This is no normal week for Christians...this is Holy Week and we want to take some time to remember the final week of Jesus' life. From the Triumphal Entry on Palm Sunday to the cross on Good Friday and of course the resurrection on Easter Sunday...this is a big week. So each day, we'll post scriptures that describe Jesus' last week in real time so that you can take some time to read, study, meditate on and worship Him through it all.
Today we want to remember that at the time of Jesus' arrival, Jerusalem was in a place of great tension. On one hand, rumors of a social uprising had begun to spread because of the Roman occupation and on the other hand the religious leaders had put out the word that they wanted Jesus dead because they wanted to remain in Roman favor. And so at the beginning of the week, Jesus, unafraid of what awaited him, chooses a humble donkey to ride into the Holy City, demonstrating not only his position as the prophesied King and Messiah but the kind of King and Messiah He was going to be: one of humility and peace. And yet, alongside of the crowds cheers of "Hosanna! Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!" King Jesus' holy heart broke and He wept as He got saw Jerusalem because the people who He loved and came to save missed the point. He didn't come to set them free from Roman tyranny, He came to set them free from their sins and He knew that the same voices who are shouting out “Save us!” on Sunday, will be shouting out “Crucify Him” by Friday.
Today we remember on Monday, as Jesus was heading back into Jerusalem, He was hungry and so He stopped off at a fig tree only to find there were no figs on it. So Jesus curses the tree. At first it seems like Jesus overreacts but what he's really frustrated at is how the Nation of Israel (fig tree symbolized Israel in OT) appears to have life but produces no fruit. After the disappointing fig tree experience, Jesus walks into the temple. He visited the night before so he knew exactly what he would find: money changers, thieves, those manipulating and stealing from anyone who had come to worship God. And so Jesus, displaying his authority in the temple, chases out those trying to profit from the peoples' devotion. To say "that angered the religious leaders" is a massive understatement and so their hatred towards Jesus grew, but you have to see Jesus' heart not only for authentic worship but for those who had come to worship.
After Jesus turned over the tables in the temple on Monday, He walks back into the temple on Tuesday and begins to teach. The religious rulers begin to question him and try to get Him to submit to their authority, but Jesus flips the script and starts asking them questions proving His authority over them. Then they bring in outsiders to try and trick Jesus into saying something that gets him in trouble with the people...but again Jesus responds in such a way that the questioners marvel at his answers and they fall silent. so much so that it says that no one wants to ask him questions anymore (Matt 22:46). In the Pharisees' and Sadducees' mind, this defiance was the last straw. No longer would threats and warnings work, now they knew they had to have him killed. Jesus has drawn the line in the sand. It seems like this can really only end one of two ways: either Jesus overthrows the religious and political system or they have Him killed. (No one knew God had a third option in mind...). The day ends with Jesus and His disciples heading back to the Mount of Olives and Jesus instructs them about the coming times: both the destruction of Israel and about His second coming.
Wednesday has been known as "Silent Wednesday" because, after the incredibly controversial actions of Jesus Sunday-Tuesday, its more of a low-key day as He spends it teaching in the temple, but sadly what He teaches is not recorded. However today is anything but silent...in fact today should be called "Shady Wednesday" because today is the day where the Pharisees and Chief Priests secretly gather together in Caiaphas' house to plot out how they were going to have Jesus killed. They had to be careful though because Jesus was growing in popularity during the feast and so they were concerned there would be a riot if they just killed him. If only there was some way they could get someone to turn on Jesus...enter Judas. Still frustrated by the waste of Mary's perfume on the feet of Jesus because it would have made them some money, Judas approaches the Pharisees and offers to help them get Jesus...for the right price.
Today is a day known as Maundy Thursday. The day that Jesus shared his last Passover meal with His disciples. This is a day that seemed to never end. These are Jesus' final moments before going to cross and he's spending them with his closest friends and sharing what is nearest to His heart. From teaching his disciples about love through action by washing their feet, teaching them through words about how to treat one another after he's gone, establishing the practice of communion to remember His sacrifice... sending Judas on his way to the Pharisees knowing what he was going to do, the prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane to His Father, Judas' kiss of betrayal, Jesus' arrest, and the beginning of what would be an all night mockery of justice as Jesus was brought through illegal trial after illegal trial...Ultimately ending in his death tomorrow.
Take some time today and tonight to remember our Lord. Remember what he shared with those closest to Him on the night before He died.
#holyweek #sundayiscoming #easterattheanchor
Today we remember the moment that all of history was either looking forward to or looking back at...the moment Jesus saved the world from their sins. How can the incredible tragedy of that day, the day where the only innocent man in the history of the world was brutally killed for crimes He didn't commit, be considered "good"? Because it was our crimes He was paying for. He took on death to kill our death. It's good news because Jesus declared from the cross "It's finished!" Now we can be with Him forever and ever and ever. And it's Good News because we know Sunday is coming...this is not the end of the story...
Perhaps consider fasting today. Abstaining from food is a good, small way to remember the pain Jesus went through on your behalf. Every time you feel that hunger pain, pause and pray. Give him thanks, confess sins that need to be confessed, or simply sit in adoration of the love displayed on that Friday.
If you don't have a church service you are attending this evening, come and join us at The Anchor at 7pm. We'll look at the biblical account of what happened that day and partake of communion together.