By Cheryl Baird

Mark 11 depicts the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, a day commonly referred to as Palm Sunday. The popularity of Jesus was growing, and the religious leaders of the day were growing increasingly nervous. In Mark Chapter 12 one of the leaders asked Jesus which commandment was the greatest. Jesus answered in verse 29 – “The most important is ‘Hear, Oh Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”

These teachers of the law wanted Jesus to lay down the law, and He gave them relationship.

Later on, Jesus agonized overnight in the garden of Gethsemane and asked His Father to remove this assignment.

And then He walked out the “all in” kind of love He spoke of as He went to the cross.

Jesus went to the cross because He loved God with all of His heart, soul, mind and strength. Jesus went to the cross because He loved His neighbor as Himself. Jesus went to the cross because He chose relationship.  Jesus went to the cross after asking for another way out.  His obedience took precedence over His desire and He endured an agonizing death even after asking for another way.

Obedience is agonizing and difficult and quite unpopular these days.  The world will tell you to go after what you want. Saying no to what I want is a daily challenge for me. But we can live forever because Jesus chose to be obedient rather than comfortable.  By dying for us, He gave us life. May we lean into our loving Jesus this Lenten season and anticipate the celebration of His resurrection on Easter Sunday!