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Time to Reflect on Why We Follow Jesus


Holy Week is when Christians consider the events leading to the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is a time to remember and reflect on Jesus as king, suffering servant, loving servant, and savior, and to renew our joy, hope and commitment to follow Him with willing and thankful hearts.

Holy Week begins on Palm Sunday, the day Jesus rode into Jerusalem, mounted humbly on a donkey. Crowds of children and adults praised Him shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” (John 12:13). They recognized Jesus as the king  Zechariah prophesied about hundreds of years before: “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is He, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey” (Zech. 9:9). Unlike all other kings, Jesus was the King of kings, the long-expected Messiah. His reign was not geo-political, and He came not to deliver His people from foreign enemies as they expected. No, this King came to deliver His people from sin and death, and to bring about an eternal reign of peace in true reconciliation with God.

As Holy Week unfolds, Jesus remains unwavering in His mission. Each day brought Him closer to the day when He would defeat Satan, the “ruler of this world” (John 12:31), by  taking upon himself the judgement for sin that we justly deserve. He would not do this on a war horse with great armies, but by emptying himself of His glory and taking the form of a servant, becoming obedient even to death on the cross (Phil. 2:5-11).

On Maundy Thursday, Jesus was with His disciples. He took off His robe to wash the disciple’s feet, a job commonly reserved for the most menial of servants. The King of kings, creator, sustainer, and restorer of all things humbled himself as an act of love, and exemplified how His followers should love and serve one another. It was a preview to His being stripped of His clothing and publicly humiliated the next day as He poured out His love for us on the cross. “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friend.” (John 15:13).

On the same night, which was the day before Passover, Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper. In this, He was showing that He is the fulfillment of all that was foreshadowed by the Passover lamb. His blood, soon to be shed on the cross, would turn away the wrath of God for all who place their faith in Him. The old covenant system of sin sacrifices is about to be fulfilled by the once-and-for-all sacrifice of Jesus, the perfect Lamb of God.

The next day, Good Friday, Jesus was crucified. I remember as a boy asking my father why we call the day of Jesus’ brutal crucifixion good. My young mind could not reason how a day could be good when the sinless son of God suffered an unspeakably excruciating death. My father patiently explained that what Christ did for me by freely and obediently laying down His life on the cross was beyond good!

On the cross Jesus cried, “It is finished.” In declaring His work finished, He indicated that nothing more must be done for our salvation. His perfect sacrifice fully paid for our sin, and there is nothing we need or can add to His work on our behalf. He left nothing undone regarding our salvation.

Finally comes Easter Sunday. As I write, I think of several precious friends struggling with cancer. Each day they fight with what little strength remains to endure the horrible effects of chemotherapy, and anxiously await any good news. I think of other friends who have recently died, and their family and friends still grieving the loss of their loved one.

But they do not suffer without hope. Indeed, the Easter proclamation at Christ’s empty tomb, “He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said” (Matthew 28:6) changes everything. Jesus died for our sins and was raised for our justification. He said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live…” (John 11:25). Death does not have the last word.

We are filled with wonder and thanksgiving that we are forgiven, set free from sin and death, and raised to newness of life in Christ. On Easter, Christians greet one another saying, “He is risen” and responding, “He is risen indeed.” May those words of truth sink deep in our hearts and evoke the resurrection hope and joy that is ours by faith in Christ.

Peter Teague is President Emeritus at Lancaster Bible College and a member of the IACE Board of Directors .

Source: IACE

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