The Passion narrative in the Gospel of John emphasizes the power of Christ. He is in charge the entire time. How much do we let this idea and its implications penetrate us?
Do we, for instance, believe that Christ could have come down off his cross? Was he obedient to the Father’s will only in Gethsemane? Or did his obedience permeate the entire stretch of hours up until his final breath?
If we answer that he had the power to save himself the entire time and could have put a stop to his pain and suffering anytime it bordered on the unendurable, we need to take our understanding further. Maximum obedience is what we should ascribe to Christ, therefore we ought to believe he could have escaped through his own power at any time, because that is the case in which his obedience is at its maximum. But Christ, as the eternal Son of the Father, is a being who is eternally receiving, not grasping, as St. Paul so eloquently writes in his letter to the Philipians. The Son would not bring about his own deliverance, though he could, but he would wait on the Father to set things right. Christ freely did this! His obedience and his freedom were maximized and coincided perfectly!
If we believe Christ was stuck up on that cross, we miss out on a depth of understanding that ought to make us tremble. We sell short the completely and utterly obedient sacrifice of Christ–at every moment of that sacrifice. The infinite power he chose not to use to gain some relief for himself was there though he chose not to use it. Infinite power. Freely not used. Waiting in obedience for the Father to resolve the most disordered state of affairs ever known.
How we grasp at our own relief in far less severe circumstances! We do not imitate Christ in his receptivity. We end up with less in the end. We need to exercise our freedom as sheer obedience to God’s will. It’s the only way. It’s the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
We are tempted to give ourselves what we feel we deserve. Yet that is the genesis of sin itself. We must not give up on letting God be the one who gives us what we need to receive. Dependence is scary, but it’s based on the truth. And we know the truth will set us free. We all want freedom desperately. Accept that truth in all humility. And in that humility we need to implore God to give us the grace to renounce the illusory power we believe we have to give ourselves relief. We need to put our hope in the real power of the Holy Spirit instead.
God will not fail you! This is your chance to be in charge, to have maximum freedom. Let it be done.