My son when he has about 8 or 9 would often ask when we were driving somewhere "Dad? Do you know a shortcut?" To his question I would have to reply "No Derek. There are no shortcuts"
In Matthew that when Jesus was about to be crucified they tried to give him wine mixed with gall which was a type of pain killer to help make him less resistant to them nailing him. Jesus instead spits it out and refuses to drink it. I find this so amazing as I can be such a child when it comes to pain. My wife will attest to the fact that I am difficult to deal with when it comes to going to the dentist. I will do anything to get out of it if I can. I dread the needle so much when I am there. Yet here is Jesus being given a pain killer to help get him through it and he refuses to drink it. I would be just the opposite here and drink as much as I could, but not our Savior. No one was going to be able to point at him and say later, "He didn't feel a thing!".
Today we are all about shortcuts. We find more and more ways to do less and less. Our phones are loaded with short cuts to websites, addresses, contacts, credit cards, apps because we want access to these with as few touches as possible. We use GPS to find us the shortest possible route to our destinations and opt for every possible way to shave off 2 or 3 minutes from a 1 hour drive.
We also want shortcuts when it comes to our faith too. Do I have to go to church? Can't i just listen to the sermon when I have nothing better to do? Do I have to give money to the church? Can't i just tweet or give a Facebook share once and a while? Do my kids really have to spend 2 years in confirmation? Can't they just go on a weekend retreat and cover everything they need to know? Do I have to forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Can't i just send them a text on their birthday or something?
The answer to all of those questions are yes to first and no to the second. Jesus who took no shortcuts asks you to follow him in his footsteps