Today as I write it is the Wednesday before Easter weekend. The sun is shining…. It’s mid-week and people are on with all kinds of things: work, study, sport, shopping, holidaying…… the list in a way could be endless.
Back somewhere between 27 and 33 AD in a provincial city of the Roman Empire, people were also on with all kinds of activities including probably work or shopping. Many were holidaying, for the city was Jerusalem and it was Passover time.
The city’s population would have been swelling by possibly 5 to 6 times its normal numbers.
From the Gospel accounts that we have had handed down to us, we can read that on that Wednesday before Easter, Jesus was teaching in the Temple courts (see for example, Luke 21:37-38). Some would have been listening but of course many were elsewhere in the city going about their business.
Yet others we are told were plotting his downfall – various religious leaders who saw him as a trouble maker and in fact worse than this, a heretic for claiming to be Messianic and even equality with God. He would have to go!
Further on in the day that Wednesday, one of Jesus’ followers would go to those leaders and agree for thirty pieces of silver to arrange for Jesus to be arrested (check out Matthew 26:3-5 and 14-16 for instance).
In the midst of all this intrigue and plotting, Jesus continued to teach in the Temple. Here he was, God in the flesh at the place of worship that was dedicated to God!!! Meanwhile behind the scenes, those who were supposed to be open to God and called to give spiritual leadership to the people, were aiming to have Jesus killed!
In reading these passages, it challenges me to ask myself, am I open to what Christ wants to teach me? Or am I always too busy with other things in life to take time to listen?
Also, is there anything that I am doing in my life to effectively kill off Christ’s call to follow him?
Perhaps these are good questions for us all to ask ourselves.
The good news is that Christ came to set people free – people like you and me (and also those who plotted against him back then). The cross was a terrible, awful way to die. Yet beyond the physical agony was the fact he took on himself all the wrongs of humanity – something we cannot even begin to get our heads around.
Why did He do it? “For God so loved the world that he gave his only son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved”. (John 3:16-17)
Who can this be true for, if we will respond? People like you and me – and our family members, neighbours, friends, colleagues, fellow students….
Christ paid a massive price that we might be made right with God. He also did it in such a way that we might freely receive God’s grace and transformation.
Will we listen to His call on our lives?