Sermon Summary, from Last Week, Footsteps of Jesus: “The Final Week”
Jesus’ focus on the Final Week began months before in Caesarea Philippi (North of Galilee) when Jesus asked, “Who do you say that I am”; and after Peter’s confession “That you are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God,” Jesus told them that he must go to Jerusalem, undergo great suffering, rejected by the elders, scribes and priests, be killed, and then raised on the third day.
My cousin recently texted, “Did Jesus know he was the Son of God when he was a child?” Good question. My terse, text answer was “Some would think so, but I think otherwise. think Jesus was required to have a human experience of choosing to follow God. When he chose correctly, God claimed him at his baptism, and verified that Jesus had chose correctly at his Transfiguration. Rather than being on automatic pilot his entire life, Jesus chose to lay down his life for me. I find that that be far more sacrificial. He chose to die for me. And you too.”
Jesus chose to die for you. He chose to go to Jerusalem. He chose to enter Jerusalem, declaring himself king (you king shall come to you on a donkey, humble on the colt of a donkey), making himself vulnerable, confronting the authorities, submitting to the will of God in prayer (Gethsemane: “Not my will, but thy will be done.”), choosing not to call on his Father for 12 legions of angels. In all of this, during his “Final Week,” Jesus had choices. And in every case he chose you! Jesus, chose to die for you!
Jesus had said, “No greater love is this, that one would lay down their life for a friend.” That Jesus chose to do. After allowing himself to be arrested, he was taken to the house of the High Priest (where Peter denied him three times), was condemned and at dawn on Friday, taken to the Antonio Fortress where Pilot resided to be ridiculed, convicted, handed over to be flogged and taken outside the city to Golgotha to be crucified.
The Final Week began in great celebration as Jesus entered the city on Palm Sunday. It didn’t end that way. It is a time of waiting. As we wait, let us try to comprehend the incredible love that Jesus chose to shower on us from the cross. Let us accept that love, let us receive that love, let us reciprocate that love as we read, pray and recall each day, each station of this “Final Week.”