Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Process


Without regard as to whether your name is Ben, Jill, Peter, Mary, or Jesus … Life is a process … Life is a story, a script which only God can write.

This season of the year supports two main Sundays, Palm Sunday, on which is commemorated the triumphant entry of Christ into Jerusalem, and Easter, on which day we have come to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord. In between these two important Sundays is our Wednesday mid-week service in which tonight I hope to use to fill you in on the process that was taking place in Jerusalem during that last week of Jesus’ earthly life and ministry.

The scriptures are full of opportunity for us to see Jesus interacting with people from all walks of life who had come to Jerusalem that week to observe the first of three main feasts of the year, the Feast of Passover.

During the week following Palm Sunday, Jesus lodged in Bethany in the home of His friends, Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. It seems a daily routine for Jesus to make His way down the Mount of Olives, across the Kidron Valley, completing the quarter to half mile walk arriving through either the Eastern gate or the Lion’s gate, whichever He chose.

We find Jesus teaching, preaching and healing much as He had done in the Galilee for the past 3 ½ years. All along, Jesus knows it is His last opportunity to walk like this among the people, ministering to crowds and individuals. This would be the last official Passover and He was going to be chosen to be the sacrificial lamb.

As requested, Jesus’ disciples found and prepared a place for the Passover meal. After the Passover meal, we pick up the story in Matthew 26:30

Matthew 26:30 And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

1. They sang a song and went out to the Mount of Olives

2. On the short walk, Jesus told them they would stumble and be scattered tonight because of Him. (Peter’s denial)

3. V.36 Jesus brought them to Gethsemane, (Oil Press), for to pray.

4. He split His disciples into two groups as He often did, and took then Peter, James, and John with Him farther and began to share His deep sorrow with them.

5. Jesus asked the three to watch with Him and He went a little farther, fell on His face and prayed the faithful prayer: “… let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”

First Clip: In The Garden of Gethsemane

a. V.40 Jesus finds His disciples have fallen asleep. He stirs Peter and rebukes him.

b. V.41 “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

c. Jesus returns to prayer; “… if I must drink, Your will be done.”

d. The disciples asleep again …

e. A third prayer of the same heart …

f. A third time Jesus finds His disciples sleeping.

g. The betrayal of a kiss and familiar greeting of “Rabbi”

h. Jesus is arrested

i. The disciples are aroused and willing to defend Jesus

j. V.53 “I can now pray to My Father, and He will provide me with more than 12 legions of angels.” – “… it must happen like this.”

6. V.57 Jesus is led away to Caiaphas, the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled.

7. All during the night Jesus was tried and spit on and cursed, slapped and accused by false witnesses.

8. Peter ultimately denies Jesus three times as predicted.

9. Chapter 27:1 When morning came, the conspiracy continues by sending Jesus bound to Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of Judea. Jews had not the power to sentence to death.

10. Judas attempts to repent and return the 30 pieces of silver to the chief priest and elders. He confessed his sin, left the money in the temple and went out and hanged himself. Prophecy fulfilled!

11. Jesus did not defend Himself before Pilate.

12. V. 18 Pilate knew that the chief priest and elders had handed over Jesus to his judgment because of envy.

13. Pilate washed hands of the responsibility and guilt while the people answered; “His blood be on us and on our children.”

14. Barabbas is released and Jesus is sentenced to be crucified.

15. Jesus was scourged, mocked and struck on the head before being led away to be crucified. (v. 31)

Second Clip: The Basement of Ecco Homo Convent

16. That day, at about noon, Jesus was nailed on the cross of Calvary. He became the sinless sacrifice, the Lamb of God, who took away the sins of the world. By 3pm that day, It was finished!

Matthew 27: 50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit.

Life is a process. Jesus yielded Himself to the continuing process of God and with each step offered Himself up to God’s will for His life.

From our limited earthly perspective, life can sometimes seem so unfair and the moment we are facing so big – however, we must realize that heaven has its own perspective and we cannot always see what God sees.

Nonetheless, we can always trust in two sure things:

1. God hears our prayers.

2. We can trust His answer … even when His answer is no!