By J.R. Miller
The Cross did not come to Jesus as a surprise--its shadow rested on Him in the brightest, busiest days. There was no hour when He did not see what the end would be. Other men are born to live--Jesus was born to die. Other men look forward to a goal of splendid success in the world--great achievements, worthy attainments, power, position, honor--the goal of Jesus was His Cross.
In His earliest infancy, the shadow of the Cross fell over Him. He was saved from death, only by flight into Egypt. When John the Baptist pointed Him out to his friends as the Messiah, he spoke of Him as the Lamb of God, the Lamb of Sacrifice.
In His teaching, Jesus revealed from the first, His appointment to death. One of the earliest incidents of His public life was His conversation with Nicodemus, to whom He said that the Son of Man must be lifted up, that is, on His Cross, that all might see Him and believe. He told the people, too, that they would destroy the temple, meaning His body. When Peter, speaking for all the disciples, said that He was the Christ, thinking, however, of a glorious earthly royalty, Jesus began at once to say that He must suffer many things and must be killed. This was His own interpretation of the Messiahship which His disciples had so nobly confessed.
When two of His followers, dreaming of the brilliant court of the great King that they supposed their Master about to become, asked first places in His kingdom. He spoke to them of a "cup of suffering" He must drink, and a "baptism" with which He must be baptized, and asked them if they were ready for such a course as His must be. When a feast was given in His honor and a woman anointed Him, He said she had done it for His burial. When He would give His friends a memorial of His love, it was not His wonderful teachings, nor His great miracles that He asked them to remember--but that He had given Himself for them.
Thus from the infancy to the close, the shadow of the Cross rested upon the soul of Jesus. Yet it did not sadden Him. Never a sunnier-hearted man lived, than He. He knew the meaning of the Cross, that it would make redemption for sinners, so He went to it with joy, singing a hymn as He left the upper room for the garden of Gethsemane.