The Perfect Love of Our Savior
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.” John 15:9
No week has significantly impacted human history more than the last week of Jesus’ earthly life. Passion Week or Holy Week comprised the most notable events, starting with Palm Sunday, when Jesus entered the city of Jerusalem, to His Crucifixion on Good Friday. We reverently remember each critical event that led up to the resurrection of our Lord and Savior. Here are a few that took place the day before Jesus’ Crucifixion:
Prayer in Gethsemane – That evening, Jesus met with His disciples and shared the Passover Meal, (the Last Supper), the last meal before He was arrested. Jesus had Peter, James, and John follow Him to the garden of Gethsemane. Afflicted and heartbroken, He asked them to keep watch while He prayed. “My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me” (Matthew 26:40 -41). He implored the disciples to pray so they wouldn’t fall into temptation, however, Jesus returned three times to find them sleeping. He knew Peter would deny Him three times that night AND, that one of His Twelve friends would betray Him. In Luke 22:42, Jesus asked the Father for pardon from the suffering He knew was coming. Yet above all, He wanted God’s will to be done out of His love for us: “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from Me; yet not My will, but yours be done.” God sent an angel to strengthen Him before His arrest.
The Arrest of Jesus – As Jesus was speaking to the disciples with Him, Judas arrived with a large crowd of men bearing swords, lanterns, and weapons, including several Pharisees and high priests. Judas approached Jesus to kiss Him, a customary greeting of that time, but also the distinctly agreed-upon signal pointing Jesus out to His captors. Jesus asked, “Judas, you would betray the Son of Man with a kiss?” Then He asked the men whom they were looking for, and was told, “Jesus of Nazareth.” When Jesus responded with, “I am He”, the men drew back and fell to the ground (John 18:3-5). Peter asked if they should fight back, and instead of waiting for an answer, he cut off the ear of the high priest’s slave. Jesus admonished Peter to put away his sword, then healed the man’s ear. Jesus said, “What is this, coming after Me with swords and clubs as if I were a dangerous criminal… What you in fact have done is confirm the prophetic writings.” These things signified that Jesus laid aside His heavenly power by submitting Himself to the mob. The bloodthirsty men, unphased by the healing miracle, arrested Jesus, and the disciples fled out of fear!
Peter’s Denial – After the arrest, Peter and “another disciple” followed Jesus to His trial. Three times Peter was asked if he was Jesus’ disciple and three times, he adamantly denied it, saying, “I am not!” The very moment after the third denial, a rooster began to crow, just as Jesus said would happen (Matthew 26:34).
Conclusion – The night before Jesus’ Crucifixion was extraordinary! The passion of our Savior and His willingness to die on the cross for our sins is the story worth remembering and telling again and again. Jesus took our place and paid a debt we could never pay. He BECAME sin for us so that we could be reconciled back to the Father. “God made Him Who had no sin to be sin for us so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21). He was WILLING to suffer because of His enduring and perfect love for us.
Call to Action: Take the opportunity to read the accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John this week. They each have essential elements telling the entire story of Passion Week. Be in prayer for those in your circle that need Jesus. Invite them to church for Easter Sunday!
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).
“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me’” (John 14:6).
“Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God” (Ephesians 5:2).
Prayer: Dear Jesus, thank You for Your sacrifice for us. Thank You for taking the sins of all humanity upon Your shoulders. You didn’t have to. You were WILLING to fulfill God’s plan, shedding Your blood for our transgressions. You are our Savior, Messiah, Prince of Peace, Healer, and Friend. We love You, Lord! Help those that don’t know You—those we have been praying for, to find You and love You as we do. Give us the right words to say to be a witness for You to them. We give You all the glory! In Your name, we pray, Amen!
Final Thought: We are victorious because of Jesus’ outpoured love. He paid it all for us to have everlasting life.
Thursday, April 6th, 2023
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