It’s 11:00 and it’s past my bedtime, so I’ll be doing part two of the covenant tomorrow.
Yesterday James asked me what the day was. I casually replied “um Wednesday the 12th.” He corrected himself and said “no what day of Holy Week?” So I said “yeah, it’s just Wednesday.”
But that’s not really true. Because a whole bunch of stuff went down during Holy Week. That’s how Jesus went from being the hero to being given the death penalty in the span of 6 days.
So let’s look at what happened Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday between Palm Sunday and Maundy Thursday.
Jesus enters the city of Jerusalem on a donkey in Matthew 21:1. Scroll down the page a bit and we see that Jesus doesn’t waste any time on frivolities. He heads straight to the temple and starts knocking stuff over and being a smart ass to the chief priests and elders. Then he leaves town to go sleep somewhere less crowded. End of Sunday.
Monday morning, Jesus wakes up, and like most of us is dragging trying to get to work. Just kidding he probably wasn’t, but the Bible does tell us in Matthew 21:18 that he was HANGRY. He’s so hangry that he curses a fig tree and it eventually shrivels up and dies. So Monday is off to a rough start right from the get go. Then he mouths off to the chief priests and elders again by telling stories about prostitutes and how they will all be destroyed. Matthew 21:45-46 tells us that the “chief priests and the Pharisees heard the parable, they knew Jesus was talking about them. They were trying to arrest him, but they feared the crowds, who thought he was a prophet.”
Jesus then starts speaking in parables again and making the religious leaders super mad while bringing hope to the poor common Jews. He’s just about to pack it in when the disciples begin to point out all the cool buildings that are part of the temple. That’s when Jesus drops the big one. All those buildings? They’ll amount to nothing. This holy building that was built exactly how God commanded by King David and is a central part of your faith? Yeah, none of it will be around for much longer.
Because at the end of the day, if the church is a buldong full of corrupt politics and people stuck in the past, it’s not work standing.
Jesus has been in town less than 24 hours (one chapter with 46 verses) and they already want him gone. That’s pretty impressive. When I ruffle feathers of stuffy church folks, I don’t usually feel bad because I remember this about Jesus: he came to shake up the world and people hated him for it. That always makes me feel better.
Jesus then goes into an amazing, lengthy lesson on what the kingdom of God is really like, using language that his devoted (but uneducated) disciples can understand. It begins in Matthew 24 and ends at the bottom of chapter 25. Jesus knows he’s about to die. He’s telling his disciples as much in this lesson. In these last few days Jesus is doing his best to cram as much information into the disciples minds as humanly possible so that they will be fully equipped to carry out his message after he is gone.
In Matthew 26, the reader learns that Judas agrees to betray Jesus and turn him over to chief priests and elders, information that is unknown to the rest of the members of the story. Like when you know the bad guy is in the house and you yell at the screen for the girl to not go in the house. She can’t hear you. We are let in on the literary secret.
Another interesting part of the Holy Week journey is the story of the anointing of Jesus in chapter 26.
“Now while Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very costly ointment, and she poured it on his head as he sat at the table. But when the disciples saw it, they were angry and said, ‘Why this waste? For this ointment could have been sold for a large sum, and the money given to the poor.’ But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, ‘Why do you trouble the woman? She has performed a good service for me. For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me. By pouring this ointment on my body she has prepared me for burial. Truly I tell you, wherever this good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her.’”
So a strange woman (probably a prostitute) walks into a strange house (Simon was a leper. You didn’t go near lepers. Also lepers didn’t have homes. Simon is a really interesting character.) and begins to just pour expensive oil on Jesus and he’s just like “yeah this is normal.” Not only is this a weird story, but variations of it appear in all four gospels. Rachel Held Evens writes a brilliant article about this story on her blog. Read it by clicking here.
Which brings us to Maundy Thursday. The last supper. The final meal. The last time all 13 of them would ever be together.
This is the time when Jesus officially begins the end. He establishes his new covenant and serves his brothers, not as their lord or teacher, but as their equal.
Tomorrow we’ll talk more about it and the events of Good Friday.
Goodnight everyone. Peace be with you.
Here’s a photo I quickly snapped at my life group’s house church Last Supper worship. It was incredibly beautiful and I loved every moment of it.
I took it and am sharing it without any permission. Because I can because you love me 😊