It is an ancient journey. Each year, followers of Jesus mark our calendars. This is the holiest week of the year for us. It is somber, surreal, serene, significant, deeply spiritual, and sensational.
The week begins on Palm Sunday. We follow Jesus as He enters Jerusalem hailed by many as the Son of David. Thousands of Jewish pilgrims were in the Holy City for the celebration of Passover. Messianic fervor was at a fever pitch in those days. There was the hope that the Messiah would overthrow the Romans and finally restore the kingdom to Israel.
Jesus walked through the streets of Jerusalem that week. He cleansed the Temple, taught in the Temple courts, and confounded all of the religious scholars who dared test Him with a question. No one had ever talked like Jesus. No one had ever performed the signs attributed to Him. Most people seemed to admit (like Nicodemus) that He had come from God.
As the week wore on, the pressure seems to mount. What would Jesus do? What would the religious officials do? How would it all turn out?
Finally, Judas decided the time had come for him to betray Jesus to Caiaphas. He received his payment and set the plan in place. It all played out perfectly. The dispatch of soldiers found Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. He was an easy catch. He was unarmed, and his followers were no match for the soldiers.
The trial was hasty, to say the least. As best we can tell, all manner of customs were set aside to get this thing done. By Friday afternoon, the deed was done. This so-called “King” was dead and His body was placed in a borrowed tomb. More soldiers were assigned to stand guard over the tomb.
As we read John’s Gospel together, the pages are densely packed with significance. The teachings of Jesus are deeply meaningful as we realized these are His last words to His followers. His actions are all carefully orchestrated. Jesus is answering the call of His Heavenly Father. His will has been bent towards His Father’s will.
I am praying for you as you make your way down this ancient path. I hope you will hear the voice of Jesus along the way. What is He adding to your life this Lenten Season. Remember – that is how we began our journey this year. We are not asking each other – “what are you giving up for Lent?” Rather, we are asking – “What might God be adding to your spiritual life this year?”
God be with us – as He was with Jesus.