Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Not A Holiday

Wednesday of Holy Week is a different kind of day.  On Monday we remember Jesus cleansing the Temple.  Tuesday is the day for remembering all the confrontations with the religious authorities who were asking manipulative questions designed to nail Him to the cross.  Intense is a word which might describe those days.  The events of those days had the enemies of Jesus so in His face that He could see the color of their eyes and the evil hatred as well.  On Wednesday things are different.
Where we find Jesus on this particular day is outside the city in Bethany.  It is a day away from all the evil energy swirling against Him in the city.  It is a moment of respite.  It is a quiet day.  Perhaps, it was a day of prayer for Jesus.  Perhaps, it was a day of struggling with what Jesus knew to be ahead of Him.  Perhaps, it was a time of praying as He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane.  While there is much we cannot know for sure, we do know that He was not so far removed from Jerusalem that His mind and heart were free of the impending reality of the cross.  We realize this as we see the woman coming to Him with her alabaster jar of costly ointment of nard.  (Matthew 26:6, Mark 14:3)  When it was poured on Jesus' head, He rebuked her critics by saying, "She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for its burial."  (Mark 14:8)  It is obvious from this comment that Jesus was not taking a holiday from dealing inwardly with what was before Him.
What was before Him was dying on the cross.  It was not just before Him, but so close at this point that He was not only envisioning His suffering and death, but His burial as well.  We cannot begin to imagine His struggle.  The stakes were high.  The salvation of all the world's people was in the balance.  The cost was unthinkable.  He would cease to exist, go into the darkness of death, trusting only in the Father who had sent Him for just a moment.  For you, for me, for all of us, He went to the cross and to the grave to perfect the Father's plan. 

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