While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people. Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: ‘The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.’ Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, ‘Greetings, Rabbi!’ and kissed him.
Jesus replied, ‘Friend, do what you came for.’
Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him. With that, one of Jesus’ companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.
‘Put your sword back in its place,’ Jesus said to him, ‘for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?’
We count down to tragedy… and triumph. We remember the events that led to our Saviour’s cruel death on a rough-hewn cross, disfigured and despised.
Sunday’s coming, and we’ll celebrate His glorious resurrection, perhaps the pinnacle moment in God’s mind-boggling plan.
But first comes Thursday: the Last Supper, Gethsemane’s agony, the betrayal. Friday: the mockery, the abuse, the physical torture of crucifixion. Saturday: the quiet before the storm nobody knew was coming.
It’s tempting to skip all the hard stuff, move right into the celebration. But look what Jesus did for us.
I’ll never be able to wrap my head around it, but He gave Himself intentionally, the perfect Lamb of God foreshadowed in the Old Testament sacrifices, despite the unimaginable agony of body and spirit. Because He loves us.
Hallelujah, what a Saviour.
Have a blessed Holy Week. Our song is an extended version of the Newsboys‘ “I Am Free.” Listen to the Scriptures about ¾ of the way through. This is the Gospel. He came to set us free.
*New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.