As we approach the Easter season, let us think about what it was like for Jesus. His friend Lazarus had died and the question of going to a village that was close to Jerusalem filled the disciples with fear. “Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews tried to stone you, and yet you are going back there?” (John 11:8). But Jesus would not be deterred, so Thomas, thinking of Lazarus having died, responds with, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” (11:16). They were thinking of themselves as usual. When Jesus told them, at the Passover meal, that he was going to be betrayed by one of them, they were really upset by it but not enough prevent them from arguing together about which of them was going to be the greatest. Even in the garden as Jesus faced the looming cross and bearing the sin of the world what were his disciples doing? Sleeping! They weren`t really the support He needed.
How do we prepare for this season? By doing without something we normally enjoy? It does us good to abstain from time to time but it has to be for the right reason otherwise it does us no good at all. If it`s because we have put weight on over the Christmas period then we are no different from the disciples, thinking of ourselves. But it makes us feel really spiritual doesn`t it?
Do we ever consider what it was that made the cross the reason why Jesus came? It wasn`t that He wanted to be a martyr as some say. John says, “He thus revealed his glory”. Jesus revealed throughout his life the glory of who he was. Nowhere is this shown more than at the cross – The creator is laying down his life for his creation. “Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem,” despite the protests from his disciples because he wasn`t only thinking of them but of generations both before and after who are without hope if he didn`t go to the cross. This is what every OT sacrifice signified. They couldn`t atone for sin but pointed to the one who bore the sin of the world. John the Baptist got it right when he said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”
He came to die for my sin, my selfishness, hatred, jealousy, fits of rage, envy; greed, pride and arrogance, to name but a few. If we don`t make it personal we totally miss the point. We each contributed our sin to the reason Jesus had to die. Perhaps it would be better if we abstained from sinning during the run up to Easter. When we find it impossible then we will really be ready for the glory of the resurrection morning.
Every blessing be yours in Christ Jesus.
John & Hilary