“My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” Matthew 26:42

Even Jesus asked not to do something unless he absolutely had to. Some people are good at passing the buck, passing on their responsibility to someone else so that they don’t have to do it. This was not Jesus’ nature. He was more than willing to do what needed to be done on behalf of our salvation, but he was also human. He knew the pain and suffering that lay ahead of him. If there was any human way to avoid it, Jesus would have done it. However and foremost, he wanted to be obedient to his Father.

There is no recorded answer from the Father. Apparently, all of heaven was silent. I think it was a precursor to “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani,” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46) It wasn’t any better each time he got up from praying and went back to his disciples. Three times he checked in with them. Three times they were asleep. He alerted his disciples that he was about to betrayed (Matthew 26:46).

When there is no answer from heaven, we stay the course. Even when we don’t want to. Jesus was well acquainted with the Father’s plan. No last minute changes. Sometimes being prophetic means that we are so well acquainted with the Father’s heart that we know the answer even when there is no verbal response.

Esther was such a figure. The well-known verse, “For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this (Esther 4:14)” came from Mordecai, Esther’s cousin. He was prophetic. He could see the hand of God in the life of Esther whom he had raised and he prophesied deliverance through her place in history.

Esther couldn’t pass the buck. Mordecai prophesied that if she did, God would raise up a deliverer for his people from another place. It’s a little bit like the people who shouted Hosanna at the side of the road on Palm Sunday. If they had not done it, Jesus said that “the very stones would cry out” (Luke 19:40).

When we know our appointed place and role, there is no “passing the buck.” As Harry Truman reminded himself and those around him, “The buck stops here.” Apparently, he had such a sign placed on his desk as a daily reminder.

What challenge has the Lord given you that is uniquely yours? Will you rise to the occasion?

By Ralph Veenstra