Last year Coram Deo sent a team of people to Austin, Texas, to plant Providence Church. Jeff Lark is an Austin resident and longtime Campus Crusade staff member who is part of the launch team for Providence. This week, Jeff is writing daily reflections on the final week of Jesus’ life. With his permission, I’m posting them here as well.
Reflection #3: Walking to the Cross – Matthew 26:1-5
Tuesday had been a long day. Everything had been building to a climax – from the accusatory questions from the religious elite to Jesus’ forceful and direct declaration of “woes” upon the Jewish people to the lengthy discourse with his disciples about His eventual, yet certain, return.
As a result, Wednesday was a day of rest for Jesus and his disciples. But, it wasn’t a day at the beach or a day on Facebook catching up with friends. We know there was one thing on his mind – because we only have one thing recorded coming from his mouth that day – “You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified” (Matthew 26:2). Jesus would spend tomorrow preparing for the Passover. Today Jesus spent the day preparing his soul for the fact that He was the main character (or THE sacrificial lamb) in this Passover.
The Divine Son who had been a part of planning this event with the Father before time began was now also a human son who was only hours away from being murdered. We know from what will happen tomorrow night in the Garden, that this was not met without incredible anxiety and pressure.
And so, Jesus spent Wednesday preparing. Very possibly there weren’t many words spoken. There could have been many hours of awkward silence – as Jesus sat praying, alone with His thoughts. All the while the disciples were staring at one another in awkward uneasiness – not having a clue what this Passover would be about. And, all the while “the chief priests and the elders of the people gathered in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, and plotted together in order to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him” (Matthew 26:3-4)
As the hours went by, Jesus very possibly found Himself thinking:
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. (Isaiah 53:7)
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? All who see me mock me; they make mouths at me; they wag their heads; “He trusts in the Lord; let him deliver him; let him rescue him, for he delights in him!” I can count all my bones— they stare and gloat over me; they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots. (Psalm 22:1, 7-8, 17-18)
Or, maybe with a smile on his face he thought, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” (Genesis 3:15)
But, as he looked at his disciples, and as he thought about you and me, he continued to come back to one thought: Surely [I have] borne [their] griefs and carried [their] sorrows; yet [they] esteemed [me] stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But [I] was wounded for [their] transgressions; [I] was crushed for [their] iniquities; upon [me] was the chastisement that brought [them] peace, and with [my] stripes [they] are healed. All [of them] like sheep have gone astray; [all of them] have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on [me] the iniquity of [them] all. (Isaiah 53:4-6)
In 2 days, our sorrows get lifted…he gets smitten, afflicted, wounded, crushed and beaten.
The cross is only 2 days away! But, for the first time this week I pause to say that…because I am reminded that He died…He died…yet for me.