The events of Holy Week- leading Jesus to the Cross As we read the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John; we should have a life-changing look at the generosity, courage, love and forgiveness of a loving Savior. Experience His life, His teachings, His miracles, and everything that happened- leading to his journey to the cross and beyond. Leaving the home of Lazarus in Bethany, Jesus knew that entering Jerusalem would cost him his life. He knew that He must go to the temple during the Feast of Passover to teach by word and action. He must be God’s prophet in a politically charged and troubled time. Luke portrays Jesus’ determination in one short and powerful sentence: Luke 9:51- - “He steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem.” He did what he had to do despite the cost. He knew he would be rejected by the chief rulers and Pharisees; would be tortured and killed. Many people were there and had heard Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. They took branches of Palm trees, and went forth to meet him; and cried, Ho-san-na; Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord. He began teaching in the temple about darkness and light. Jesus taught them “The hour is come, that the Son of Man should be glorified. John 12:35- Then Jesus said unto them, yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you; for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth. Read John 12:42-43- Nevertheless, among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue. For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God. During his final hours in Jerusalem, Jesus knew time was running out. He needed to tell his disciples the most important things to remember. During the Passover supper Jesus taught His disciples what it meant to serve one another. He took a towel and girded himself. After that, he poured water into a basin, washing the disciples’ feet; he then wiped them with his towel. He did this as an example, that we should do the same in serving one another. Then He gave a new commandment- in John 13:34-35- “That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also- love one another. By this shall all men know- that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” Jesus knew- the fear and anxiety his disciples felt about their leader leaving them; he was giving them comfort in his teachings. In John Chapter 14- He talked to them about the coming of the Holy Spirit. (verse 16,18) “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another comforter, that He may be with you forever. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” Like children questioning their parents that are going on a journey without them; the disciples questioned Jesus in a similar way. John 14:6 - - Jesus saith unto them, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” He taught them to abide in Him- - As He was the vine- we are the branches. John 15:6 - - If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. You can easily feel the love and compassion Jesus had for his disciples. He spoke to them with love, giving them reassurance, that even though he was going away, he would not leave them comfortless- and he would return again. Then Jesus went into a garden to pray. He prayed for Himself- For His disciples, and for all believers. After Jesus had finished praying; the inevitable finally happened. Judas, the disciple who betrayed him, men, officers from the chief priests and Pharisees came into the garden. Jesus was arrested on Passover, interrogated, brutally tortured and then condemned to the most shameful of deaths, crucifixion. Hanging on the cross in shock and pain, he was slipping into a coma. He looked down at his sorrowful mother, and in his last minutes made preparations for John to take care of her. Hanging on the edge of life and death, He felt rejection and despair. According to Mark 15:34 He cried out - - “My God, my God why hast thou forsaken me?” On that cross he felt the wrath and icy displeasure of a sin-hating God. Why? Because he carried our sins in His body (I Peter 2:24). Sin-purging judgment flowed over the sinless Lamb of God who took away the sin of the world. To think that those nails held our sins to the cross. Why wouldn’t any of us be grateful for that kind of sacrificed love? An afternoon of darkness came as He spoke a final time. “It is finished” and he bowed his head, giving up the ghost. Thank God the grave didn’t hold him, because He lives we can live also. Read John 29-21 the Resurrection. What a promise. John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. God makes the offer- we make the choice. May you experience the joy of Easter in its fullness- from my heart.