It’s Holy Week! Part 2
Yesterday, we looked at the big picture of the history of God’s relationship to people up to the . Today, let’s look at the entrance of Jesus into the story.
13. Then Jesus is born, and he is called Emmanuel, which means “God with us.”
14. No longer is God among the people yet blocked from their access. Jesus lives with the people, learns and grows with them, eats and drinks, sleeps, speaks, heals, reprimands, and teaches.
15. Jesus says that those who see him and know him also see and know God.
16. Jesus is anointed at Bethany for his coming death.
17. When the people celebrate Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem–what we call Palm Sunday–they acknowledge that Jesus is fulfilling the long-anticipated role of the Messiah, the one who has come to save them and restore the original order as God intended.
18. Jesus washes his disciples’ feet as an example of their role in each others’ lives.
19. Jesus breaks bread and passes the cup of wine to his disciples to foreshadow his impending arrest and execution.
20. Jesus prays in the garden with his disciples nearby–by some accounts so fervently that the capillaries break on his forehead and he begins to sweat blood–not only that he might yet be spared his role as the sacrifice for the people’s sins but also that he accepts that role.
This is what I love about the Jesus part of the story of God. Here we see Jesus in his human vulnerability. Though he is fully divine and capable of changing the end of the story, Jesus is also fully human and willingly becomes the final blood sacrifice as the atonement for the sins of the people–this time not only the people of God but all people everywhere throughout the course of history.
The scene in the garden is one of my favorite Jesus moments. We see Jesus at his most intimate, praying to God not for the sake of others but for his own sake. We see the intense struggle between the divine and human in Jesus. This is no small matter, this business of execution and sacrifice. This is not easy or pleasant, but it is worthwhile and shows the extent of God’s love for the people–of Jesus’ love for the people, all people.
Blessed is the one who lays down their life for the sake of a friend. And Jesus has called us friends.
I like to think the blood Jesus sweats during his prayer foreshadows the finality of his sacrifice. Like the blood sprinkled on the Ark of the Covenant in the Holy of Holies on the Day of Atonement, the first drops of Jesus’ blood are spilled in the garden as he struggles to accept his role as the animal sacrificed on the temple’s altar.
But my favorite moment is still coming…