“Isn’t Christ from the outset followed by nameless crowds of people? And aren’t they following him because he is accomplishing their will? He is healing, helping, comforting…However, as soon as he starts speaking about the essential, about the fact that a person has to deny himself if he wants to follow him, about the need to love one’s enemies, and to lay down one’s life for one’s brothers, as soon as his teaching becomes difficult, exalted, a call to sacrifice, a demand of the impossible – in other words, as soon as Christ starts to teach about what is the will of God, people immediately abandon him and, moreover, turn against him with anger and hatred. This eerie shouting of the mob at the Cross, ‘Crucify him, crucify him!’ (Lk 23:21) – is it not because Christ did not fulfill the will of the people?
They only wanted help and healing while he spoke of love and forgiveness.
They wanted him to liberate them from their enemies and grant victory over them, while he spoke of the kingdom of God.
They wanted him to observe their traditions and customs, while he defied them by eating and drinking with publicans, sinners, and harlots.
Doesn’t the root and cause of Judas’ betrayal lie precisely in this disappointment in Christ? Judas anticipated that Christ would fulfill his will, but Christ willingly gave himself to judgment and death. This is all described in the Gospels. And subsequently, over the next two millennia of Christianity, do we not witness the same drama? What do we together and individually really desire from Christ? Let’s admit it – the fulfillment of our will.
We desire that God would assure us happiness.
We want him to defeat our enemies.
We want him to realize our dreams and that he would consider us kind and good.
And when God fails to do our will we are frustrated and upset, and are ready over and over to forsake and deny him.”
(Alexander Schmemann, Our Father, pp. 46-49)