How do you think Jesus felt during the events of Holy Week?
I love Holy Week. A week set apart to contemplate and reflect on what Jesus did for us, for me. A week to truly focus on Jesus and thank Him for the gift of eternal life. A week to celebrate Jesus’ victory over death. A week that changed the course of humanity forever. As I set up our Easter decorations this year, I found myself thinking about how Jesus must have felt during Holy Week. How so much transpired over just a few days. It overwhelms me as I ponder all the events of that Holy Week.
Holy Week, the week Jesus entered Jerusalem riding on a donkey with people singing Hosanna, knowing that in a few days, people would be shouting, “Crucify Him.” He knew they would. He was not surprised by their shouts. Was he brokenhearted by them? Holy Week, the week Jesus entered The Temple to find corrupt money takers. He knew they would be there. He was not surprised by their misuse of The Temple. I wonder, was He brokenhearted over it? Holy Week, the week the religious leaders conspired to have Jesus arrested. Jesus knew they would. He was not surprised by their actions. Was he brokenhearted by them? Holy Week, the week Judas would betray Jesus for coins. Jesus knew he would. He was not surprised by Judas’ betrayal. I wonder, was He brokenhearted by it?
Holy Week, the week Peter, one of the twelve, who deeply loved Jesus, denied he knew Jesus three times before the rooster crowed. Jesus knew Peter would, even told Peter what he would do. Jesus was not surprised by Peter’s denial, but Peter sure was. I wonder, did it break Jesus’ heart? It sure did break Peter’s. Holy week, Jesus would be found guilty when he was innocent, blameless, and without sin. He knew he would be. He was not surprised by Pilate’s verdict. I wonder, was he brokenhearted by Pilate? Holy Week, the week Jesus was beaten and tortured in a way we cannot even fathom, crucified on a cross, and mocked by the crowds. Jesus knew this was His purpose. He was not surprised by it. He willingly chose it.
As I think about all the events Jesus went through, I keep wondering how he felt, if He was sad or brokenhearted. People who adored Jesus, followed Him, and claimed to love Him quickly turned on Him. The crowds. Judas. Peter. How could they do this? They were in the presence of Jesus. They could see Him. Hear Him. They walked with Him. Ate meals with Him. How could they turn on Him? And then I remember. I am just like Peter.
We buried Baby Jack on November 30th with our family and close friends. Fast forward to August when I found myself sitting in my car in the hospital's parking lot, wondering if I was going to bury another child. I was about to head home to get clothes while my 3-year-old little girl was being tested for leukemia. At this very moment, sitting in my car alone weeping before The Lord, I said, “God, if Merrilea has leukemia, I don’t know that I can believe in you anymore. I just can’t bury another child. You can’t have her; you already have Jackson.” After experiencing God’s faithfulness and love time and time again, I, too, was ready to turn my back on Him. It doesn’t make a bit of sense, does it? To this day, I am embarrassed to admit what I said to God, but regardless of whether or not I told Him my raw feelings, He knew. He was not surprised by my harsh words, my threat of unbelief. I wonder if He was heartbroken, though. I am no different than the crowds, Judas, or Peter. And what blows my mind is even though Jesus knew the crowd would turn on Him, Judas would betray Him, Peter would deny Him, and I would consider walking away from Him; He still chose us by choosing the cross. Jesus chose love.
None of us deserve Jesus’ gift. He did for us what we couldn’t do for ourselves. He died on that cross for our sins, defeated death, and rose to victory so that we may have eternal life. He did this knowing that not all of us would choose Him. Knowing all this brings me back to where my thoughts are this Holy Week; how did Jesus feel during this week? Was Jesus brokenhearted when the shouts of "Hosanna" turned to cries of "Crucify Him"? When coins were more important? Or, when "I won't deny you" became "I do not know Him"? I know I am brokenhearted by it. Honestly, I cannot begin to truly know how Jesus felt. The only thing I absolutely know for sure is Jesus loved us so much that He chose the cross, and I am so glad He did.
So, this Holy Week, would you join me in contemplating and reflecting on what Jesus did for us? Would you join me in giving Him thanks for choosing us and paying the price for our sins, which we could not do ourselves? Would you join me in celebrating His victory over death? And if you haven’t asked Jesus to be your personal Lord and Savior, would you choose Him? I can’t think of a better time than now to make this decision. And I confidently tell you that if you choose Him, He won’t be brokenhearted.
And in case you are wondering, I didn’t turn my back on God. My faith grows deeper every day of each year. Yes, Jack died, but I wouldn’t have survived his death without Jesus. He is my Comforter. No, Merrilea didn’t have leukemia, but she does have a chronic auto-immune disease that robbed her of a normal childhood, but we wouldn’t have made it through it without Jesus. He is my Peace. Yes, Jeff lost his job after 9/11, and our finances were non-existence for a bit, but we wouldn’t have made it without Jesus. He is my Provider. Yes, in 2019, I had to walk away from my successful career resulting in the loss of half our income, but there was Jesus, making way for us when we couldn’t see it. He is my Supplier of All Needs. And yes, I almost left this earth while in ICU due to adult on-set Stills Disease, which I now live with every day, but I wouldn’t get through it without Jesus. He is my Hope. And when my heart is broken to what feels like unrepair, He is there to piece it back together. He is my Healer. “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”
Brokenhearted, there’s that word again.
Scripture for Easter:
For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.