Friday, April 22, 2011

Passion Week and Good Friday

I have been looking over the passages in the Gospels related to Passion Week during my personal Bible study this week. On Monday, Jesus cleansed the temple and cursed a fig tree. Jesus said, "My house shall be called a House of Prayer; but you are making it a robbers' den." He quoted Jeremiah 7:11 where the prophet, Jeremiah, warned his listeners that they were dishonest with themselves and with God by going to the temple and practicing religion but not living it out in their daily lives. I think it is similar to what the writer of Hebrews (unknown to us) scripted in chapter 6:11-14. I once heard Will Graham call the kind of believers written about there as "spiritual dwarfs." It's time to stop drinking milk and get to the good stuff, the solid food.

On Tuesday, Jesus was back at the temple having conversations with the religious leaders. They questioned Him and He taught truth. They (the religious leaders) were out of their minds with anger and frustration. They were plotting how they would stop Him but they had to calculate how they would do it and get the people who were believing to go along with it. Matthew 21:46 records that "they feared the people, because they considered Him to be a prophet." They had yet to believe He was all that He said He was and is. Some would never believe. Jesus desperately wanted to save. In Matthew 23:37 He said of Jerusalem, "How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling." (emphasis mine) Those last 3 words are chilling to me but I have to wonder how often have I also been unwilling.

Also on Tuesday, Jesus had the conversation with His followers about the end times. They asked, "How will we know? What will be the signs?" Are we still asking those questions? I think so. We see the wars and rumors of wars, the famines and earthquakes that Jesus spoke about in Matthew 24. I mean, for real, are we having some crazy weather things going on in recent years and even weeks? I love Luke 21:28 (I heard Francis Chan quote this verse recently), "But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near." Amen and amen.

There are no recorded events in the Bible for Wednesday. I wonder what Jesus did. Did He eat a good meal and go out to play football with the kids like we might do on a holiday? Did He spend the entire in solitude with the Father, in preparation for the days ahead? Of course, we don't know. But, the next days would be intense and He knew it.

Thursday - the Last Supper and those last precious hours with the disciples before the arrest, trials, and crucifixion. Jesus had been preparing the disciples for what was to come. They still didn't get it. "I will never deny you," Peter said. "We would never abandon you," they all agreed. Do you think their own words stabbed them in their hearts as the events of the crucifixion unfolded, as they looked at Him upon the cross? Then there's John 17, the High Priestly prayer - the Son of God's intercession for His people. It is intense. He spoke, He prayed, His desire for people of all time - that by knowing Him they would know God and that God would be glorified.

And then Friday, Good Friday. The events that woud follow started with a kiss, the kiss of betrayal from one that had been so close. Have you felt betrayed by someone who seemed so close? The events that would follow were harrowing and ended with the lifeless body of Jesus wrapped in burial clothes, placed in a tomb, and the stone was rolled to cover the opening. In the pitch black, the human body of the incarnate One, the Savior of the world, laid dead.

It wasn't over - Sunday was coming. Sunday is coming. Oh happy day! 

Good Friday is one of the most important days in the life of the believer but, Hallelujah, it's a day that leads to THE most important day that we celebrate - Easter. The price was paid on Good Friday but the benefits are eternal. Praise His name.

Serving the only One who has the power to save,


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