the wrath of God but maybe hardships in life.  What hardship do you wrestle through?  Often times we claim the evil one is causing the trouble.  Maybe.  But if we turn our thoughts around to surrender to what the Lord has for you, maybe it will change your perspective.  The Lord offers each of us a cup that we may or may not want.  But in taking the cup it falls in line with His purposes, His will, His Kingdom. It is not about changing our circumstances but about Him changing us.   He died triumphantly conquering death, to save us from our sin, so that we can live triumphantly through Him by accepting the cup He has for us.  What does your cup look like?  Will you receive the cup He offers as your purpose and His will (Phil 2:13)?

Prayer is essential to whatever our cup holds… let’s never rest from praying as we surrender, submit and obey His will.  But no matter what our cup holds we cannot do it alone.  As Christ knelt to earnestly pray an angel appeared to give him strength. Christ does the same for us.  He gives us his strength and in turn other believers are there to encourage and sojourn with us. Yet, we are still ‘wrung out’ so that our mortal selves will align with His purposes and will.  Through these hardships what seemingly was meant for harm, will become the pathway to usher in the beauty of redemption.

Personally, I could write a book on the redemption process of my life.  I long for simplicity but that has not been my story.  Rather the road has been hard fought, bumpy with many bruises and cut offs that have jolted my heart to and fro. In a word…it’s been hard.  But the act of simply surrendering brings about His beauty.  This does not solve all of my problems but He guides, teaches and speaks truth of my own redemption along the way.  That is far more freeing than refusing His will for my life. He will do the same for you.

Let’s celebrate our Risen King!  He is Risen!  He is Risen Indeed!! Hallelujah!!