This morning I was contemplating the last week of Jesus' life... The events that unfolded during what we've come to call "Holy Week."
I thought I would share a brief glimpse of HIS LAST DAYS... This is Part 1 of at least a "two part" post.
The Cleansing Of The Temple
Matthew 21:12-13; Mark 11:15-18; Luke 19:45-48
There is a great deal of speculation that Annas, the former high priest, and his sons had grown very wealthy at the expense of the people who came to worship God.
In an act of breath taking courage, as a matter of public record, Jesus single handedly – without a sword or army – took on the one of the greatest powers of His day. He took on the power structure that involved people who had a vested interest in maintaining a religious system that had made them wealthy... He was in such powerful control that nobody could raise a hand or a voice against him. He wouldn’t even permit anyone to “…carry goods through the temple…”
Many people believe that this single action was the equivalent of Jesus signing His own death warrant... It infuriated the religious authorities of Jesus' day...
Last Day Of Jesus’ Public Ministry
Tuesday describes Jesus’ last day of public ministry. It’s basically a continuance of the showdown he began with the religious authorities on Monday.
• Jesus Confronted the Religious Authorities
Matthew 21:23-22:46; Mark 11:27-12:37; Luke 20:1-44
• He Pronounced Judgment Against The Scribes And Pharisees
• He Talked With The Disciples
Matthew 24-25:46; Mark 13:1-37; Luke 21:5-36
• A Conspiracy Was Planned By Religious Authorities
Matthew 26:1-5; Mark 14:1-2; Luke 22:1-2
• Jesus Was Anointed with Expensive Perfume and Worshipped
Matthew 26:6-13; Mark 14:3-9; John 12:2-8
• Judas Agreed To Betray Jesus To The Religious Authorities
Matthew 26:14-16; Mark 14:10-11; Luke 22:1-6
Think you've had a tough day at the office? This was an emotionally and physically exhausting day for Jesus...
Wednesday was a day of silence in the life of Jesus. Scripture records nothing concerning the events that took place on Wednesday.
Maybe Jesus was spending some time alone with the Father... Maybe He needed some silence and solitude before the storm...
Celebration Of Passover / Institution Of Lord’s Supper
Matthew 26:17-29; Mark 14:12-25; Luke 22:7-38; John 12:2-38; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26
We're not certain of what happened earlier in the day, but we do know that it was probably Thursday when Jesus met with His disciples and celebrated Passover and instituted the Lord's Supper.
Matthew 26:30, 36-46; Mark 14:26, 32-42; Luke 22:39-46; John 18:1
Sunday through Monday Jesus has squared off against the religious authorities. On Thursday evening Jesus faced the greatest battle of His life.
Luke 22:44 (NKJ), And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
• “…being in agony…”
Agony - “…being in the grip of a shuddering horror in the face of the dreadful prospect before him.”
“…an anxiety from which there was no escaping and in which he saw no help and no comfort.”
“…it is used of a man who is rendered helpless, disorientated, who is agitated and anguished by the threat of some approaching event.”
“…shocking horror, awe and dismay…”
• “…Then His sweat became like great drops of blood…”
The agony was so intense that it resulted in a medical phenomenon. In medical terminology the phenomenon of blood mixing with sweat is known as hematidrosis. It is a rare phenomenon that occurs in someone who has a blood disorder or is in a highly emotional state. Extreme mental agony causes the blood vessels that supply the sweat glands to enlarge. The vessels eventually rupture and blood mixes with sweat. Blood loss is minimal, but the skin becomes very sensitive.
Jesus’ Threefold Struggle At Gethsemane
• Emotional Pain
Mark 14:34 (NIV), He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and watch with me.” 35 He went on a little farther and fell face down on the ground.
Why the emotional pain? Phillip Yancey says, “…I detect in the Gospels’ account of Gethsemane a profound depth of loneliness that Jesus had never before encountered…
The world had rejected Jesus: proof came in the torch light parade then snaking through the pathways of the garden. Soon the disciples would forsake him. During the prayers, the anguished prayers that met a stone wall of no response, it surely must have felt as if God, too, had turned away.”
• Mental Anguish
Mark 14:35-36 (NKJ), He went a little farther, and fell on the ground, and prayed that if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him. 36 And He said, "Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will."
The phrase, “…he fell on the ground…” can actually be translated, “…he kept on falling on the ground.”
• Satanic Warfare And Activity
The word “agony” in the original Greek can also mean struggle or conflict. It’s from a root word, which was actually used of the place where the Greeks assembled to celebrate their Olympic Games. It can refer to “a place of contest, conquest and physical struggle for the purpose of overcoming all opposition in the attainment of a goal.”
Satan had avoided any direct confrontation with Jesus, since the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness and his blistering defeat. Now in Gethsemane, Jesus relives Satan’s wilderness temptation. In the closing hours of Jesus’ life, Satan makes one last all out frontal assault on Jesus Christ attempting to detour him from the cross.
Spiritual warfare takes center stage in the opening scene of Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ." I believe Mel's depiction is accurate. That the evil one Himself mobilized the forces of hell against Jesus as He prayed in the Garden...
What's the point of reliving these events? To focus on the work of our Savior and to deepen our worship for all that He has done. We'll write more tomorrow...
Until then, take a few moments to read the texts, mediate on what Jesus experienced and maybe even be moved to worship Him for all that He has done...