When I shared the 2012 dates for the Look at Jesus course earlier this year, someone asked if I intended the first offering of the course to start with Holy Week. Truthfully, no. It hadn’t crossed into my awareness at all that the first week of the course would coincide with the week leading up to Easter.
I consider it a serendipitous oversight now.
And that’s because this weekend, as I’ve been reading the Gospel of Matthew in preparation for the start of the course this week, I have found it very special to be reading the details of the last week of Jesus’ life at the same exact time the worldwide church is observing that same event.
It was rather surreal, for example, to be reading along in the pages of Scripture earlier today and to suddenly find myself in Matthew 21, which depicts the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem — otherwise known as Palm Sunday.
Which is today.
I’ve decided, in observance of Holy Week, to post consecutively here from today through Easter, using the posts this week to share things that have struck me about the passion week of Jesus as I’ve read through the pages of Matthew, in particular, this weekend.
Like, for instance, that it wasn’t until Peter declared Jesus to be the Christ — the anointed one all Israel had been waiting to arrive — that Jesus set his face toward Jerusalem and his impending death.
Matthew records these words just after Peter confesses the truth of Jesus’ identity:
“From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.”
— Matthew 16:21
In this, we see that Jesus knew his fate. He knew what awaited him in Jerusalem. He knew what had to happen. He knew what lay ahead.
But his disciples didn’t. Not until they’d professed him as the Christ, that is. Only then were they ready to learn what lay ahead. Even if they still didn’t fully understand it. Even if they weren’t really ready for it. Even if they would leave him once the persecution began.