I've been reflecting somberly on the week of Easter, especially the five days leading to Good Friday: how Jesus must have felt and what the disciples were thinking. How do you prepare to die?
Jesus was about to take the most important step, the ultimate step to fulfill His purpose, the reason for His birth. It must have been an intense week for Him and even worse for the twelve men who had sacrificed it all to be by His side. He had told them many times, sometimes shrouded in parables that He would ultimately be crucified but will rise again. There are many indications in the Bible that the twelve did not quite grasp what Jesus meant or what His end-game really was.
By all accounts it was a busy week for Jesus. He did not go into hiding all week pondering over His death. He kept moving, working, and going about His father's business. Right after His triumphal entry into Jerusalem He went to work. He did not sit around basking in the adulation of the people who eagerly and joyfully welcomed Him. Reading the various accounts of the events leading to the crucifixion in the Synoptic Gospels,we get a sense of urgency in Jesus' movements throughout the week of Easter. Jesus taught all week and the people hung on to His every word as they were amazed by the authority with which He spoke.
His first act in Jerusalem was to clean out the temple. He entered the temple courts, we are told, and drove out traders, buyers and money changers overturning their tables, saying "“It is written,” He said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’”, (Matthew 21:13) quoting Isaiah 56:7 and Jer. 7:11, and by so doing confirming His actions with scripture. If Jesus were to come into our churches today, will He find it being used as a House of Prayer or a den of thieves among other unwholesome attributes. Selah.
After He restored sanity, Jesus healed many who were brought to Him in the temple. All in a day's work.
Jesus did not allow Himself to be distracted by the crowd or the teachers of the law who questioned His every move and teachings throughout the week. He knew Judas would betray Him in a matter of days, Peter would deny him shortly thereafter, the disciples would desert Him with the speed of lightening but He stayed focused, urgently delivered His messages as He prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice. Indeed the only times we sense distress, anxiety and a slow down was perhaps during the last supper and then in the Garden. "Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”" Matthew 26:38
As we prepare for Easter let us not allow ourselves to get lost in the busyness of the season, Easter bunnies, egg hunts and pastel colors. Take a moment to reflect on the reason for Easter, the purpose it serves and the benefits we enjoy because of the cross. Like Jesus, let us keep our focus on what matters.