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Sunday, April 1, 2018

3 Lessons from Holy Week


I have really enjoyed Holy Week here at my church, and hope you have been doing the same.  Wednesday, as we shared together for a morning breakfast, I was leading with a little devotional thought, and as it was something kind of fresh for me, I thought I’d like to pass it along to you.  The concept isn’t anything new or different, but a scripture passage just led to fresh perspective. 

The passage is in Luke 22 as part of the description of the Last Supper and the events surrounding it.  In the devotion time, we were discussing the fact that some people call Wednesday of Holy Week, “Silent Wednesday,” because there is nothing specific recorded about the actions of Jesus on that day apart from his usual teaching in the Temple.  I commented that none of the disciples knew what their next few days would be like…the terror, the anguish, the grief, the despair, nor the ultimate joy and wonder that would come on Easter; it was all totally unknown and unsuspected.   

That’s the way you and I live, too, isn’t it?  How many things in your life have come that were not at all what you would have guessed might come to pass (such as a divorce, perhaps)?  

Life unfolds one day, one hour, one minute, one experience at a time.

I also thought that, even though all the disciples fled, and none of them understood what was happening during the crucifixion, Jesus didn’t spend his last hours thinking he should have explained things better, spent a little more time, or talked to the disciples just a little more so that they would be better prepared.  Somehow, Jesus was able to say, “It is finished,” without regret or any sense that he left something out…even though the disciples were so confused and confounded!

In the midst of all the events of Thursday evening, Luke records a statement Jesus made to Simon Peter that only Luke records in 22:31-32,

“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”

Jesus is warning Peter of the trials that are about to befall him, and in his statement, demonstrates confidence that Simon Peter and the disciples will be just fine.  Notice he doesn’t say, “IF you turn again,” but “WHEN you have turned again!”  Jesus was fully confident that Peter would come through just fine, and when he did, he would be able to help the other disciples.  WHY did Jesus think that?  Because, he said, “I have prayed for you.”  That was enough.  Jesus understood how prayer worked.  Jesus believed praying for Simon was what was needed, and that it was sufficient to get him through every trial that would be coming in the coming days.

So what is my point?  Several things.  

First, we may not know what is coming ahead in our lives, but the Lord does, and just as he did for the disciples back then, so he will also make sure that his disciples now have everything we need to make it through whatever is ahead.  

Secondly, we can learn a lot about prayer and trust.  Jesus considered the matter settled, because he had prayed, and he knew that God answers prayer.  

Thirdly, whatever life shifts you face as his disciple, remember that just as Jesus prayed for Peter, so he has also prayed and is praying for you.  (Refer to John 17:20 and Hebrews 7:25.)  You don’t have to face the hard things all on your own.

May your celebration of Easter remind you that, no matter what life brings, if you look to the Lord as your guide and your source, you can rest assured that God will get you through.  That is one of the little side promises of Easter!  I hope you have had a blessed time through your celebration of Holy Week and Easter.

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