Monday in Holy Week 29th March 2021
Jesus spent the last week, before His death, in Jerusalem – the city He loved and knew so well. Here was the Temple where He had been presented as a baby to His Father, the God of Israel, and which as a young boy He called “My Father’s house”. During His life and ministry, He would often journey from Galilee in the north of the country, up to Jerusalem, situated in the mountains of Judea. Each year, He would join hundreds of thousands of faithful Jews who went up to Jerusalem to celebrate the great feasts of the Lord: Pesach (Passover), Shavuot (Pentecost), and Sukkot (Tabernacles).
Now, He was going up for the Feast of Passover. He knew this was the last time, that He was the Lamb that would be slaughtered – He would be “delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!” (Matthew 20:17).
How could He face death? What gave Him strength? No doubt, He recalled the words of the Prophet Isaiah, who had proclaimed His calling: a “a covenant for His people Israel”, a “light to the Gentiles”, “the hope of the nations”.
He would have found comfort in the words of His Father who calls Him “my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight”.
Jesus: the firstborn among many brothers and sisters (Romans 8). In Jesus, the Father delights in us too, as His sons and daughters. As we seek to participate in our Lord’s suffering, this week, let us find joy and rest in the Father’s love, as Jesus did.
This passage in Isaiah is very similar to the words of the old priest Simeon, who years earlier had prophesied over Jesus when He was presented in the Temple: “For my eyes have seen your salvation which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.” (Luke 2:30).
Now, thirty three years later, the small boy had lived a life of obedience and become a man. He came to do that for which He knew He had been born. As the true Passover Lamb He would be slain in Jerusalem, in the midst of His covenant people Israel.
He knew death was not the end, but the beginning. Pesach would lead to Shavuot and Sukkot. He would rise, ascend and be seated at His Father’s right hand. He would give the Spirit and establish His body – the church of Christ. Captives would be set free, the eyes of the blind opened. And one day, when He comes again, the nations will go up to Jerusalem.
Jesus could face death because He knew His calling. It is our calling too. By sharing in His death and resurrection, we too may show forth that He is the glory of His people Israel, a light to the Gentiles, the hope of the nations.
Prayer: Father, thank you for loving me. This week, teach me to suffer as your Son Jesus suffered. Help me to join in His death, that I may show forth your life.
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Song to listen to / sing with : Meekness and Majesty by Graham Kendrick