It is Holy Week
You might know that I am not the most likely pastor in the world to call this week “holy.” After all, I consider everything Holy. Your job, your play, raising kids, digging wells, building buildings, planting trees, making lumber, writing books, having coffee with friends. Its all Holy work, because it is all a part of living out life in light of the call to “subdue and cultivate the earth” under the cross in the redemption promised and offered to humanity.
But this week is a little special, because this week we can sit back and take the time to remember just what our redemption cost the God of the Universe.
Jesus was betrayed by a friend. Someone who had shared his life with him for almost 4 years decided to turn him in for 30 pieces of silver. Have you ever been betrayed by someone close to you? its a violation of trust. A kick in the teeth. Betrayal says “everything you have done for me, everything you have shared or whispered in secret to your closest friends means nothing.”
Jesus went to a solitary garden to pray just before his arrest and he asked the three men closest to him in the world to stay nearby and pray for him. He was after all about to face the most terrible thing imaginable to any human being. A torturous death where the wrath of almighty God against sin would dump out all over him. Instead of praying for him his friends took a nap.
He sweated blood because of the strain and stress of what he was about to endure.
He was mocked, beaten, denied, humiliated stripped naked and nailed to a cross where the human impulse to gasp for breath was only met by putting all of his body weight on the nails piercing his ankles.
While he hung there, gasping for breath and listening to the taunts of the crowd, he ministered to his mother, his friends, and a thief. Then he asked his father in heaven to forgive the people that put him there.
He died, a spear was thrust into his body, and he was buried in a grave that had been purchased for someone else.
Three days later, he walked out of that grave. Jesus did all of that, suffering and dying willingly. By doing that he demonstrated to his followers, the world, and to you and me that he has power over every vile thing that can happen to us even including death.
Whatever you are facing, whatever dark things you have done, whatever evil is hurting you, whatever betrayal and sorrow you face. This week reminds us that Jesus faced them and beat them all.
He can defeat them for you as well. He says “come to me all of you who are weary and heavy burdened and I will give you rest.”
We will reflect on this story Friday night at 6 and again Sunday Morning at 10. Come. Not to come to church, but to come to Jesus. Find freedom and hope in the news that Jesus has gone through this for us and promises to make all things new again.