It was a Sunday night, and I knew what awaited me on Monday. The week ahead would be difficult to say the least. Early on in my ministry, the church where I served faced a crossroads regarding a staff member. There would be conversations to be had with individuals who I knew would be less than receptive, and decisions to be made that would not be popular. To say that I wanted to walk away and not deal with the issues at hand would have been a gross understatement. But it had to be done. And so it was. By the end of the week verbal spears had been thrown in my direction, private meetings were held, threats were made, and even physical intimidation was used. I was left wounded and emotionally bruised. It was a dark time, but never had I sensed God’s presence more, or experienced His faithfulness as I did in those days.
You’ve probably had moments like that. The details may have been different, but the wounds weren’t. And if you haven’t had moments like that yet, you will. They aren’t easy to walk through, but necessary.
Jesus had a week that, without a doubt, was the week of all weeks when it comes to facing dark moments. It would involve the joy of a last supper, the pain of betrayal, the rejection of denial, the brutality of scourging, and the suffering of crucifixion. It would leave Him wounded and bruised. Ultimately, He would taste the sting of death. From eternity past He knew what He would face, yet He knew what had to be done.
To joyous applause and shouts of acclamation, the Messiah entered Jerusalem. But by the end of the week, adulation turned to fist-pumping angst exhibited by a mob of self-seeking, “what have you done for me lately”, “you aren’t who we thought you’d be” executioners.
Nonetheless, He persevered. Passivity didn’t flow through the veins of the second Adam as it did in the first. In the Garden of Eden, Adam essentially said to God, “My will be done.” In the Garden of Gethsemane, the second Adam, Jesus, said to His Father, “Your will be done.”
He could’ve walked away when the darkness of evil began to press in, but He didn’t. He could’ve called 10,000 angels to rescue Him from what He would experience, but He didn’t. Scripture tells us that Jesus resolutely set His face to go to Jerusalem. He knew what awaited Him, yet He would endure for the joy set before Him.
On the night that Jesus would be arrested, knowing what was ahead, He was determined to show the full extent of His love by loving His disciples to the end. Read how the apostle John records it, “Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.” John 13:1
Enduring the week of all weeks, and facing a cross that would be the instrument of His death, Jesus was committed to loving us to the end.
If there is anything you can be certain of, it is this: Jesus has loved you to the end that you might know a love that never ends, even in your darkest moments. That kind of love gives hope, and hope is what we all desperately need.
(An excerpt from my new book to be released Fall 2018, Final Week, Final Words: Finding Hope in Life’s Darkest Moments)