Would you do me a favor? I’d like you to picture something today. Please lay aside every other thought. Stop thinking about your to do list. Forget any grudges or bitterness against others. Ignore all other distracting concerns. For the next few moments, clear your mind and go with me as we picture three scenes of eternal significance.

Scene One – A Surrendered Man in a Garden

First, go with me outside the western side of the Old City of Jerusalem. Walk beside me down the steep slopes of the Kidron Valley. Carefully step around jagged stones, thorny shrubs, and low-hanging trees as we weave our way up the lower slope of the Mount of Olives. There’s a garden there called Gethsemane. Ancient olive trees dot the landscape in the shadow of the Eastern Gate.

Solitary Man

The botanical beauty or historical significance isn’t the focus of our admiration. There’s a man nearby, on bended knees, hands clasped together on a rock. If we listen closely, we hear His prayer. It’s not the type of prayer we’re used to. Gone are the sweet platitudes, the incessant petitions, and requests for temporal things. This is the guttural, agonizing prayer of a broken heart. Tears stream down a weather-beaten face. This is no novice or timid man. He is fully masculine, all man, physically hardened by years of manual labor. His strong voice trembles as unmatched grief grips His heart. He is torn with the decision He faces. Overwhelming emotional trauma bursts His capillaries, mingling drops of blood with streaming sweat.

Prayer Request

In the silence of the evening, not a rustling leaf or nestling bird heard, His agonizing cry pierces the night. “Father, if it is possible—if there is any other way—please let this bitter cup pass from me!” Three times this desperate plea escapes His lips. The symbolic bitter cup holds the sins of the global population, for all time. As the sinless, spotless, holy Son of God, becoming sin for us is a horrifying burden. The excruciating death He will endure to drink of this cup is beyond human understanding. Yet even though He asked three times to find another way, He understands there is no other way.

Surrendered Will

And so we find His ultimate surrender with the words echoing through that garden and down through the ages. “Not My will, Father, but Yours be done.” He remained resolute to the redemption of mankind. Willingly He laid aside His eternal glory, every right He owned, every entitlement and privilege as Creator God. He humbled Himself into the form of an obedient servant, despising the shame of the sinful burden and humiliating death, and became obedient to an excruciating, redeeming death. Though at great personal cost, He surrendered to the eternal plan and purpose of redemption for mankind.

Do you see Him?

Scene Two – A Sacrificed Man on a Cross

Now walk with me away from that garden of ultimate surrender, back across the Kidron valley, and up through the Eastern Gate. The week before, people had thronged a man as He entered the city. “Hosanna!” they cried. “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” Although they appeared passionately genuine, the man knew their fickle nature. This same crowd later demands His death.

After an unjust arrest, illegal trial, and undeserved flogging, this man was sentenced to the most excruciating death this world has ever known—crucifixion. Picture the mount known as the Place of the Skull or Calvary. It is here, atop this brow, creation kills its Creator. The ugliness of mankind mocks, mutilates, and murders the Altogether Lovely. Sinless Perfection yields to the height of wickedness. The Righteous One, who knew no sin, became sin for us so we could claim His righteousness.

Brutality Exposed

Listen to the gruff soldiers as they rip off his clothes, shove him to the ground, and lay him on a rough, wooden cross. Sleep deprived, skin flayed from His back and legs, beaten beyond all human recognition, He says not a word. He who spoke the universe into existence offers no defense, though He could have summoned five legions of angels to annihilate every human on earth. Hear the clanging echoes as hammers drive spikes deep into His hands and feet. Imagine some in crowd who clamored for His death, now vomiting at the queasiness of the bloody sight before them. As He is raised, naked, vulnerable, and exposed, the cross thuds into the hole in the ground and His body scrapes against fresh lacerations.

Loving Sacrifice

Completely exposed and vulnerable, He cannot cover his shame. He cannot wipe the blood from His eyes nor brush the flies from His nose and mouth. In unimaginable pain and overwhelming shame, He doesn’t retaliate. Nor does He command curses on this belligerent mob of humanity. He simply cries out, “Father, forgive them! They don’t know what they are doing!” If not for this advocating plea, divine judgment would be swift and complete.

For three agonizing hours, fighting for every breath, this man hangs there. In the fulness of time, He says, “Father, into Your hand I release My spirit.” Then He slowly exhales His final breath, bows His head, releases His spirit of His own will, and dies. The steep price of man’s sin is forever paid.

Do you see Him?

Scene Three – A Spectacular Man on a Throne

Now go with me to a far more celestial site. A place far beyond the physical realm of this earth. Past moon and sun. Up, up, beyond stars and galaxies. Deeper than the deepest recesses of space. Farther than man will ever explore.

We approach a dazzling city throbbing with energy, peace, and love. In the center is a glorious throne surrounded by a sparkling emerald rainbow. Circled rows of packed grandstands extend as far as the eye can see. On the throne basking in the praise of His people, sits the Ancient of days, the Altogether Lovely, the eternal Morning Star, the Lion of Judah, the Prince of Peace, the great I Am—Jesus, the Lamb slain from the foundation of the universe. Scars on in His hands and feet confirm His identity and sovereign authority.

Countless millions erupt in praise. “Worthy is the Lamb to receive all honor, glory, power, and blessing! We worship You who redeemed us by Your blood! Glory to Your name as the Creator, Redeemer, King of kings and Lord of lords!” Shimmering angels, seraphim, cherubim, and other celestial beings bow before Him, crying, “Holy, holy, holy are you, Lord!”

Called to a Marriage Supper

A wedding feast has been prepared for the Bride of Christ. Countless heavenly beings hold their collective breath as the Son looks at His Father in joyful expectancy. The time has come! The Father nods, “Son, everything is prepared and ready! All is fulfilled! Bring Your Bride home!” A loud trumpet blast sounds as Jesus shouts in victory. The Bride, the mysterious body of genuine believers comprising the true Church, is whisked instantaneously into His presence to be eternally inseparable.

Judgment Seat of Christ

All present stand before Him to receive individual rewards. Some receive gold, silver, and precious stones for faithful, loyal, service and surrendered transformation. These immediately rush to lay all rewards at the foot of Jesus’ throne. For others, their life’s work is instantly vaporized as temporary and fleetingly insignificant. The people are present, but have nothing to give their Master who gave His all for them.

Great White Throne

Once the wedding feast and rewards ceremony are completed, a silence descends. Heaven’s hush is broken by muted cries as unbelievers appear before Jesus—the same man from Gethsemane and Calvary. The same man who surrendered and sacrificed His all to offer them salvation. Miraculously He speak s collectively yet individually, loving tears moistening His eyes. He loves them still, gave them His Word and life, invited them to regenerating faith in Him as Lord and Savior. Each person quickly offers excuses. Some thought they had more time. Others knew about Him but never knew Him personally. Some shriek, “We did many mighty spiritual works in Your name! That counts for something, right?” To which He responds, “It breaks My heart but, although I gave you every opportunity, you never entered into a personal relationship with Me.” Still others remain defiant, angry, abusive, reprobate to the end.

Horrible Ending

To them all, Jesus says, “Depart from Me into the fiery lake that burns forever. It wasn’t your planned destiny. I prepared it for Satan and his evil hordes. It’s a place of unimaginable horrors, unmitigated dangers, undying torment, and unresolved regret. By rejecting Me, you’ve chosen the one place where I restrict My presence. Your choice involves spending eternity with Satan, his frenzied demons, and every barbaric soul who walked the earth. You will forever remember and regret every missed opportunity to accept Me. But the worst torment is existing without Me and My divine attributes. Frightening horrors without My peace. Assaults and mayhem without My protection. Raw hatred without My love. Heart-pounding, mind-numbing noise without My serenity. Tongue-gnawing darkness without My Light. No friendship or family. Only fear, fire, anguish, unrest, and madness forever.” In an instant they are gone, horrifying screams fading into the enclosing blackness.

Magnificent Infinity

Jesus then turns to His own and wipes away every tear from all eyes. Sorrow for lost loved ones He transforms into joy unspeakable as He ushers His own into blissful, perfect, righteous, eternity future.

Do you see Him?

When the Curtain Falls

Dear friend, Jesus is the same man in all three scenes. He did it all for you so you could spend eternity with Him. As Creator, He made you and knows you better than you know yourself. He loves you and gave His life to enable the way to start and nurture a personal relationship with you. Jesus gave you His love letter, the Bible. He sent His Holy Spirit to persuade, convict, regenerate, indwell, and transform you. There is nothing more He can or will do. The choice is up to you.

What will you do with this God-Man called Jesus?