Jesus began the best and worst of weeks in honor and glory. Things went downhill from there. He knew when He started that week that it would not all be pomp and pleasure. Yet, because of the Joy set before Him, He set his face, resolute, to endure everything in that week. What a Holy God!
His disciples followed His instructions to find a donkey and a colt. Jesus proceeded to ride into Jerusalem. People in the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, cut branches from trees and spread them on the road. That’s why we call this the Triumphal Entry. Folks lined both sides of the road, shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!”
On that donkey, Jesus headed toward Jerusalem – where there was a Garden, a Hill, and a Tomb. Each movement on the donkey reminded Him that, while others were cheering Him now, the cheers would be gone all too soon. Instead, He was going to face rejection, abandonment, and agony. This was where the journey of the triumphal entry was taking Him – the best and worst of weeks – right to an unfair trial, a brutal crucifixion, and burial in an empty tomb!
Jesus cleansed the temple
From the triumphal entry into Jerusalem, Jesus went to the temple. There He overturned the tables of moneychangers and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple.
Folks who were blind and lame came to Him in the temple, and He healed them. The chief priests and scribes were angry, but the children kept chanting, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” This was another event in the best and worst of weeks.
Jesus told parables
Even though Jesus knew His crucifixion was near, He kept doing what He normally did. He taught and He healed. He also attempted to prepare His disciples for His death, even though they failed to understand. Jesus dealt with rebuke from the religious elders and scorn from others. Yet, that didn’t not stop Him from doing what He was called to do.
The Upper room in the best and worst of weeks
From Bethany, where Jesus stayed, He sent His disciples to prepare for the Passover Feast.
Jesus instituted communion and feet washing. He told Peter that he would deny Him. It was their last night together. Jesus had come so far in this week, but there was much further, now, to go. He and His band of unruly, uncultured men sang a hymn together and went to the Mount of Olives. The best and worst of weeks continued as Jesus’ face was set resolutely because of “the joy set before Him.”
In the garden, Jesus confronted His upcoming crucifixion and death. He begged God to take “this cup” from Him. Yet, He said, “Not what I want, but what You want.”
It was in this Garden where Judas met Him and betrayed Him with a kiss. In this Garden, Peter sliced off the ear of one of the soldiers – and Jesus healed the ear. In this Garden, Jesus was led away to trial. This was another event in the best and the worst of weeks.
The only thing “good” about Good Friday is that Jesus’ death was not final. Rather, it provided the beginning of life for the Christian.
Jesus endured the unfair trial. He was flogged, mocked, ridiculed, and scorned. The people chose Barabbas to be freed instead of Jesus, and Pilate washed his hands of the affair. Jesus was condemned as guilty – the only Man in whom there never was any guilt. He carried His own cross on the way to Golgotha, where He was crucified.
Resurrection Sunday – culmination of the best and worst of weeks
Ab huge stone covered the opening to the tomb. A guard was placed as added protection. There was no way for them to move the stone to anoint the body of Jesus. Yet, the women headed to the tomb that Sunday morning. There, they found the stone rolled back for anyone to enter that tomb and see that it was empty! The stone was rolled back, not so Jesus could leave the tomb, but so all could enter and find Hope in the empty tomb!
This is why Jesus endured that last week – the best and the worst of weeks. For the JOY set before Him, He endured.
In Heaven, we will find peace and rest. In Heaven, we will experience Joy. Like Jesus, we, too, must endure.
For the JOY . . . !
Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2
- Brooklynmuseumfreebibleimages.org: Jerusalem; Jesus cleansing the temple.
- Lumoproject/freebibleimages.org: The Last Supper
- tomb – pixabay.com