Identity Found In God
The Redeemer and the Redeemed
The Day Before the Cross
The Day of the Cross
The Day After the Cross
Living as the Redeemed
The Day Before the Cross
Many events went down on this day. Place yourself in the midst of each of these scenes. Dig into the Gospels and embrace Him.
Jesus spent His time on earth teaching, healing, preparing and relating to the people. But He knew the ultimate purpose of His presence on earth. As time went on, I imagine the intensity increased. Oh how He tried to prepare His disciples of what was about to go down. He so loved spending time with them, and He knew that soon He was going to have to leave them. Jesus knew that His days with His precious friends were coming to an end. I can relate to that dreadful feeling of saying goodbye to those you love. There’s a feeling of wanting to soak up the time together. John 13:1 tells of this, “It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.” The passage continues. To really drill home what true servant hood looked like, He lowered Himself into a servant role, and washed their feet – even the feet of the one He knew was about to betray Him. A true act of humility. This was an intentional teaching moment and expression of love for His disciples, and for us.
Take a moment to consider whose feet God may be asking you to wash. Are you walking in service to others? Ask God for Christ-like humility to wash over you.
The Communion/The Last Supper
I just have to begin by confessing that I have claimed those words multiple times in my lifetime. Every time I make a decision to go on a diet one more time, I gather up the family and invite them to join me in “my last supper”. I know that last means final, and I should only have had one in my life, but, well, that’s not how it has worked with me. During each of my last suppers I try and eat all my favorite foods, and as much of it as I want…because after all, this last supper is it – no more luxurious, delicious food. I will be restricted on what I will be able to enjoy. Well at least until I gradually lose focus and well, then I go down a bad path of temptation, until I find determination in me once more and proclaim yet another “last supper”!
But more seriously, here is the famous scene of Jesus surrounded by those He loves. John 13:21 gives us an insight into the anticipation of what was about to happen. I wonder if it was a bit like when we know there’s something good around the corner, but, we know what we have to go through to get there. The anxiety of the journey, but hope for the outcome. Jesus enters into a time of creating an experience with His precious friends that will be remembered, a scene that would serve as a reflection of what He did for them, and for us. I’m not sure that in those sacred moments the disciples completely understood, or whole-heartedly engaged in the intimacy Christ was expressing to His loved ones.
Jesus knew what was coming, and wanted to take this precious time together around the table, enjoying the company of each other. It was a time when He could engrave in their hearts the meaning of His blood and His body, the sacrifice He was about to make for them, and for all.
Spend some time with Jesus. Commune with Him. Ask Him to reveal to you what might be missing. Allow His intimacy and love He has for you to penetrate your heart, mind and soul. Sit in remembrance, in recognition of His journey, His body, His blood.
The Predictions & Promises
Oh how it must have been difficult for the human side of Jesus to wash the feet of Judas, or to break bread with Him knowing what He was about to do. Yet, He did. He named and predicted that one would completely turn Him over to the enemy. There must have been that deep pain at the pit of His stomach at the thought. Perhaps just as unsettling was the thought that Peter, the Rock, was going to say He doesn’t even know Jesus, not just one time, but three times. John 14 – 17 gives us a peek into this heart-felt conversation Jesus is having, directing the disciples towards His leaving them, but offering the promises that lied ahead. Take time to read these personal words in John 14-17. While it almost feels like a final crash course being poured into them, there is hope and peace in the midst of His loving words. I imagine the disciples were overwhelmed, attempting to comprehend all that He was revealing to them.
But we have the Word in front of us to read and reread, to soak in. May you do just that. Seek hope and peace in the words of Jesus.
The Agony at the Garden
The experience at the garden is one like no other. It captures the simultaneous human emotions, with the perseverance and strength as God. Read the real struggle and pain that Jesus endured. Matthew 26:36-46, Mark 14:32-42, Luke 22:39-46. Jesus took a couple of his friends along, and found himself in a moving time of anticipation. Such overwhelming distress and sorrow. Yet bursting from somewhere deep in His core, out of His steadfast love and connection with His Father, He can utter, “Not my will, but yours.”
In the deepest most difficult times, are you able to utter those words? If you’re in one of those times now, drop on your knees, cry out to God, and ask Him for the strength you need that can only come from Him. If you’re not in the midst of a crisis or pit of sorrow, lean in and get to know your Father during this time and connect with Him. Grow in your love for Him so that if/when the difficult day comes, you have a hold of His hand, and can muster the words, “Not my will, but yours.”
The Betrayal & Arrest
Just as the emotional time in the garden ended, Jesus stood strong and announced to the sleeping disciples that it’s time. His betrayer was coming. Judas and a crowd of people approached in the dark. Judas kissed His cheek and turned Him in. A bit unimaginable. They came at Him and arrested Him. One of those with Jesus drew a sword and cut off the ear of one of the soldiers. Jesus quickly reprimanded him and healed the ear. He made it clear that this was not a battle to be won by a sword, but rather, His Father had things in control. It seemed like His disciples didn’t quite know what to do with that, and scripture says they all ran away in fear.
They took Jesus to the high priest. Peter was lurking behind the scenes. False accusations were being hurled, to which Jesus remained silent. No need to defend false accounts. When the question of truth was asked, “Are you Christ, the Son of God?” Jesus boldly affirmed His identity. This ravaged the high priest and crowd and the beatings began.
As Jesus modeled how to handle false accusations and truth, may we consider how we handle such conversations.
Early on in my Christian walk, I was pretty hard on Peter. I mean, how could someone walk so tightly with Jesus only to deny Him 3 times? But the more I put myself in his shoes, the more I felt for the guy. While he was in the courtyard, warming up by the fire, listening in on the heated conversations, including words like blasphemy, three times he was recognized as being connected to Jesus, and three times fear overtook him and denied Him. Just then the rooster crowed, and all that Jesus had been telling them was happening. Though Peter wanted to be so strong, he realized what just happened and it broke his heart!
May we continually strive to receive God’s strength to remain faithful to our Lord, to not fall into fear of what others will think, or of what might happen if you speak about your connection to Jesus. May we stand for and claim our Lord and be strong.
Close this day clinging tight to your Savior, Jesus, the One who was accused, beaten, flogged, denied, betrayed...