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Posts Tagged ‘prophecy’

It is Wednesday of Holy Week in Jerusalem the year 30 AD.  Jesus has less than 48 hours before He is nailed to the wooden beams of a Roman cross.

I often try to put myself in the place of others to see from their perspective.  I have found this an excellent approach at building empathy.  I wonder what Jesus’ mindset was on this Wednesday.  He knew what was before Him.  He had mentioned it to His disciples on numerous occasions (even though it appears they didn’t grasp the immediacy of his prophetic words).  Yet we see in the scripture that Jesus continued His routine.  He resided outside the city, probably in Bethany (Matt 21:17).  His early morning would be spent in communion with the Father.  One of the things I didn’t realize until lately was that Jesus didn’t need to carry a written scroll of the sacred texts.  He had these memorized.  This was actually common among religious Jews, so it is a safe assumption that Jesus knew them by heart.  Of course He knew them – He helped write them.  John 1 tells us that Jesus is the “Word of God” so He knew the scriptures more intimately than any religious person ever could.  He actually understood what each line and phrase was intended to convey.  And that was another reason that He and the religious leaders so often clashed.

After breaking fast with His disciples He would head to back into Jerusalem probably over the road from the Mount of Olives.  Let’s take a minute and consider what breakfast would look like.  Jesus, fresh from His time with His Father in prayer and having been awake for some time already, would be fresh and alive.  I can visualize various members of His band coming in and picking up a piece bread and fruit the women have spread on the table and playful conversations picking up.

“Andrew, did you sleep in the barn again?  You have straw sticking out of your hair.” John asks Andrew as he sleepily walks into the large room.

“Speak for yourself John.  From your smell I would say you slept in the barn AND you haven’t bathed in a month,” Andrew replies.

“Andrew, he is just a boy.”  James exclaims.  “He hasn’t learned that a man must bath at least once a week if he is to share close quarters with his friends.  Out in the fields and walking in the wilderness he can get away with only the occasional ritual bath, but not when we all come to Jerusalem.”

“He will get His ritual bath soon enough,” Jesus says.  “We all will be cleansed very soon.  Passover is upon us my brothers.  A very special Passover indeed.”

After breaking fast they would take the 30 minute or so walk to Jerusalem entering through one of the massive gates in the city wall.  They would proceed to the Temple.  One of Jesus’ favorite places to teach was Solomon’s colonnade.  Here he would take a seat and begin to teach.

These final few days were a political chess match.  Jesus continued to teach and heal while the religious leaders repeatedly tried to trap Him in His words.  One day they asked Him about paying taxes expecting Him to either anger the authorities by saying NO or displeasing the crowds by saying YES.  Instead Jesus says, “Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s, and unto God, that which is God’s”.   Another time they demand to know by whose authority He is teaching.  They did not sanction Him therefore that are suspect of His credentials.  Not to mention He takes issue with a significant number of their interpretations of the law.  Jesus answers their question with a question.  “I will answer you if you answer my question first.  John’s baptism – where did it come from?  Was it from heaven or of human origin?”  Now they are trapped because they did not accept John’s baptism and message, but they know the people did.  To answer as they truly believe would risk a riot and further alienation from the people.  But to answer otherwise would reveal their blatant hypocrisy.  So they say, “We don’t know.”

If He was stressed by the continued manipulations of the temple leaders, none of the Gospels bear this out.  And personally, I don’t expect that these things surprised or stressed Jesus.  Not because of the fact of His divinity, but because of His intimacy and trust in the Father.  The impression I take from studying Jesus in the scriptures is One who is 100% confident in Himself because of His absolute connection with the Lord of the Universe.  There is no sin to disrupt that connection.  He consistently seeks to know the Father’s will and communes with Him constantly.  And He is obedient to the uttermost.

A logical question arises – did Jesus know all the events each day held beforehand?  We see that a number of times He is aware of what is going to happen… sending the disciples ahead for the donkey on Palm Sunday, waiting for Lazarus to die before heading to Bethany to raise Him, seeing Nathaniel under the tree before they meet.  But I don’t think this has to be extrapolated that He knows every detail of every day.  In fact, I think He knew the details that He needed to know to be in the right place at the right time.  And I am sure that He was given the words He needed at the time they were needed (see Mark 13:11).  This came from His communion with and total faith in the Father which was reflected in complete obedience.  But in keeping with one of the “secondary” reasons He came and lived among us, for Him to effectively model a life we are to strive for, He would have to “walk by faith and not by sight” some of the time.

I encourage you to take time to put yourself in Jesus’ place on this Wednesday in His final week.  Consider what might be going through His mind.  How did He find the will to move resolutely toward His death rather than look for the way to escape.  Then apply that to where you are right now.  What incremental step can you take to grow your faith and move a little closer to the person the Lord has called you to be… the Lord has equipped you to be… the Lord died for you to be.  Don’t misunderstand.  The Lord isn’t calling a person of little to no faith to immediately become one who boldly faces down the religious leaders and willingly dies for Christ.  But He is calling us to grow in our faith today to be a little stronger today than yesterday.  And then tomorrow to grow a little stronger than we were today.  In time, perhaps less than we can imagine, the Lord will put us in places were our natural response would have been to run and hide, but our faith response becomes to stand and proclaim the goodness and richness of the Lord.

Be blessed today my friend and allow the Lord to make you a blessing to those He puts in your path this day.

 

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