[Jesus] then began to teach [his disciples] 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.
Do you have a bucket list, a list of things you must do before you die?
I don’t have a bucket list. Maybe that means I’m unimaginative or that I’m content. Perhaps it’s a little of both. But I really can’t say that there’s any one thing I must do before I die. Otherwise, I might feel as though my life would end unfulfilled.
I suppose that there are some people who have taken the time to put together a bucket list. And I imagine that the activities on their lists include every type of fun and enjoyable adventures, things meant to bring a smile to a person’s face. After all, that’s why bucket lists exist. Right? They’re all about me, my self-fulfillment, my self-indulgence.
Did you know that Jesus had a bucket list? He absolutely did. But his list didn’t include a bunch of fun, self-indulgent activities. No, Jesus’ bucket list was all about his suffering in self-sacrificing love for you and me and every sinner.
True, Jesus didn’t concoct his own list. It was given to him by his Father before he was born. But it wasn’t crammed down his throat either. Not at all. Jesus accepted it joyfully and willingly. And he strove with all his being to carry out the items on that list perfectly and passionately.
In Mark chapter 8, Jesus revealed his list to his closest friends. He told them how he “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.”
This was more than a premonition on Jesus’ part. It was a promise. Each item on his bucket list was going to get crossed off, no matter what.
And why? Because Jesus loves you that much. Because he wants you to know that heaven is yours. Trust him! His bucket list is complete, and it wasn’t about him. It was about you!
Jesus, thank you for your faithful and perfect love and your willingness to sacrifice all things for me. Amen.