One of the more interesting theological aspects of Catholicism (and some other versions of Christianity – I believe Orthodox, but I’m not certain) is that Jesus Christ was also Yeshua ben Yosef – that the guy was (or is) both fully human and fully divine.
For me, that aspect of theology is the single most compelling thing about His story2. It makes Gethsemane more than just an annoyance – this fully human being, armed only with faith but not certainty, is confronted directly with His avoidable death… and does it anyway. It’s that aspect that makes The Last Temptation of Christ so powerful – when offered with a “sure, safe thing” He chooses the hard road of faith and self-respect instead.
But there’s a flip side to that coin that I didn’t give as much consideration to.
He knew what was coming the whole time.
He knew that it would end in His death. That it would – at least throughout his life – all go to (metaphorical) hell. That His family and friends would turn against Him not just at the end, but throughout His life (“Is this not the carpenter’s son?”).
And he chose to do it anyway.
Bad things will happen to you. You will be hurt, scarred, and saddened. It will happen.
And when we you choose to go about our lives anyway, we have some small measure of the heroism of a carpenter’s son from Galilee.
1 Listen again – and listen for the musical sting from Jesus Christ Superstar.
2 For the purposes of this essay and the story I wrote, we can treat Jesus’ story as “not necessarily factual, but true” and get on with it, okay?