A challenge…Will you accept?

The dust had barely settled on the road into the heart of Jerusalem from Jesus’ triumphal entry riding a young colt. Branches lay littering the pathway, broken, trampled by the crowds from the previous day. Echoes of “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” and “Blessed is the King of Israel!” could be heard in the minds of the slumbering people in Jerusalem. They slept peacefully amidst the boiling political unrest because they had hope in a man named Jesus of Nazareth whom, they thought promised deliverance for the people of Israel. Little did they know exactly what Jesus planned to conquer.

Jesus himself rested in the town of Bethany, close to Jerusalem for the night (Mark 11:11), knowing all the while, that in the short days ahead he would walk down a treacherous path.

The next day, Jesus traveled back to Jerusalem, and upon entering the temple area, he drove out merchants, overturned their tables, ringing out truth into the hearts of the corrupted. This did not sit well with the Pharisees, the religious leaders of the day, and so they began to plot how to get rid of this man named Jesus.

This is the scene set from reading the scriptures in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.  It seems like very rarely do we read the scriptures as a whole where we can get the big picture.  Today, I was compelled to do just that, and as I poured over the scriptures, I heard something that I’d never heard before. I heard desperation in the writings of Matthew as he records events and the parables spoken from his Savior during the last week of Christ’s life before the crucifixion. Jesus has his own sort of desperation as he imparts his knowledge to his disciples about the days ahead while he puts the Pharisees in their place as they continually attempt to trap him. It was such a truly desperate time in the history of humanity.

As our days unfold before this Good Friday, I want you, Lakesiders, to open up the gospels and see what you find there. These words divinely echo the past, this past that is our future. Read the disciples’ accounts of what our Lord endured and what he conquered for us and see if God imparts another dynamic that you have never understood before.

In the few days ahead, I will do this along with you and let you know what I find. It’s an exciting adventure that I pray will prepare our hearts for a sincere remembrance of Christ’s death and joyful celebration of his victory!

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