Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday. As I look towards those events I will be reminded of in the next seven days, two pictures of Jesus come to mind.
First was the unfairness he needed to bear. Our world demands fairness. I cannot listen to any news reports or read comments on any social media source without hearing the complaints about how someone in someplace is not being treated fairly. Actually, that starts pretty close to home–like from the chair I’m sitting in.
Every day I find myself complaining about something that I do not think is fair. I need to wait in line too long, that driver never looked, my life is too hard or I am bored, or God is not listening to me.
What I am complain about as unfair will change in 10 minutes, hours or days. They are not life or death issues. And all of them will have no significance when it comes to my salvation. Eternity is a lot longer than my life here on earth. And still my cry is “UNFAIR!”
In Holy Week I see the definition of unfairness.
- “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord—the King of Israel!
- They shouted, “Away with him! Away with him! Crucify him!”
Jesus faced praise and then hate. He was a king, no, THE King on Sunday and by Friday so hated that deafening shouts of “Crucify” drowned out everything. Jesus pointed to the prophecies he was fulfilling and identified himself as the Messiah. The religious leaders were so infuriated they stirred up the people to lust for Jesus’ death. Does my life shout Hosanna or Crucify him?
- “You call me Teacher and Lord. You are right, because I am.”
- Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
The King of Kings, the Son of God, the only sinless human to ever walk on this earth, performing a task usually assigned to the most lowly of servants. And while this was voluntary, why weren’t his disciples lined up to wash his feet? Why is there not more service for him and less complaining in my life? Do I want to serve others as Jesus did or be served?
- Peter asked, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you!”
- “You were also with Jesus the Galilean.” “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” “I do not know the man.” Then he began to curse and to swear, “I do not know the man!”
Peter, one of Jesus’ inner circle, the disciple whose faith Jesus used as an example of a solid foundation for his church, first deserted and then denied ever knowing his Savior. I shake my head at Peter and then go into my life with thoughts, and actions that say “I do not know the man.” And I have the audacity to complain about my life being unfair?
- Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole cohort of soldiers around him. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him. They twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand, knelt in front of him, and mocked him by saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” They spit on him, took the staff, and hit him repeatedly on his head.
Jesus had done nothing wrong. He had broken no Roman laws. And yet he was beaten and ridiculed. His rights were completely stripped away from him as the soldiers tortured and beat him. They knew nothing about him, only as someone to be treated as a criminal–an enemy of Rome. Do I witness to whom Jesus really is? Do the people I talk to about him get the whole story?
The other picture that I see is one that is summed up in Jesus’ words from the cross:
About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? I do not understand how one person of the Triune God is dying much lest abandoned by his Father. I will not try to explain how Jesus, the Son of God, can be crucified by those he chose to create.
But I know this is a picture of why Jesus came to earth–his love. In his own words No one has greater love than this: that someone lays down his life for his friends. (John 15:13) Because of his love for me Jesus was willing to become human and suffer separation from his Father. He put up with the unfairness because of that love.
However, there is more. He came to earth out of love. He had to come to earth for me because This saying is trustworthy and worthy of full acceptance: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners,” of whom I am the worst. 1 Timothy 1:15. The bottom line is my sin caused all this. The events of Holy Week were all a result of my sin. I know the result of that sacrifice my sins are now all forgiven and I am set right with God.
So I begin another Holy Week. I can see the suffering Jesus experienced because of my sin and I mourn over my sinfulness. But I cannot stay there because the real message is Jesus’ love and triumph. He is truly worthy of all praise and honor.
Wow, that turned into a sermon. I would apologize, but this is what Jesus was and is all about. A Savior who did something I could not do–pay for of my sins.
I hope you come back sometime as I continue to explore changes in this world. And while Jesus life and death caused the most inportant change, there are still more.
I will wait you.