The Week Before The Cross
by Bev Brown, Set Me Free Ministries Prayer Team Coordinator
They say you learn something new every day if you are listening. Well, what do you know? I did! Sunday was Palm Sunday. The day that Jesus entered Jerusalem surrounded by throngs of men, women and children waving palm branches and shouting, “Hosanna!”
They had come to celebrate the Passover as had been their custom since the days of Moses. Passover commemorates the Israelites deliverance from slavery to freedom through the mighty hand of God. That part I knew. What I didn't know was that each of the four Gospels takes up between 20 to 40 percent of it's content describing the week before the Crucifixion. Must be pretty important stuff.
In church on Sunday, the pastor actually read for us all of Matthew 26 because, as he stated, unless we understand the week before Easter, we will never really understand Easter. I had never really thought about that before and I'm going to take the time this week to read all four Gospel accounts of that week.
In many versions of the Bible, Palm Sunday is referred to as “The Triumphal Entry.” But isn't it strange, that in Luke 19:41 we read, “Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it.” If this was a moment of triumph, why was Jesus weeping? Jesus knew that soon people would be shouting, “crucify Him!” He wept because he knew they didn't understand who He was and why He had come. He wept because He had been in their midst and they didn't see Him. In fact, He says, “If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.” (Luke 19:42)
It was a hard week for Jesus. He was betrayed and deserted by those whom He loved and who had loved Him. He was physically, mentally and spiritually tormented. The night before He was crucified, His sweat was like drops of blood He was so distraught. He even cried out to His Father to take the cup from Him if at all possible.
Jesus knew what He would face on that cross. He knew that He would, for the first time, feel totally abandoned by His Father. I have felt that way. There have been times in my life that I just could not understand what God was doing. Why He wasn't answering my prayers the way I thought He should. I've spent hours crying out, “But God – if you would only…!”
But I have learned that God is good all of the time. He always has my best interest in mind whatever I am going through. Sometimes His hand has caused me uncomfortable circumstances. And then there are times when my own foolish decisions have caused me to suffer. But He is always there to comfort me and walk me through every circumstance no matter how hard.
The cross was a symbol of death. In fact, Golgotha, the place the crucifixion took place, means The Place of the Skull. But Jesus knew that there was a resurrection on the other side of that cross. God transforms the cross from a symbol of death to a symbol of life. That is the Good News of the Gospel.
Are you going through difficult circumstances and feel that no one understands, not even God? Are you experiencing your own “week before Easter?” Well, know that Jesus, too, experienced that same pain and suffering. He does understand and He does care. He is walking through it with you. And for you, too, there is an Easter coming!