Dear Friends - The events in Jerusalem from Palm Sunday through Friday conclude Jesus’ ministry on earth.
Jesus had traveled from Galilee to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover. Along the way a crowd joined him and the twelve. These people had heard Jesus’ words, seen the miracles, tasted the bread and fish.
When Jesus reached Bethany he mounted a donkey to ride into Jerusalem. The prophet had foretold the messiah would come on a donkey. Jesus, as Old Testament prophets did, put God’s word into action so all could hear and see it. The Messiah has come! The crowd saw the sign and sang in joyfully praise, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”
Jesus entered the Temple, drove out merchants selling sacrifices, sat down and began to teach. As they had so often before, the blind and broken came and Jesus healed them.
Every day that week, Monday through Thursday Jesus went to the Temple to teach. At the same time, priests prepared the lambs for the Passover sacrifice. Each lamb had to be carefully inspected. If it had any imperfection, sign of illness, wound, or scar, it was rejected.
In the Temple courts Jesus, too, was examined for any defect. “Should we pay taxes to Caesar,” asked some Pharisees. Jesus couldn’t say No, or the Romans would arrest him. He couldn’t say Yes, or the crowd would desert him. It was the perfect trap. Would Jesus have a perfect answer? “Give Caesar what is his,” Jesus said, “and be sure to give God what is his.” Jesus eluded the trap, and reminded them and us to love God with all we are. Flawless! Even Pilate would agree. “I find no fault in him,” he would say.
Thursday night Jesus ate Passover with his disciples. He was arrested, tried, and sentenced to death. Friday morning they led him to Golgotha and nailed him to a cross. Even here Jesus was faultless. He forgave his executioners. He assured the penitent thief of life in the Kingdom of God. He did not save himself so that he might save others. He commended his soul to his Father, and breathed his last breath.
And the curtain in the Temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The way to the Father was opened by the sacrifice of Christ.
They buried him in a tomb carved into the limestone, one which had never been used. And they sealed the tomb with a stone. And the world went on about its business ...
Wait a minute, preacher, that’s not the end!
No, it sure isn’t!
~ Pastor Byron
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