By Naomi Noguchi Reese
This is my favorite time of the year—spring! Anyone who has lived in the northern part of the U.S. can appreciate the arrival of spring more than anyone else. The briskness in the air, the brightness of new leaves, voices of children playing outside—they all proclaim “The darkness is over and joy has returned!”
Two thousand years ago, Jesus went to the cross. In the prayer that he prayed in Gethsemane, he cried out, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” I wondered what went through His mind in the moment when He asked the Father to take the cup away from Him—this brief, but significant moment. Facing this fear and sorrow alone, the utter darkness must have overshadowed His soul: “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.”
We often focus on Jesus’ triumph rather than His suffering. It is true that our salvation is not possible without His resurrection. Yet when I see the cross, I see a man who lived in a certain place, culture, and time of history, just like me. The fear and darkness that He faced in Gethsemane was no different from those that we may experience. I wonder what it was like to face what Jesus faced that day. I wonder how lonely and fearful it must have been for Him. When I think about Jesus on that day and try to imagine the garden, the courtyard, the road to Golgotha, something in my soul makes me say, “Surely, this man was the Son of God!” His sorrow and agony speak loudly in my soul. Such a selfless and reckless act brings me to my knees to say “Jesus is the Lord.”
*I want to dedicate this post to my friend Lisa’s parents who will be baptized this Easter Sunday and rejoice with her family for their new life in Christ. Their testimony inspires me to keep praying for my family in Japan and I’m touched by Lisa’s faithfulness to pray for her parents for many years.