As we enter into Holy Week on the church calendar, I thought it would be helpful for me (and you) to take some time and remember what our Lord Jesus went through on our behalf some 2,000 years ago. It’s as relevant today as anything else that has ever happened or will ever happen in your life. I have been reading The Final Days of Jesus, which you can get today on Kindle if you like, and I would like to share with you what this book is helping to infuse into my heart — Jesus’ love for you & me exhibited in Passion Week.
Jesus, the 2nd person of the Trinity, the promised Messiah of the Old Covenant, the Incarnate Word, the main character and fulfillment of all Scripture, the Alpha & Omega, who was and is and is to come, came to this Earth and lived a fully human life. He was a real person with a real body, real feelings, real pain, and he suffered and died a real death… for you & me!
His final week began as He finished His journey to Jerusalem. To this point, His time had not yet come. But His ministry was on a trajectory to the cross. He knew that when He was heading into Jerusalem it would be His last trip. He knew exactly where and to what He was headed, and He did it with purpose and determination. Jesus was about to die — in Jerusalem. And yet He willingly marched on to face His executioners.
Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them at once.” This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying, “Say to the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.'” The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them. Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, “Who is this?” And the crowds said, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.” (Matt 21:1-11)
Once Jesus had triumphantly entered into Jerusalem, He was a man on a mission. He had lots to say & do, a culmination of His earthly ministry. As He had before, He predicted His death again. He also reminded His followers that what it took to follow Him — it meant going where He went, even to death by crucifixion.
Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks. So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him. “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” The crowd that stood there and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not mine. Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die. So the crowd answered him, “We have heard from the Law that the Christ remains forever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?” So Jesus said to them, “The light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going. While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.” When Jesus had said these things, he departed and hid himself from them. (John 12:20-36)
Finally, Jesus first day of Holy Week finished with a visit to the temple. Of course He would have to stop by for a visit there. He didn’t do anything yet (but He would the next day). He was simply there to scope things out and set the stage for what would happen on Monday.
And he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple. And when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.