We’re passing quickly through this season of Lent, moving closer and closer to Jesus’ final week on earth as he makes his way to Jerusalem with his disciples. This coming Sunday is Palm Sunday, remembering all the fanfare of the kingly arrival, the excited crowds, the shouts of ecstatic praise. It would be difficult to imagine sharper contrast than between Jesus and everybody else: Jesus weeping, the teeming throng cheering; Jesus being darkly apocalyptic, his fan club being giddy with anticipation of the big showdown with Rome; Jesus subdued, mourning, the masses oblivious, ready to crown him King and Conqueror. Those of his disciples who were sufficiently observant, must have been disturbed, if not annoyed, at the oddness of Jesus’ less-than-enthusiastic response to all the fuss they were making over him. It seems, from all Scriptural accounts, that none of Jesus’ closest friends had processed the dire things he had repeatedly told them concerning what was about to happen to him, so it doesn’t appear that they were at all aware that this would be the culminating week of their time with him. Jesus likely knew this, and it added to his consternation and increased his sense of already-fever-pitch urgency.
ASSIGNMENT: I think it would be a rich exercise to take time this week to picture ourselves as one of the disciples (you, as yourself, as one of them, not assuming the personality one of those guys) living the events of Holy Week with Jesus, from Luke 19:28 – 23:56. Some things you might ponder: What is the mood of the crowd throughout the week? What is my mood? What are the exciting things? What are the dark things? What are the terrifying things? What did the Passover meal feel like? What are you understanding as the week progresses? What greater confusion do you have? What is happening with your faith? Describe the events of the crucifixion. What took place in your soul when Jesus’ breathing stopped? What discussions did you have with the other disciples? See what Matthew wrote in Chapter 27:45-54. How did you respond to those details?
I’d like us to take some time, this Sunday, to share some of what we’ve imagined, whether we’ve written it down, or just have some thoughts in our heads. This is not an attempt to re-write Scripture, but a way to feel more intimately connected to those salvation-pivotal events and maybe to better empathize with those 12 men. Thanks for taking whatever time is available to you. (There will not be a test.) PD