The Cross Changes Everything

This week is known as the Holy Week anticipating Easter Resurrection Sunday. The Holy Week is set at the following events;

  • SATURDAY – Mary anoints Jesus in Bethany (John 12.1-8).
  • SUNDAY – The Triumphal Entry on Palm Sunday (Mark 11,1-10).
  • MONDAY – Jesus curses the fig tree on the way to Jerusalem (Matt 21.18-22).
  • TUESDAY – Jesus’ Debates with the Religious Leaders, and Olivet Discourse.
  • THURSDAY – Preparations for the Last Supper, the Farewell Discourse, Agony and Arrest in Gethsemane.
  • FRIDAY – Jesus stands trial(s) before the Religious Leaders and Pilate, He is condemned, crucified, dies, and is buried.
  • SATURDAY – ?
  • SUNDAY – “The Lord has Risen!”

Easter reminds us of the incredible and monumental rescue that took place over 2000 years ago.

Since the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, we have needed the rescuing hand of God to deliver us from evil and sin. God’s love for us was ultimately displayed when he sent Jesus Christ to die for us on the cross, only to rise from the dead so that we may be saved.

Jesus knew exactly the end was near. He knew the finality of Friday. He read the last chapter before it was written and heard the final chorus before it was sung.


1. Hosanna in the Highest (Matthew 21:8-9).

This day was known as “Palm Sunday” In the gospel of John tells us the branches were “palm branches,” thus our celebration of “Palm Sunday” five days before Good Friday and seven days before Resurrection Sunday, or “Easter.”

From a human standpoint, this marked the high point of Jesus’ earthly life, before his death and resurrection. However, five days later a crowd comprised of many of these same people would be shouting for the king’s execution (Matthew 27).

What the people failed to understand was that the king had come to defeat a much greater enemy than Rome. Jesus had come to defeat Satan, our sin, and the claim of death.

By planning for his own “triumphal entry,” Jesus has proclaimed himself to be the king, and he does not rebuke his followers from shouting out their agreement in this.

We as Christians ought to be of all people most excited and enthusiastic of the cross of Christ! As Charles Spurgeon said it well, “This age does not generally sin in the direction of being too excited concerning divine things. We have erred so long on the other side that, perhaps, a little excess in the direction of fervor might not be the worst of all calamities; at any rate, I would not fear to try it.”

Jesus is indeed the Messiah-King, having absolute authority and deserving worship and submission from all his subjects.


2. The Passover Fulfillment (Luke 22:7-38).

Jesus took an old symbol and filled it with new meaning. The Feast of Unleavened Bread is the historical background for the establishment of the Lord’s Supper. Exodus 12 presents the final chapter in God’s miraculous rescue of Israel from slavery in Egypt: the plague of the judgment of the firstborn.

The meaning of Jesus’ words and actions is rooted in His command to remember.

Luke 22:19 says, “This is my body” This is a metaphorical use. This means we emphasize the word “remember” rather than “is.” We as believers understand that Jesus is spiritually present in the eating of the bread and the drinking of the wine by faith.

Luke 22:20 says, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many” This means that Jesus understands His death as the ratification of the covenant he is inaugurating with his people, even as Moses in Ex. 24.8 ratified the covenant of Sinai by the shedding of blood.

Without the death of the lamb and the spreading of its blood, the children of Israel would have suffered the judgment of God.

The Lord’s Supper presents the powerful message of the gospel. The Lord’s Supper is a visual presentation of the gospel causing us to look back to the cross. The Lord’s Supper is a message of hope causing us to look forward to Jesus’ return.


3. The Cross of Calvary (John 19:28-30).

Jesus on the way to the Hebrew name Golgotha, meaning “place of a skull.” Calvary is the Latin equivalent. Jesus walked through on the Via Dolorosa (“the way of sorrow”).

Jesus carried his cross piece part of the way to the site of execution; however, weakened from the beatings he is unable to complete the journey with the cross.

Jesus, the Son of a man scourged, bleeding, and hanging on a cross under the Near-Eastern sun. Why? For every part of Jesus’ passion was not only in the Father’s plan of redemption but a consequence of Son’s direct obedience to it.

When he had received the drink (v. 29), Jesus cried out once more in a loud cry, “It is finished!”

This is no cry of defeat. Jesus did not mean he was defeated someway. Jesus faced sin, evil, despair, and death head-on! And something astounding, amazing, and awesome was finished as Jesus died on the cross.

With that, Jesus “bowed his head and gave up his spirit” (v. 30).

The Son of Man must be lifted up if He is to save those who believe. We see that apart from the death of Christ, men are utterly lost; they perish, instead of having eternal life


The Road to Calvary with Jesus

Jesus is indeed king; he has a fierce commitment to the truth, but he is a king who brings peace with a gentle spirit.

My hope that this week with the guidance of Holy Scripture, we as Christians will imagine ourselves at the feet of the cross and help us see and hear what transpired there.

So, this week, let us walk with him. Let’s see how Jesus spent his final days. Let’s see what mattered to God.

Feel his passion. Laughing as children sing. Weeping as Jerusalem ignores. Scorning as priests accuse. Pleading as disciples sleep. Feeling sad as Pilate turns.

I pray, by His grace and His help, he will cause us to understand and to love him more deeply through this Holy Week as we meditate on Christ’s mission on earth.

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