Have you ever looked back on an event in your life -- either a happy event or a tragic event -- and wondered, “What would I have done differently if I had known what was coming?” Most of us can think of things we wish we had been brave enough to try, or regrets over words left unsaid. If only we could know the outcome ahead of time.
But Jesus did know the outcome of the days leading up to Good Friday. He knew that the cheering Palm Sunday crowd would become the mob jeering and demanding his death. Jesus knew that he would be betrayed by some of his most intimate friends. And Jesus knew that an agonizing death awaited him.
That’s what makes the days between Palm Sunday and Good Friday so remarkable: most of us will take risks in the hope of a good outcome. But Jesus steadfastly continued his mission on earth, even when he knew the outcome would be bitterly painful.
A brief look at the events of that week show us Jesus’ boldness as he rebuked corrupt money changers in the temple (Luke 19:46) and called out the hypocrisy of the Pharisees as they tried to lay a trap for him with their words (Matthew 23:24-33). Then we see the heart of a shepherd, as Jesus took his disciples out to the Mount of Olives to continue teaching them during the time he had left. Meanwhile, on that same day, one of those disciples made a deal with the Sanhedrin to betray Jesus (Matthew 26:14-16).
On Thursday, Jesus shares the Passover meal with his betrayer, and with friends who will abandon and deny him hours later. He spends precious hours with his disciples, and the Son of God humbly washes their feet and tries to explain the events that are fast approaching. He keeps loving the very people who will betray him, right up to the last night of his life.
What an example of selfless love for all who call ourselves followers of Christ.
As we approach Good Friday, take time to read one or more passages about Jesus’ last days:
- Matthew 21:12 through 26:56
- Mark 11:15 through 14:52
- Luke 19:45 through 22:53
- John 12:20 through 18:12
- What is one area of your life right now that requires you to love selflessly?
- Take time to pray and ask God to help you follow Jesus’ example of being faithful and steadfast in the midst of that challenging situation.
- Now take some time to ponder Romans 5:8. Reflect on how much Jesus loves us – how much he loves you. Re-read this verse with your name at the end.
Written by Nancy Leschke
Join us for Good Friday service at 6:00 pm on April 14.
Celebrate His resurrection on Easter Sunday, April 16 at 8:00 am, 9:30 am and 11:00 am. (Interpretation for the Deaf and hard of hearing at 8:00 am; Son Harbor for children infants-5th grade at 9:30 & 11:00 am.)