For the past few weeks I’ve taken the time to tell you briefly about each of the 4 major days that are celebrated during Holy Week: Palm Sunday, Passover Thursday, Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday. Each week we’ve considered how Jesus totally overwhelms our expectations of who He is.
Palm Sunday – Jesus rides into the City of Jerusalem amid the shouts of “Hosanna.” Everyone sees Him as the perfect person to set everything right with everything that’s wrong. When He doesn’t do it the way they expect, they are ready to crucify Him. The reality is, they were thinking politically and He was thinking spiritually and eternally. He didn’t come to kick out the Romans, He came to die and take the punishment that we all deserve…on himself. He still takes us by surprise
Passover Thursday – This is the night that Jesus celebrates His last supper with His disciples. This is the night He will be betrayed. He’s betrayed because Judas is more concerned with saving souls than about starting a revolution. And because Jesus doesn’t follow the script, Judas throws Him under the bus. Do you ever get disappointed with God because He doesn’t do what you want him to do? Passover Thursday is about all the ways we turn our back on Jesus. It’s really the dirtiest, ugliest night in history. His disciples fall asleep instead of praying with Jesus; He’s taken to trial that is totally a sham. He’s handed off to Pilate, who passes him off to Herod, who hands him back to Pilate. Finally, as Pilate caves to the wishes of the people, he’s given a death sentence and taken out to be crucified. Passover Thursday is about all the ways that we fail God, but here again Jesus surprises us. You would expect him to give up on such a sorry lot, but that is not what He does. Instead He keeps pursuing us and chasing us, and as much as we run away from Him, He never gives up on us. Do you know who held the seat of honor at the Last Supper? Judas - because God never gives up on us. Passover Thursday is about how Jesus loves us, in spite of our failures, fears, and weaknesses. It`s about how he cleans us up and makes us whole.
Good Friday - This brings us to the third day of Holy Week, the day Christ was crucified. Surely there is no bleaker moment in human history than when we decided it was expedient to kill our Creator. But here again Jesus defied our expectations and surprises us, because - as the name suggests - this horrible event turns out to be good. Not because of what happened on that day, but because God used that day to make us good by paying the price we deserved so we could be reconciled to God. It`s the best worst thing that ever happened and that`s the irony of Good Friday. Unlike other religions that just pretend there is no such thing as evil or say if only you meditate right you can escape the illusion of suffering, Good Friday tells us the truth. Evil really does exist and suffering really does hurt, but God can take even the worst events and make them good. Unlike other religious figures, Jesus doesn`t AVOID SUFFERING and SIN, he absorbs them and transforms them into something good.
Resurrection Sunday - The last day of Holy Week is commonly known as EASTER, the day Jesus was raised from the dead. Easter is a powerful declaration that with God there is no such thing as a dead end. God can conquer even death itself and can take the worst defeat and turn it into victory. The story is told about a semi-famous painting called "Check Mate" that depicts a chessboard where the king is supposedly in check mate, but one day a master chess player was studying this painting for hours and finally said, "It`s not true; the painting is wrong. The king is not in check mate; he has one more move." That`s Easter and again it defies our expectations. You would expect death to be the end of the game, but not with God. He can make even the worse defeat a victory. As bleak as things get, God always has one more move left. Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter.
But there is one more day left, and we don`t celebrate it, but it could be the most important day of Holy Week - Saturday - the day between the crucifixion and the resurrection. What do you think the disciples were doing on Saturday? Here they have seen their friend and their Master killed the day before but also have this vague promise, which probably seemed ridiculous at the time that He would rise again. So what do you think they were doing on Saturday between the tragedy and the promise?
Most of life is Saturday. We`re in a terrible position, but we have a promise from God that we only half believe. It`s after the doctor tells us we have cancer, but before we`re cured or find a new depth of faith to cope with it. It`s after the marriage breaks up, but before God heals the grief. It`s after we`ve been laid off, but before God uses our gifts in a new place. Most of life is Saturday. It`s waiting in faith and hanging onto the promise that God is going to come through for us in spite of how bad things look. Doesn’t it seem like most of life is Saturday?
I don`t know where you are this Holy Week. Maybe you`re in a Palm Sunday kind of mood. Maybe you’re basking in Passover Thursday knowing that God loves us no matter how dirty our feet get in life. Maybe you`re in a Saturday kind of place - between a hard time and a promise you only half believe. Know this for sure that God`s Resurrection irony is still at work, and He can use even the worst tragedies for good, and He always has at least one more move left. No matter how bleak and dark Saturday gets, Sunday`s coming, and it`s coming sooner than you think.
I’ll close with these important things:
1. Don’t forget Good Friday service is at 7 pm
2. Don’t forget to invite someone to experience Deer Flat this Sunday. It could change their life
3. Don’t forget to come expecting an UNFORGETTABLE day with the Living God!
I CAN’T WAIT TO SEE YOU SUNDAY!
All For Jesus!
MCCLASKEY OPEN HOUSE – Saturday, April 7, 1-4 pm, Lobby
All are invited to an Anniversary Open House honoring Charles & Grace McClaskey from 1-4 pm in the lobby on this upcoming Saturday. Congratulations Charles & Grace - one of our Pioneer families of Deer Flat!