I don't know about you, but to me Easter does not seem like just a time of celebration. Amidst Jesus' resurrection, we also celebrate his wrongful arrest, trial, and his being put to death. To me, celebrate is the last thing on my mind as I consider what he must have gone through. Not only this, but that I was some of the reason he had to go to the Cross just further drives home the feelings of shock, sadness, and even guilt. So how can we celebrate all of this?
In Mark 8 we read, that Jesus "began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again." (8:31) Jesus knew the specifics of what was to come even before his wrongful arrest. Still, his most outspoken follower Peter tries to explain that this will not happen. Jesus' response, I think, addresses our divided emotions about this season. He says, "Get behind me, Satan! You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns." (8:33)
Jesus' future was anything but the future that we would expect for God's Son, but he actively sought after it because he was focused on God's will above his own will!
From our self-preserving perspectives, Jesus could have easily established himself as the King, overthrew the religious leaders of his day, and brought about his kingdom without having to give up his life. However, that was not God's plan, and even though Jesus felt the same tensions we do, his focus was on God's will above his own. This week, consider what God's will is in your life (hint: 1 Thessalonians 4:3). What if your focus was on that instead of alleviating your circumstances? Maybe, just maybe, we can celebrate this Easter knowing that all good things work together for God's purposes…and so do the bad things. Once we have thrown in our lot with God, then our future with Him is secure!