Tuesday, March 31, 2015

When the End Is in Sight

As I go through Holy Week I like to stop from time to time and think what Jesus was doing at this particular time during His final week on earth. I do this because the story of my life is directly connected to the story of Jesus' life -- as is your story and that of all people everywhere.

So, what was He doing on Tuesday night of Holy Week? Tuesday was a very public day for Jesus. In fact, no other day of Jesus' life is covered more than Tuesday of Holy Week in Matthew, Mark and Luke. On that day Jesus taught in the temple courts and faced great pressure from the Jewish religious authorities. When that day finally drew to a close in the late afternoon, Jesus' public ministry was complete. John writes, "When Jesus had said these things, He departed and hid Himself from them" (John 12:36b).

The Gospels fall silent about Jesus' words or actions Tuesday night, through all of Wednesday. Their silence is unbroken until early on Thursday, when Jesus sends two disciples to prepare the Upper Room for His Last Supper.

So what did Jesus do today? Did He spend time alone, contemplating the drama that was about to unfold? Did He spend those final hours with His disciples and close friends, knowing just how short the time was left for Him to be with them?

I've got my own guess, but that's all it is. I'm guessing Jesus spent His last hours with His loved ones, but I could be wrong. After all, Jesus often spent entire nights in solitude, praying with His Father. I wouldn't be surprised if He needed more than those grueling hours in the Garden of Gethsemane to commune.

But either way, it's clear Jesus didn't just think about His coming death, He also thought beyond, to His rest in Paradise and His glorious resurrection on the third day. After all, on the cross He spoke to the repentant criminal at His side: "And He said to Him, 'Truly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise'" (Luke 23:43). Jesus wasn't just offering a comforting promise to the thief; He was reminding Himself that before that day was out He would be in His Father's presence in Paradise.

All of this makes me think of my own life -- and the fleeting time God has provided me. It raises the question, what would I do if I knew I only had two more days on this earth before God called me home in death? What things would I want to be sure to do before that final hour? What would you want to do? And since none of us knows when that final day will be, why should we wait to be right with God through confession and faith? Why would we want to wait to assure our loved ones of our forgiveness and love?

"Time waits for no man," as the saying goes. What do you hope to get done before the final buzzer on your life sounds?

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