I am so excited about Easter this time despite the COVID-19 lock down. The message of Easter has never been so real. Sin keeps us in bondage, under a lock down. So tied down with no hope, with uncertainties of what the future will look like. All gloom and doom. And then….Jesus Christ came, ohhhh and our story changed. He was locked up in that grave just to be let out so I would be free. How cool is that??!! ‘He lives, He lives, He conquered the grave, covered my sin. He lives, He lives, death could not hold the promise within’ (Cruise Ratcliff).
Just been reflecting on the events of that week, the events that led to Sunday. I have been struck by so many details. Herod and Pilate, former enemies became friends (Luke 23:12) just because of this common goal, to get the man Jesus on trial and later be crucified. Can you imagine!! United against God the very one that gave them life. And isn’t that what sin does to us? It causes us to throw fists at God and often call him all sorts of names because we refuse to believe and understand who He really is and how He works. The one through whom all things were made (John 1:3). His ways are not our ways.
I am sometimes like Simon Peter, saying even more than thrice, “I do not know that man”. Denying Christ not just verbally, but in attitudes, deed, in thought and in words. Having a form of godliness and yet denying its power. I imagine what ran through Peter’s mind when that rooster crowed, ohhh the pain. The bible tells us that he went outside and wept bitterly. May our sin indeed cause us to weep bitterly and never want to go back there again. Peter in that moment probably realized that things might never be the same again but guess what, forgiveness once and for all was coming. Later Peter is given the charge by Jesus to look after His sheep.
Sometimes we are like the Pharisees ignoring altogether what is written in the holy scrolls and the prophecies in there. We follow the crowds to make up stories and accusations against people and against friends just like the Pharisees did with Jesus. We join in the mockery and call it fun and jokes. Timothy Keller warns, ‘We live in an internet age that makes mocking and scoffing easy and reasoned discourse difficult. So we must resist the enormous cultural pressure to be mockers.” The line is very thin, but may God give us the wisdom to see it clearly and choose the right side.
Huh those crowds. In the same week they sang, “Hosanna, Hosanna in the highest” they also joined in shouting ‘Crucify Him, Crucify Him’. They later demand for Barabbas, a rebel and murderer to be released in the place of Jesus. Wawawawa, oh how the devil can play with our minds and hearts. From one exciting thing to another without really weighing what these things really meant.
Well, well, well, the drama never ends, Pilate failing to find anything wrong with Jesus surrenders Him to the ‘will of the crowd’. FYI, this is the Son of God.
Jesus on His way to Golgotha tells the women not to weep for him but for themselves. He adds that ‘For if people do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry.’ And that made me stop. At that moment I thought of Peter again, running to the outside and weeping bitterly for himself. What are you weeping for today? Is it for an unsaved friend? The sin in the world? The pain and suffering you see? A habit that you just won’t break from? Be encouraged, we have a friend in Jesus, who we can share all our sorrows with.
Right before the curtains close, the two criminals (I will call them Ed and Eddy) on their own crosses, each on either side of Jesus enter the scene (Luke 23:39-41). Ed (name made up) decides to hurl insults at Jesus and demand that if he is the Messiah, he should save himself and them. Eddy (name made up) on the other hand turns to Ed and says, ‘Don’t you fear God, since we are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong?’ Eddy got it. Ed however, was soooooo close and yet he missed it. Don’t miss it friend!! I beg of thee that you do not miss it. Jesus is right there beside you calling out, refusing to let you go.
There is so much to the Passion Week, so many details I have skipped. I hope that you find the time to dig deeper. But onto my favourite part, the game changer for me, the culmination of all the events of that week and from the beginning of time. The RESURRECTION!!!!!
My Jesus is alive!!! Alive, Alive, He is alive, He’s alive and I am forgiven, Heaven’s gates are open wide. My heart is full of joy at what that means. It makes me feel like singing all the hymns at the same time in praise and honour of that life changing moment for me. That fulfillment of scripture. That light bulb moment even for the disciples that had forgotten that He had promised to rise on the 3rd day according to the scriptures. It makes me think of that moment when the lock down will finally be over and we can freely run to the streets and all. And yet the resurrection is still so much more that that. He is alive!!!! He is risen from the dead and He is Lord. And every knee will one day bow, in heaven and under and declare that He is Lord. Oh I can’t wait to join the heavenly choir and sing,
‘Holy, Holy Holy, Lord God almighty, who was and is and is to come’
and after that sing,
‘Crown Him with many crowns, the lamb upon the throne. Hark! How the heavenly anthem drowns all music but its own. Awake my soul and sing of Him who died for thee, and hail him as they matchless King through all eternity.’
Come Lord Jesus, Come!