Not long after Jesus fed 5000 men and their families on a hillside overlooking the Sea of Galilee, the narrator Luke writes a brief, but powerful statement.
“When the days were approaching for His ascension, Jesus steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem.” (Luke 9:51)
Jesus’ ministry in the region of Galilee is quickly drawing to a close, as is His time on earth. He must now return to Jerusalem one final time. He knows the pain, suffering and bloodshed that await Him there, yet He “steadfastly set His face” … the terminology speaks of determination, resolve and purpose.
Jesus was determined, resolute, purposeful and intentional about His approach to what we now call “Passion Week.” Daily following His footsteps in our life of discipleship also requires determined, resolute and purposeful intentionality … particularly during Passion Week … while learning from His words and His actions.
Here are several resources to aid this daily process for this next week. Many of the titles listed below will link directly to the resources.
1 – All four Gospel writers include lengthy accounts of this final week in the human life of Jesus:
- Matthew writes nearly 8 chapters
- Mark includes 5.5 chapters
- Luke records the equivalent of 5 chapters
- John devotes 8.5 chapters. Amazingly, John’s Gospel covers only 22 days of Jesus’ 3.5 years of public ministry. Six of his 21 chapters are devoted to just one week. One-third of the verses (237 of 878) are sharply focused on the final 24-hours of Jesus’ life.
- Click on this link for a handout … Passion Week … to immerse yourself in one of these Gospel accounts, seeking to answer the two questions: What did Jesus SAY? What did Jesus DO?
2 – It’s not too late to benefit from Biola University’s The Lent Project, which includes devotions for Passion Week, plus nine days after Resurrection Sunday, focusing on the marvelous accounts of Christ’s post-Resurrection appearances.
3 – Trinity Church, in Greenwich, Connecticut, has produced three outstanding 4-minute videos about aspects of Passion Week.
5 – Logos Bible Software has produced a fascinating interactive video titled “What Was Jesus’ Tomb Really Like?” *NOTE: This is an ad designed to sell a software package, but there’s enough good info on the page to warrant taking a quick look.
6 – Finally, Passion Week is not without some controversy. For example, if Jesus was crucified on “Good Friday,” how could He be in the grave “three days and three nights” (Matthew 12:40) and still be resurrected on Easter Sunday? Bible scholars have debated this question for centuries, falling into three basic camps:
- Jesus was crucified on Friday. *Click on any day for a link to a basic explanation of that viewpoint.
- Jesus was crucified on Thursday. *Conduct an online search for additional links.
- Jesus was crucified on Wednesday. *Click on The-Passover-Feast for an interesting chart supporting this theory.
In summary, whichever day of the week Jesus was crucified is not as important as the fact that He did die on our behalf … and that He physically, bodily rose from the grave on Resurrection Sunday!
Jesus was determined, resolute, purposeful and intentional, when He secured our salvation … but He also knew the glory that awaited Him once His mission was completed.
- “Who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:6–11)
So then, what is our response as followers of Jesus?
- “… let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2)
Hallelujah, what a Savior!
Peace & Joy!
P.S. What “best practices” will you employ this Passion Week to better equip you to follow Jesus? Write about them in the Comments section.