…Judas came to the garden, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and the Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons.
Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?”
“Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied.
“I am he,” Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.) When Jesus said, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground.
Again he asked them, “Who is it you want?”
“Jesus of Nazareth,” they said.
Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. If you are looking for me, then let these men go.”
…Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear.
Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?”
As you begin this Holy Week, think about Jesus’ willingness to go to the cross. He knows what is going to happen, and though he may have some fear (he was a man after all), he steps into his final week with purpose and determination.
Jesus always showed a third way to deal with conflict. This was very much exemplified in every step towards the cross. When Peter reacts to oncoming soldiers with violence Jesus opposes his actions. He asks him to put his sword away. And then in a moment of full awareness reminds Peter that he knows full well what is coming, as well as his willingness to embrace this act of love for the world.
The cross didn’t catch Jesus by surprise, he willingly began to walk towards it. Why? Because as difficult as every step would be, this was the only way (the Father’s plan) to save the world, to save you, to save me.
God, thank you for Jesus’ willingness to walk towards the cross. Thank you that in his death you gave me life. As we get closer to Easter Sunday, prepare my heart to fully appreciate your love for me and the world.
He will swallow up death forever, he will wipe away all tears on all faces…he will remove people’s disgrace from all the earth…
“Surely this is our God;
we trusted in him, and he saved us.
This is the Lord, we trusted in him;
let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.”
Do you trust God to come through? Why ask? Because many people are desperately waiting for God to show up. Something may be broken in your life, your relationships, your career, your family – something is broken, and your waiting for the one who you hope can fix it to show up.
The Easter story is definitely bigger than one person’s afflictions, but don’t let that fool you to think that Jesus’ death & resurrection don’t have an impact on ‘your’ life. Sometimes we can fathom God’s sacrifice for the world and forget that he did what he did for just me.
So let whatever has to die in you die (with Jesus’ death) and allow his resurrection to raise you to life. Believe today that Jesus does wipe away ‘all’ tears and ‘all’ disgrace…and believe that he saves a world that includes you.
If you’re in the middle of a dark and difficult ‘Friday’, be patient, trust in God, and know that Sunday is the climax of this amazing story.
God, thank you that in our struggle we can trust you. Today I invite you again to be the restorer and redeemer of my life. Give me a perspective that includes you as my Saviour.
Paul, however, in Romans 5 seems to sum it up quite well. While I was still a sinner, still weak, still powerless, Jesus died for me. While you were still broken and defeated, Jesus died for you.
1 Who has believed our message
and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
3 He was despised and rejected by mankind,
a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
4 Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
How is Friday Good? Because he took our pain, he bore our suffering, he was pierced and crushed for our sin, his pain brought us peace, his wounds brought us healing.
Scot McKnight says that Jesus died…
– with us (identification)
– instead of us (representation & substitution)
– for us (incorporation into the life of God)
In due time we will celebrate Sunday, but today, let’s take in all that is Friday.
God, thank you that on a Friday that looked so bad, you made it good. On Friday that looked so dark, you brought light. On a day that was full of death, you turned it into life. Jesus, took my sin, put it on his shoulders, and made it so I don’t have that burden any longer. Today is a Good Friday.