(This post is part of our blog series on Holy Week in preparation for Easter 2015. Click here to find additional posts from this series.)
We’ve been recounting the events of Holy Week this week to illicit deeper worship of Jesus as we draw near to remembering His great sacrifice on Good Friday and celebrating the power and victory of His resurrection on Easter. On Tuesday, Jesus engages in debates and controversies in the temple; proclaiming not only His authority and intentions in His first coming, but ultimately His authority that transcends time in His intentions to reconcile and redeem all things. The authority and wisdom of Jesus ultimately silences His critics, and they realize they will have to employ other means to destroy Him (which we’ll see tomorrow). The passages of Jesus answering the religious leaders and and teaching the people are found in Matthew 21:23-23:30, Mark 11:27-12:44 and Luke 20:1-21:4.
After spending the day in the temple, Jesus and His disciples head out of the city to the Mount of Olives. As they are leaving, one of the disciples remarks on the grandeur of the temple, which was a magnificent building that wasn’t seen often (if ever) by some of Jesus’ disciples. In response Jesus says what is possibly the most shocking thing he’s ever said to his disciples, “Do you see these great buildings? There will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.” (Mark 13:2 ESV)
The disciples must have imagined that something cataclysmic would happen for this incredible structure that God cared so much about to be torn down. As they sat on the Mount of Olives, Jesus talks to them about not only the coming destruction of the temple, which would happen in 70 AD, but about the end of all things, when He would return in glory and judgement and power. Jesus’ proclamations of increasing persecution and tribulation leading up to the final day of judgement are found in Matthew 24-25, Mark 13:1-37 and Luke 21:5-36.
How hard it must’ve been for the disciples living on the precipice of the most important event in history! Can you imagine what your response would have been as Jesus taught in this way? My heart would have been rife with excitement, anticipation, and dread, as it sometimes is as I think of Jesus’ second coming. God’s promise of redemption for the world has been slowly blossoming from the seed of the promise in the garden to the fullness of reconciliation at the return of Christ. To be anywhere in that story is thrilling, but I’m comforted that we as the church of Jesus today have further detail as to the nature of the promise.
What are you looking forward to or hoping in today? As we look forward to things, we place hope in what those things are going to bring to us. Every horizon we set our eyes on we anticipate in hope, and then it passes and it’s behind us. If you’re a follower of Christ, your life is not built on passing hopes. It’s built on an ultimate hope in the promise of the return of Jesus to make all things new. The fact of the matter is that there is only one hope that will truly satisfy our souls and satiate our thirst. That hope is Jesus Christ.
In Mere Christianity C.S. Lewis wrote, "If we discover a desire within us that nothing in this world can satisfy, also we should begin to wonder if perhaps we were created for another world.” Worship Jesus today for the wonderful hope that He’s given you through His death and resurrection. Revel in the wonderful promises made by Christ to satisfy your deepest desires and to give your life ultimate and eternal purpose. Then do something about it. We aren’t given this great hope only to revel and delight, but to act in faith that we believe that our hope is founded in something that is actually worth hoping in. This might mean talking to your neighbors, co-workers, family or friends about this hope. It might mean actually fighting to mortify sin in your life, instead of passively accepting it. It might mean responding to something hard that God is calling you to. Spend some time in thoughtful prayer asking God to show you how He’d have you apply this great hope to your life.
Tomorrow the darkness descends as the plans to put Jesus to death on the cross are solidified.