March 31st, 2021 by Erica Stephenson
The final week.
If you’re a follower of Jesus you know it as Holy Week. It was a petri dish of experiences that Jesus lived his final week here on earth.
His celebratory entrance into Jerusalem to observe Passover. (Mark 11:1-11)
His anger over abuse of power playing out in the temple courts. (Mark 11:15-18)
A meaningful gift given to him during a dinner party where it was criticized. (Mark 14:1-9)
A final Passover meal with his closest friends where we find him giving new meaning to old words. (Mark 14:12-26)
His agonizing prayer asking God to get him out of his coming suffering. (Mark 14:32-36)
His clear trust in God when he says that he will endure the suffering if is God’s plan. (Mark 14:32-36)
The betrayal of his closest friends. (Mark 14:10-11, 18, 27-31, 37-42, 32-50, 66-72)
A brutal and public form of death. (Mark 15:16-42)
I find myself wanting to rush through it all. There is so much darkness during the final week of his life. I don’t like to sit in the dark. There’s plenty of darkness to go around these days that I am forced to sit in - why would I enter willingly?
And yet I am finding that I can identify with Jesus, even if in small ways, here in this final week.
Celebrating a holiday over a meal with friends? Yep.
Anger over abuse of power? There’s plenty of that to go around.
A meaningful gift misunderstood? Yep.
Begging God to relieve suffering? Of course.
In the midst of the begging, trusting that his plan is best? A work in progress, but yes.
Feeling betrayed by close friends? Yep.
If you’re not convinced about the claims that Jesus makes, I hope that you’ll dig deep to the very bottom of your questions. Because if this is true, nothing else is worth pursuing. As one of my favorite authors, C.S. Lewis, says,
“A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic – on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg – or else he would be the Devil of Hell.
You must make your choice.
Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse.
You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”
Wherever you are with his claims, I hope you’ll walk with us this week. Find yourself in the story. I believe that Jesus wants to meet you right where you are.
His life proves this.
Don’t see hope rising yet? That’s okay. It’s coming.
If you’re exploring the claims that Jesus makes – I’d love to hear the questions that you are asking and listen. Comment below or send me an email.
If you need someone to trust this hope with you or for you right now, to speak these words to you - we would love to listen to your story and to pray with you. Comment below or contact us.