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Jesus in His Passion Week

Reading:

28 When He had said this, He went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29 And it came to pass, when He drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mountain called Olivet, that He sent two of His disciples, 30 saying, “Go into the village opposite you, where as you enter you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Loose it and bring it here…41 Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, 42 saying, “If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. 43 For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, 44 and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation.” 45 Then He went into the temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold in it, 46 saying to them, “It is written, ‘My house is a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’ ”47 And He was teaching daily in the temple. But the chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people sought to destroy Him, 48 and were unable to do anything; for all the people were very attentive to hear Him’ (Luke 19: 28 – 30, 41 – 48).

Today’s topic is about Jesus in His Passion week.

We need to learn how to benefit from this week and how to have fellowship in Christ’s suffering.

Every year there is a specific message from the Holy Spirit for each of the seasons of salvation. Today, we want to know God’s message for us in relation to the Passion Week.

I. Overview of the events of the Passion Week:

The Passion Week starts on Palm Sunday and it ends on Good Friday.

Throughout the whole week, Jesus moved between two places; namely, the temple where He taught and Bethany where He rested.

On Sunday, Jesus entered Jerusalem in a royal procession.

Then, as He drew near the city, He wept over it and said the following words:

‘If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation’ (Luke 19: 42 – 44).

He then went into the temple and looked around at every part of it and He saw what has happened to the temple and how it has turned into a den of thieves.

He saw how Jerusalem, about which the prophets and Psalmist sang, has now become different. It became the city that kills the prophets: ‘O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her’ (Matthew 23: 37).

Jerusalem became repulsive instead of being the praised city. Therefore, Jesus wept over it because He knew what Jerusalem should have been according to the divine purposes!

One day, during the time of David and Solomon, this Jerusalem was the city which the Psalm describes as: ‘the perfection of beauty’ (Psalm 50: 2). Yet, it has now become ruined, desolate, and it kills and stones those who are sent to it; and so, Jesus wept over it.

When He went into the temple, He found that even the temple (the heart of Jerusalem) has become a den of thieves. This increased His agony.

After that, He went to Bethany to spend the night there.

On Monday, He went out; and as He was walking, He cursed the fig tree.

He then went into the temple; cleansed it from the thieves; and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple.

Then, He returned to Bethany.

Tuesday was the day of the parables. It was a day of teaching from its beginning to its end.

It began by seeing the withering tree on the way. This was an opportunity to speak to His disciples about ‘faith’.

Then Jesus said the parable of the vineyard and the vinedressers and the parable of the wedding feast.

Wednesday was the day when He remained in Bethany to get ready for the cross, like the lamb of the sacrifice that was kept before it was offered (Exodus 12: 6).

Jesus also kept Himself in Bethany on that day so that He would offer Himself as a sacrifice before the Father –because the next day He was going to offer Himself to the disciples in the Last Supper and the day after He was going to offer Himself on the cross.

Thus, He did not do anything outside; He remained in Bethany.

During that day, all the conspiracies against Him were happening outside. Judah was trying to find an opportunity and was planning how to hand Jesus over.

On Thursday, Jesus celebrated the Jewish Passover with His disciples; washed the feet of the disciples; and then, He went to the Upper Room where He instituted the Lord’s Supper.

He remained with the disciples and spoke to them about the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit.

He came down from the Upper Room around midnight and walked with the disciples towards the temple. At that time, Herod had made a monument in the form of a vine in front of the temple. The vine is a symbol of the Jewish nation. He did so in order to please the Jews. Jesus went up to the vine and told His disciples: ‘I am the vine; you are the branches’ (John 15: 5).

After that –according to the tradition –Jesus entered the temple at midnight and prayed the prayer that every Jewish person would pray on that day (The Passover Eve), the prayer in John 17 –Jesus’ final intercessory prayer.

He then went out with His disciples over the Brook Kidron, where there was the garden of Gethsemane. He prayed and interceded until 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning during which His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. The disciples kept falling asleep; and every now and again, Jesus woke them up. He prayed: ‘Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done’ (Luke 22: 42).

It was then almost the early morning and Judah came to arrest Him.

Jesus went to the first trial, the religious trial, in the house of the high priest, Caiaphas. This was around 4:00 or 5:00 in the morning. Then by 8:00, He was in the civil trial before Herod and Pilate until He was led to the cross.

He was crucified at midday, at 12: 00 noon.

Then at 15:00, He committed His Spirit in the Hands of the Father.

At sunset, they took Him down the cross and buried Him at the twelfth hour.

This is a quick summary of the events of the week from Sunday to Friday.

We can sum up the Passion Week in the following brief highlights:

  • Entering Jerusalem as a king.
  • Looking at Jerusalem and its temple; and cleansing the temple.
  • Parables: faith and the wedding feast.
  • Sacrifice
  • Washing the feet
  • Instituting the New Covenant
  • The day of the Cross

These are the main events and the main highlights.

We now want to draw from these events a spiritual theme that would help us benefit spiritually from this Holy Week.

II. Spiritual lessons that we can learn from the events of the Passion week:

The week starts by ‘entering Jerusalem’ and it ends by ‘going out of Jerusalem’.

Jesus entered as a King and came out as the Crucified One.

[The Passion week is considered the holy of holies of the whole year. These days are the crown of the Great Lent, the final blessing that crowns the season of the Lent.]

Jesus entered as a King in the midst of praises that glorify Him.

He came out as the Crucified One bearing the shame.

He entered into Jerusalem and He came out of Jerusalem.

He entered as a King and came out on the wood of the Cross.

Therefore, the true reign of Christ is on the Cross. The Psalm says: ‘The Lord reigns on a wood’ (according to the Septuagint translation).

This is the essence of these days.

He entered as a king and everyone shouted out with praise. Then, after a short time, this very same people were asking that He would be crucified.

When He entered as a king, His eyes were not fixed on the people shouting out but on the purpose for which He went.

If anyone of us was in the place of Jesus and entered the city and heard all the loud cheering and rejoicing, he would surely never come out of Jerusalem! Would anyone of us be able to enter a city with such a royal procession; and then, leave it and come out?!

What was the main purpose that Jesus had when He entered Jerusalem?

It was the Cross.

What made Jesus want to fulfil this purpose?

It is because this is the will of the Father. Jesus is the Son of the Father; and He wanted to please the Father: ‘for I always do those things that please Him’ (John 8: 29).

If the Cross was a purpose in itself, it could have been difficult. Yet, what made the Cross become easy for Christ is that He was doing it for the sake of the Father and He did it with pleasure: ‘if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done’ (Luke 22: 42). Also, in the epistle to the Hebrews, apostle Paul speaks about this matter saying: ‘who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross’ (Hebrews 12: 2).

The Cross is reproach and shame. The most difficult thing about the shame of the cross is to accept this shame at a moment of glory, where one pulls himself out of the glory.

If someone is already going through suffering and shame and is just moving from one kind of suffering to the other, it would have been easier. However, to go from glory to shame voluntarily is impossible for the human nature.

Do you think that when Jesus entered Jerusalem, He entered so that the people would do this procession for Him?

In the prophecies, we read:

‘Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, lowly and riding on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey’ (Zechariah 9: 9).

The prophet Zechariah describes how the King is coming to Jerusalem humbly, riding on a colt.

Yet, do you think that what actually happened was exactly as described in the prophecy?

No, there was a little bit of difference:

The prophets described a royal procession which is meek, humble, holy, full of holy rejoicing; one which the angels observe and watch; a royal heavenly procession related to the Son of God.

However, when it happened, the people turned it into noisy loud shouts and cheers.

We should also understand that the people did all this cheering to tempt Jesus.

After the devil tempted Jesus in the wilderness, we read: ‘Now when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time’ (Luke 4: 13). [The Son of God was tempted for our sake.] The devil departed from Him for some time in order to come back to Him at the cross.

This was the week of the cross. So, when the devil first returned to Him, he brought Him a cheering crowd and a procession to try to deviate Him from the purpose. The devil wanted to tempt Jesus by the crowds whom He wants to save and who were crying out ‘Hosanna’ which means ‘save us’. Isn’t He the Saviour sent by the Father? Here are all the people shouting ‘Save us’.

Jesus saw that Jerusalem was ruined and desolate and lacking what was at the time of David. Jesus is the David that Jerusalem needed. This was His role and place; and Jerusalem itself was welcoming Him and asking Him to be the King. But this was not how things should be; this was not the way to fulfil the true purpose because if He had reigned, He would have saved and rescued this people and nation at that time; yet, the other generations that were to come and the whole world would go back to how things were before.

This was part of the temptation which is similar to the one earlier where the devil came to Jesus and told Him that he will give Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.

Here, the devil was coming to Him again to tempt Him, showing Him that all the people want Him and are seeking Him; and so, He now has the chance to reign.[1]

However, Jesus had the purpose set before Him; and so, He was not taken in by all these cheering and loud cries. He knew that His reign is on the wood (the cross) to please the heavenly Father!

This is what we need to learn from the Cross: Knowing the purposes that we should fulfil and never deviating from them.

One of the problems in our life, as young people, is that we can quickly lose the purposes because the voice of the world easily captivates our hearts.

One may have a purpose set before him and that is: to sincerely walk with the Lord. He starts; yet, he may soon be faced with something similar to the cheering crowds, on a smaller level of course; but it captivates the person’s heart. The person then starts to reason within himself that these two things do not contradict one another, and he can have them both. Yet, after some time, he finds that he has lost Christ and he is only left with the cheering crowds! Then, after some more time, he even loses the cheering crowds. He eventually loses both. He became without Christ; and at the same time, the world has nothing genuine to offer.

This is the temptation of Jerusalem. This is the first lesson of the Passion week:

Whoever sets before his eyes a purpose for the pleasure of the Father, the devil always tries to push him away from it through the temptation of the world: people, crowds, cheering, honour, momentary alluring purposes, deceit, confusion, etc.

However, the heart that does not deviate from the purpose has to be linked and connected to two things: the pleasure of the Father and the wood/the cross.

This is the purpose of the Passion Week:

In the Passion Week, Jesus is looking at our hearts, desiring to reign. His pleasure is in the hearts. As we draw closer to the Passion week, Christ looks at us and draws near to us in steps, desiring to enter into our inner Jerusalem in a different way from before. He may be already in our life. But He desires to be the King of our inner Jerusalem. He draws near us saying: ‘would you let me reign over your hearts?’

He looks at our inner Jerusalem in the same way He looked at Jerusalem in the old days. He can see that it is like a ruined and desolate city. In agony, He looks and says:

‘Is this My Jerusalem? Is that the life of the person whom I have saved and redeemed? Is this the son/daughter of baptism who has been washed from his sins by the precious price of My blood and was born again and became a new creation? What has happened to you? When you came out of baptism, you were different. The angels sung for you (like what happened in the old days with Jerusalem –when it was established, the angels and the Psalmists sung for it). Why has Jerusalem become desolate?’

The person would reply: ‘You know, Lord; the world and the circumstances.’

The Lord would say: ‘Let me reign over your inner Jerusalem and I will re-build it. Would you give me a chance? What are you waiting for?’

One may say: ‘But I cannot repent. I do not know how’.

How do we say that?! Don’t we know who is asking this request?!

The one who is asking this request is the Prince of life, the Perfect Light, the One who can really guide us. He opens the closed doors. He leads the steps. He forgives, sanctifies, and transforms. He is truly able to do deep transformation for any person who wants. He is the One who understands the inner depth of the human soul.

You may be trying to understand yourself and maybe trying to ask for help from ministers and servants of God. They maybe trying to help you and they will give you all they can offer. What they offer is important and necessary. Yet, He is the One who can enter into our inner depth, satisfying and filling us.

The ministers of God and the spiritual fathers can help us. But all what they can do is provide signposts and landmarks for the way and open for us the wells of mysteries. Yet, the human soul will continue to need something much deeper that would fill and satisfy her, give her comfort, and she can follow in its light.

There is no one but Him: The Lord of Jerusalem!

He is the One who said:

‘Come to Me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest’ (Matthew 11: 28).

He is the One who is still calling out saying:

‘O Jerusalem, Jerusalem…How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing’ (Luke 13: 34).

Will you want; or, are you not willing?

The human soul was created to be a Jerusalem. This will never change. This is her week!

When the fathers of the Church made the arrangements and services of the seasons of the Church, they were not setting rituals or mere practices that we do and repeat each year. This was never the purpose, and this was not how the early fathers themselves lived. They were worshipers; they understood the inner depth of the human soul and what it needs; and they expressed this through the services of the Holy Week.

If one follows the services and liturgical prayers of this week in a sincere manner, this human soul who hungers and desires, will find in this week the fulfilment of her deepest need.

In the prayers and services of this week, there is the Lord of Life, the Lord of Jerusalem. Out of His great love and tenderness, He, as if, pleads with us and calls on us not to enter into the prayers and spiritual practices of the Passion Week without allowing Him to enter into His Jerusalem (the inner Jerusalem of the soul).

As if He is saying:

‘Do not do like the people in the old days; do not send Me out of My Jerusalem. I came out of the old Jerusalem bearing the shame and reproach of humanity in order to enter the Jerusalem of every human soul; so that her shame would be lifted up.’

What is the problem that troubles or ails us the most?

The repeated and recurrent sins; they bring shame to the human soul. The meaninglessness that we often experience in our days and the closed doors. This brings shame and pain to the human soul. When we become estranged from God, nothing remains in our life apart from shame, reproach, suffering, confusion, deep need and poverty, weariness, dryness, and perplexity.

The solution is in the Lord of Jerusalem!

The days of the Passion Week were set and arranged by the Church so that a true and genuine spiritual work would take place during them.

As we go through this week, day after day, following the prayers and services with all our hearts and seeking the Lord, the Lord of Jerusalem finds for Himself a place in the inner Jerusalem of the souls who desire to call upon Him saying: ‘O’ Lord who were rejected in the old days; Come now and reign in my heart’.

For some people, He may be totally forgotten, as though He is a stranger who is totally outside their life. For others, He may be present; but is sleeping at the bottom of the ship, hidden in some corner of their life. For both of these categories, He would start to take His true place as King over the whole life.

As a result, the shame of the human soul would be lifted; her wounds would be healed; her needs would be filled; she would be filled with peace; the light would shine over her steps; and she would be restored to her first rank as the creation of His hands. Jesus Himself had to come to restore man to his first rank.

Jerusalem is heaven; and at the same time, it is the Church and every person.

What a great loss it would be if the Passion Week passes by and ends while Jesus remains imprisoned in His outer Jerusalem.

He continues to look at each heart, as if trying to draw the attention of every heart saying:

‘My child, have you not realised yet that you need me? I am waiting for you. But I respect and honour your free will. Won’t you seek Me? Won’t you let me reign over your heart?

If  we continue to go to church day after day throughout the Passion Week where we attend the services and join in the prayers and singing in an outer empty way without allowing Jesus to reign in our hearts (and we repeat the same thing day after day until the Passion week ends), the resurrection celebration will come while no one discerns that the Christ of Jerusalem is looking with great agony, as though saying:

‘Have you sought to celebrate without Me? Do you think you can have a true celebration without Me? I have waited for you throughout all the days of the Passion week (the week of pass over) to pass over to you, help you, and make you pass over. Why are you burying me in the labyrinth of the soul?’

The soul is full of concerns, worries, preoccupations, emotions, imaginations, fantasies, distractions, disintegrations; and in this mixture, Jesus is somewhere in the midst of all that! We sometimes like to talk about Him or hear about Him.

Jesus is the King of Jerusalem; and He should take His place as the King!


III. Some practical points to know how to allow Christ to reign and take His true place in our inner Jerusalem:

1.The Lord reigns on a wood

The Lord cannot take His place as the King over our inner Jerusalem without the wood. The wood is the Cross.

The Cross means that we put a separation between the spirit of the world and the spirit of Christ. We cannot live according to the spirit of the world and the spirit of Christ at the same time because the bible clearly says:

‘For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols?’ (2 Corinthians 6: 14 – 16).

We cannot live both of them together.

Some may say: ‘we go to church and pray and read the bible; but this does not mean that we cannot live our normal life; surely Jesus does not want to deprive people!’

Do you know what this normal life means?

It is the life that ends with death because it is dust; and so, it returns to the earth.

Yet, there is another life, higher than the normal life; it is the eternal life.

Jesus said: ‘I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly’ (John 10: 10).

Do you think that the life which Jesus is referring to here is the normal life?!

Of course not. It is an abundant life.

Would we receive from Him, year after year, more and more of the well of the abundant life?

His life would thus flow in us richly and it would increase and broaden from year to year.

His reign would also increase in us and our life would be transformed.

2. Cleansing the temple

In that week, Jesus also cleansed the temple.

The heart is the place of Christ’s reign; and it has to be cleansed.

The Passion week should not pass by the people of God without going through true, complete, and deep repentance. If this does not happen, it means that they do not know how to honour Christ who suffered for our sake.

We need to be attentive, lest these words would apply to us:

‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honour Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me’ (Matthew 15: 8).

We can be attending all the prayers and services of the Passion Week and singing all the praises; and that’s all! If true cleansing and repentance do not take place, we would not have entered into the true mystery of the Passion Week. The Passion Week is not just prayers and services that we attend; it is a pass-over! It is the week of the pass-over. Is it possible to enter this week without crossing over or passing over!

We need to pass/cross over from our paths of death, from a life that sometimes becomes estranged from God, from sin, from laziness, from spiritual coldness and being lukewarm to repentance which is fitting for the Holy One.

Let us tell the Lord:

‘Lord, I want to do even a small thing, offer a little sacrifice, for Your sake during this Holy Week of Your Passions. I desire to repent a repentance which is different from the normal one. I have entered into myself and You have helped me to see some things that needs to come out; so that, my temple would be cleansed.’

Looking inside one’s inner depth, one could find ‘those who sell doves’ (something that looks good and meek; but it is a corrupt trade inside the temple). This can be a relationship that seems a normal friendship that has nothing unholy; yet, it is those who sell doves in the temple of the Lord. Or, there could be something more obvious, cows and sheep. It could also be ‘tables of the money changers’ where one may be in church while his mind is actually preoccupied with his business.

The Lord looks and sees the heart and says: ‘I cannot find a place to reign!’

After hearing this talk, some may pray saying: ‘Lord, come and reign in my heart’. Then, they would say ‘I have done all what I should do and have asked Him to reign’.

Yet, the Lord would say that He desires to reign; but He cannot reign because there is no place in the heart.

He calls upon us saying:

‘Make room for Me in your heart and I will do the rest of the work; I will come in and I will cleanse; but you need to empty a space for Me. Allow Me to enter and I will purify and cleanse. But, do you truly desire that I would do this cleansing, or do you have reservations?’ [These can be things that one wants to keep and convinces himself that there is nothing wrong in them].

3. Faith, love, humility

We will choose 3 main words or lessons from the parables that the Lord said during the Passion Week; these are: faith, love, and humility.

Humility is related to the washing of the feet.

Faith and love are lessons from the parables that Jesus said on Tuesday.

The Cross is not only the sign of His reign; but the cross also grants, those who lift their eyes up unto it, power and strength that would help them separate between the world and Christ.

This does not mean that we leave the world and go to live in the desert; it means that we will not allow the world to enter into us. Jesus said: ‘‘They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world’ (John 17: 16). We are in the world, but we are not of the world.

The cross gives us the power and strength to do this separation.

Also, if the heart has a true desire for the Lord’s reign and has a cry that calls on Him to come and purify it and reign over it, there will be great joy in heaven. This joy will echo in the church –if there were even a few people who ask from all their hearts that Christ would become the king of Jerusalem. This brings blessing to others as well.

When the cross takes its place in our life and when the heart is purified there will be faith, love, and humility.

  • Faith:

When the disciples marvelled at how the fig tree withered so quickly, Jesus told them:

‘Whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive’ (Matthew 21: 22).

‘Whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them’ (Mark 11: 24).

Sometimes we ask certain things in prayer, good requests that well out of a good heart. For example, we ask: ‘Lord, I truly desire that You reign over my heart’. Yet, we have lots of doubts. Our doubt hinders the grace that wants to come to us and help us.

Why would we doubt?!

We should not doubt at all because it is a simple straightforward rule. He is the One who said that if we ask, we will receive; if we seek Him, we will find Him.

Even on the human level, we understand simple rules and conditions and we apply them easily. Why do we fail to do the same on the spiritual level? Why do we always question if He will help us or not?

When we doubt, this doubt hinders us from receiving the help. This is like someone who opens his heart and calls upon the Lord. Thus, the grace and the divine help draw near Him. Yet, he looks and says: ‘nothing is happening’. As a result, he loses the grace and fails to receive it.

Doubt causes faith to fade away!

We need ‘faith’ in order to receive the help and the divine work related to this holy week and allow its purpose to be fulfilled in our life.

  • Love:

We can seek Jesus only through love because He is love.

Some may say: ‘but I do not know how to love Him’; others may say ‘but, my heart is full of the love of the world’.

He actually brings love with Him when He comes to us. But it is important to determine our motivations.

What are your motivations in seeking Him?

Some who are listening to this talk tonight[2] may be suffering from a certain problem. In the talk, they hear that Jesus brings light to our steps; and so, they say: ‘come Lord; but, make sure to solve my problem as soon as You come; this is all I need from You’.

We may not necessarily say so openly or clearly; but this could be our subconscious thoughts where we are merely seeking and desiring the things that we would benefit from the spiritual life. This actually causes our spiritual life to be weak.

During this one special week of the whole year, is it difficult to search our inner depth? Are we unable to find but a short time in this holy week to examine our deep and inner motivations; define them; and seek the Lord in a true way so that we would truly find Him?

The Lord is waiting for us!

Go to Him with the little that you have; and tell Him:

‘I have a very small amount of love. I do not know how to love You; but I want You’.

The love that is required is our sincerity in seeking Him; otherwise, we would not be seeking Him appropriately; we would be seeking Him for different purposes, not for Himself.

He should be sought for His own sake; and not for other purposes!

Yet, when Jesus is sought for His own sake, He comes, and He also brings with Him the good things of heaven and earth because He is the ‘High Priest of the good things to come’ (Hebrews 9: 11). He never comes to His people empty handed; He always comes as the high Priest of the good things of earth and of eternity. He brings His redemption; and together with His redemption, He brings everything else:

‘He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?’ (Romans 8: 32).

How sweet is our Lord!

Let us not waste the Passion Week of our Lord!

Some may say: ‘but we do not want suffering or these difficult things’.

Brothers and sisters, if we lose Christ and His Passions in the Passion Week, bitter pain will be waiting for us: the pain of sin, of shame, of circumstances, of people who humiliate us and tread upon us, and so on. But His Passions and suffering liberate us; they are the healing passions/suffering.

Can we find few moments during the Passion Week which would change our life and which we would reap their fruit over the whole year –until we come to the Passion Week of the following year?

Remember to seek Him for His own sake; and with Him, everything else will be found.

Be careful not to seek Him for other purposes because this will be a great loss; you may get neither!

  • Humility:

If Jesus comes and reigns over someone’s heart; and then He finds that the ego of this person is dominating or popping up, He will leave His throne (inside the soul) and go!

His throne is a throne of humility and meekness:

‘Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; mercy and truth go before Your face’ (Psalm 89: 14).

A humble and an upright life is necessary; so that, He would have His throne in this person’s heart. But if one’s life deviates from this, His reign disappears.

Finally, to sum up:

The Christ of the Passions is coming to reign. He reigns on a Wood, the Cross. This Cross separates us from the world.

He also reigns over the hearts. Therefore, we need to ask Him to cleanse our hearts.

We also need to have sincere motivations and seek Him for Himself, with love, faith and humility; and so, He comes to us, cleansing and reigning.

We will thus reap the fruit of His reign: eternal life and holy joy.

Amen
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[1] See also John 6:15

[2] This talk was delivered to a group of young people, about 30 years ago.

Reading:

28 When He had said this, He went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29 And it came to pass, when He drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mountain called Olivet, that He sent two of His disciples, 30 saying, “Go into the village opposite you, where as you enter you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Loose it and bring it here…41 Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, 42 saying, “If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. 43 For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, 44 and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation.” 45 Then He went into the temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold in it, 46 saying to them, “It is written, ‘My house is a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’ ”47 And He was teaching daily in the temple. But the chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people sought to destroy Him, 48 and were unable to do anything; for all the people were very attentive to hear Him’ (Luke 19: 28 – 30, 41 – 48).

Today’s topic is about Jesus in His Passion week.

We need to learn how to benefit from this week and how to have fellowship in Christ’s suffering.

Every year there is a specific message from the Holy Spirit for each of the seasons of salvation. Today, we want to know God’s message for us in relation to the Passion Week.

I. Overview of the events of the Passion Week:

The Passion Week starts on Palm Sunday and it ends on Good Friday.

Throughout the whole week, Jesus moved between two places; namely, the temple where He taught and Bethany where He rested.

On Sunday, Jesus entered Jerusalem in a royal procession.

Then, as He drew near the city, He wept over it and said the following words:

‘If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation’ (Luke 19: 42 – 44).

He then went into the temple and looked around at every part of it and He saw what has happened to the temple and how it has turned into a den of thieves.

He saw how Jerusalem, about which the prophets and Psalmist sang, has now become different. It became the city that kills the prophets: ‘O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her’ (Matthew 23: 37).

Jerusalem became repulsive instead of being the praised city. Therefore, Jesus wept over it because He knew what Jerusalem should have been according to the divine purposes!

One day, during the time of David and Solomon, this Jerusalem was the city which the Psalm describes as: ‘the perfection of beauty’ (Psalm 50: 2). Yet, it has now become ruined, desolate, and it kills and stones those who are sent to it; and so, Jesus wept over it.

When He went into the temple, He found that even the temple (the heart of Jerusalem) has become a den of thieves. This increased His agony.

After that, He went to Bethany to spend the night there.

On Monday, He went out; and as He was walking, He cursed the fig tree.

He then went into the temple; cleansed it from the thieves; and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple.

Then, He returned to Bethany.

Tuesday was the day of the parables. It was a day of teaching from its beginning to its end.

It began by seeing the withering tree on the way. This was an opportunity to speak to His disciples about ‘faith’.

Then Jesus said the parable of the vineyard and the vinedressers and the parable of the wedding feast.

Wednesday was the day when He remained in Bethany to get ready for the cross, like the lamb of the sacrifice that was kept before it was offered (Exodus 12: 6).

Jesus also kept Himself in Bethany on that day so that He would offer Himself as a sacrifice before the Father –because the next day He was going to offer Himself to the disciples in the Last Supper and the day after He was going to offer Himself on the cross.

Thus, He did not do anything outside; He remained in Bethany.

During that day, all the conspiracies against Him were happening outside. Judah was trying to find an opportunity and was planning how to hand Jesus over.

On Thursday, Jesus celebrated the Jewish Passover with His disciples; washed the feet of the disciples; and then, He went to the Upper Room where He instituted the Lord’s Supper.

He remained with the disciples and spoke to them about the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit.

He came down from the Upper Room around midnight and walked with the disciples towards the temple. At that time, Herod had made a monument in the form of a vine in front of the temple. The vine is a symbol of the Jewish nation. He did so in order to please the Jews. Jesus went up to the vine and told His disciples: ‘I am the vine; you are the branches’ (John 15: 5).

After that –according to the tradition –Jesus entered the temple at midnight and prayed the prayer that every Jewish person would pray on that day (The Passover Eve), the prayer in John 17 –Jesus’ final intercessory prayer.

He then went out with His disciples over the Brook Kidron, where there was the garden of Gethsemane. He prayed and interceded until 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning during which His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. The disciples kept falling asleep; and every now and again, Jesus woke them up. He prayed: ‘Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done’ (Luke 22: 42).

It was then almost the early morning and Judah came to arrest Him.

Jesus went to the first trial, the religious trial, in the house of the high priest, Caiaphas. This was around 4:00 or 5:00 in the morning. Then by 8:00, He was in the civil trial before Herod and Pilate until He was led to the cross.

He was crucified at midday, at 12: 00 noon.

Then at 15:00, He committed His Spirit in the Hands of the Father.

At sunset, they took Him down the cross and buried Him at the twelfth hour.

This is a quick summary of the events of the week from Sunday to Friday.

We can sum up the Passion Week in the following brief highlights:

  • Entering Jerusalem as a king.
  • Looking at Jerusalem and its temple; and cleansing the temple.
  • Parables: faith and the wedding feast.
  • Sacrifice
  • Washing the feet
  • Instituting the New Covenant
  • The day of the Cross

These are the main events and the main highlights.

We now want to draw from these events a spiritual theme that would help us benefit spiritually from this Holy Week.

II. Spiritual lessons that we can learn from the events of the Passion week:

The week starts by ‘entering Jerusalem’ and it ends by ‘going out of Jerusalem’.

Jesus entered as a King and came out as the Crucified One.

[The Passion week is considered the holy of holies of the whole year. These days are the crown of the Great Lent, the final blessing that crowns the season of the Lent.]

Jesus entered as a King in the midst of praises that glorify Him.

He came out as the Crucified One bearing the shame.

He entered into Jerusalem and He came out of Jerusalem.

He entered as a King and came out on the wood of the Cross.

Therefore, the true reign of Christ is on the Cross. The Psalm says: ‘The Lord reigns on a wood’ (according to the Septuagint translation).

This is the essence of these days.

He entered as a king and everyone shouted out with praise. Then, after a short time, this very same people were asking that He would be crucified.

When He entered as a king, His eyes were not fixed on the people shouting out but on the purpose for which He went.

If anyone of us was in the place of Jesus and entered the city and heard all the loud cheering and rejoicing, he would surely never come out of Jerusalem! Would anyone of us be able to enter a city with such a royal procession; and then, leave it and come out?!

What was the main purpose that Jesus had when He entered Jerusalem?

It was the Cross.

What made Jesus want to fulfil this purpose?

It is because this is the will of the Father. Jesus is the Son of the Father; and He wanted to please the Father: ‘for I always do those things that please Him’ (John 8: 29).

If the Cross was a purpose in itself, it could have been difficult. Yet, what made the Cross become easy for Christ is that He was doing it for the sake of the Father and He did it with pleasure: ‘if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done’ (Luke 22: 42). Also, in the epistle to the Hebrews, apostle Paul speaks about this matter saying: ‘who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross’ (Hebrews 12: 2).

The Cross is reproach and shame. The most difficult thing about the shame of the cross is to accept this shame at a moment of glory, where one pulls himself out of the glory.

If someone is already going through suffering and shame and is just moving from one kind of suffering to the other, it would have been easier. However, to go from glory to shame voluntarily is impossible for the human nature.

Do you think that when Jesus entered Jerusalem, He entered so that the people would do this procession for Him?

In the prophecies, we read:

‘Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, lowly and riding on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey’ (Zechariah 9: 9).

The prophet Zechariah describes how the King is coming to Jerusalem humbly, riding on a colt.

Yet, do you think that what actually happened was exactly as described in the prophecy?

No, there was a little bit of difference:

The prophets described a royal procession which is meek, humble, holy, full of holy rejoicing; one which the angels observe and watch; a royal heavenly procession related to the Son of God.

However, when it happened, the people turned it into noisy loud shouts and cheers.

We should also understand that the people did all this cheering to tempt Jesus.

After the devil tempted Jesus in the wilderness, we read: ‘Now when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time’ (Luke 4: 13). [The Son of God was tempted for our sake.] The devil departed from Him for some time in order to come back to Him at the cross.

This was the week of the cross. So, when the devil first returned to Him, he brought Him a cheering crowd and a procession to try to deviate Him from the purpose. The devil wanted to tempt Jesus by the crowds whom He wants to save and who were crying out ‘Hosanna’ which means ‘save us’. Isn’t He the Saviour sent by the Father? Here are all the people shouting ‘Save us’.

Jesus saw that Jerusalem was ruined and desolate and lacking what was at the time of David. Jesus is the David that Jerusalem needed. This was His role and place; and Jerusalem itself was welcoming Him and asking Him to be the King. But this was not how things should be; this was not the way to fulfil the true purpose because if He had reigned, He would have saved and rescued this people and nation at that time; yet, the other generations that were to come and the whole world would go back to how things were before.

This was part of the temptation which is similar to the one earlier where the devil came to Jesus and told Him that he will give Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.

Here, the devil was coming to Him again to tempt Him, showing Him that all the people want Him and are seeking Him; and so, He now has the chance to reign.[1]

However, Jesus had the purpose set before Him; and so, He was not taken in by all these cheering and loud cries. He knew that His reign is on the wood (the cross) to please the heavenly Father!

This is what we need to learn from the Cross: Knowing the purposes that we should fulfil and never deviating from them.

One of the problems in our life, as young people, is that we can quickly lose the purposes because the voice of the world easily captivates our hearts.

One may have a purpose set before him and that is: to sincerely walk with the Lord. He starts; yet, he may soon be faced with something similar to the cheering crowds, on a smaller level of course; but it captivates the person’s heart. The person then starts to reason within himself that these two things do not contradict one another, and he can have them both. Yet, after some time, he finds that he has lost Christ and he is only left with the cheering crowds! Then, after some more time, he even loses the cheering crowds. He eventually loses both. He became without Christ; and at the same time, the world has nothing genuine to offer.

This is the temptation of Jerusalem. This is the first lesson of the Passion week:

Whoever sets before his eyes a purpose for the pleasure of the Father, the devil always tries to push him away from it through the temptation of the world: people, crowds, cheering, honour, momentary alluring purposes, deceit, confusion, etc.

However, the heart that does not deviate from the purpose has to be linked and connected to two things: the pleasure of the Father and the wood/the cross.

This is the purpose of the Passion Week:

In the Passion Week, Jesus is looking at our hearts, desiring to reign. His pleasure is in the hearts. As we draw closer to the Passion week, Christ looks at us and draws near to us in steps, desiring to enter into our inner Jerusalem in a different way from before. He may be already in our life. But He desires to be the King of our inner Jerusalem. He draws near us saying: ‘would you let me reign over your hearts?’

He looks at our inner Jerusalem in the same way He looked at Jerusalem in the old days. He can see that it is like a ruined and desolate city. In agony, He looks and says:

‘Is this My Jerusalem? Is that the life of the person whom I have saved and redeemed? Is this the son/daughter of baptism who has been washed from his sins by the precious price of My blood and was born again and became a new creation? What has happened to you? When you came out of baptism, you were different. The angels sung for you (like what happened in the old days with Jerusalem –when it was established, the angels and the Psalmists sung for it). Why has Jerusalem become desolate?’

The person would reply: ‘You know, Lord; the world and the circumstances.’

The Lord would say: ‘Let me reign over your inner Jerusalem and I will re-build it. Would you give me a chance? What are you waiting for?’

One may say: ‘But I cannot repent. I do not know how’.

How do we say that?! Don’t we know who is asking this request?!

The one who is asking this request is the Prince of life, the Perfect Light, the One who can really guide us. He opens the closed doors. He leads the steps. He forgives, sanctifies, and transforms. He is truly able to do deep transformation for any person who wants. He is the One who understands the inner depth of the human soul.

You may be trying to understand yourself and maybe trying to ask for help from ministers and servants of God. They maybe trying to help you and they will give you all they can offer. What they offer is important and necessary. Yet, He is the One who can enter into our inner depth, satisfying and filling us.

The ministers of God and the spiritual fathers can help us. But all what they can do is provide signposts and landmarks for the way and open for us the wells of mysteries. Yet, the human soul will continue to need something much deeper that would fill and satisfy her, give her comfort, and she can follow in its light.

There is no one but Him: The Lord of Jerusalem!

He is the One who said:

‘Come to Me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest’ (Matthew 11: 28).

He is the One who is still calling out saying:

‘O Jerusalem, Jerusalem…How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing’ (Luke 13: 34).

Will you want; or, are you not willing?

The human soul was created to be a Jerusalem. This will never change. This is her week!

When the fathers of the Church made the arrangements and services of the seasons of the Church, they were not setting rituals or mere practices that we do and repeat each year. This was never the purpose, and this was not how the early fathers themselves lived. They were worshipers; they understood the inner depth of the human soul and what it needs; and they expressed this through the services of the Holy Week.

If one follows the services and liturgical prayers of this week in a sincere manner, this human soul who hungers and desires, will find in this week the fulfilment of her deepest need.

In the prayers and services of this week, there is the Lord of Life, the Lord of Jerusalem. Out of His great love and tenderness, He, as if, pleads with us and calls on us not to enter into the prayers and spiritual practices of the Passion Week without allowing Him to enter into His Jerusalem (the inner Jerusalem of the soul).

As if He is saying:

‘Do not do like the people in the old days; do not send Me out of My Jerusalem. I came out of the old Jerusalem bearing the shame and reproach of humanity in order to enter the Jerusalem of every human soul; so that her shame would be lifted up.’

What is the problem that troubles or ails us the most?

The repeated and recurrent sins; they bring shame to the human soul. The meaninglessness that we often experience in our days and the closed doors. This brings shame and pain to the human soul. When we become estranged from God, nothing remains in our life apart from shame, reproach, suffering, confusion, deep need and poverty, weariness, dryness, and perplexity.

The solution is in the Lord of Jerusalem!

The days of the Passion Week were set and arranged by the Church so that a true and genuine spiritual work would take place during them.

As we go through this week, day after day, following the prayers and services with all our hearts and seeking the Lord, the Lord of Jerusalem finds for Himself a place in the inner Jerusalem of the souls who desire to call upon Him saying: ‘O’ Lord who were rejected in the old days; Come now and reign in my heart’.

For some people, He may be totally forgotten, as though He is a stranger who is totally outside their life. For others, He may be present; but is sleeping at the bottom of the ship, hidden in some corner of their life. For both of these categories, He would start to take His true place as King over the whole life.

As a result, the shame of the human soul would be lifted; her wounds would be healed; her needs would be filled; she would be filled with peace; the light would shine over her steps; and she would be restored to her first rank as the creation of His hands. Jesus Himself had to come to restore man to his first rank.

Jerusalem is heaven; and at the same time, it is the Church and every person.

What a great loss it would be if the Passion Week passes by and ends while Jesus remains imprisoned in His outer Jerusalem.

He continues to look at each heart, as if trying to draw the attention of every heart saying:

‘My child, have you not realised yet that you need me? I am waiting for you. But I respect and honour your free will. Won’t you seek Me? Won’t you let me reign over your heart?

If  we continue to go to church day after day throughout the Passion Week where we attend the services and join in the prayers and singing in an outer empty way without allowing Jesus to reign in our hearts (and we repeat the same thing day after day until the Passion week ends), the resurrection celebration will come while no one discerns that the Christ of Jerusalem is looking with great agony, as though saying:

‘Have you sought to celebrate without Me? Do you think you can have a true celebration without Me? I have waited for you throughout all the days of the Passion week (the week of pass over) to pass over to you, help you, and make you pass over. Why are you burying me in the labyrinth of the soul?’

The soul is full of concerns, worries, preoccupations, emotions, imaginations, fantasies, distractions, disintegrations; and in this mixture, Jesus is somewhere in the midst of all that! We sometimes like to talk about Him or hear about Him.

Jesus is the King of Jerusalem; and He should take His place as the King!


III. Some practical points to know how to allow Christ to reign and take His true place in our inner Jerusalem:

1.The Lord reigns on a wood

The Lord cannot take His place as the King over our inner Jerusalem without the wood. The wood is the Cross.

The Cross means that we put a separation between the spirit of the world and the spirit of Christ. We cannot live according to the spirit of the world and the spirit of Christ at the same time because the bible clearly says:

‘For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols?’ (2 Corinthians 6: 14 – 16).

We cannot live both of them together.

Some may say: ‘we go to church and pray and read the bible; but this does not mean that we cannot live our normal life; surely Jesus does not want to deprive people!’

Do you know what this normal life means?

It is the life that ends with death because it is dust; and so, it returns to the earth.

Yet, there is another life, higher than the normal life; it is the eternal life.

Jesus said: ‘I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly’ (John 10: 10).

Do you think that the life which Jesus is referring to here is the normal life?!

Of course not. It is an abundant life.

Would we receive from Him, year after year, more and more of the well of the abundant life?

His life would thus flow in us richly and it would increase and broaden from year to year.

His reign would also increase in us and our life would be transformed.

2. Cleansing the temple

In that week, Jesus also cleansed the temple.

The heart is the place of Christ’s reign; and it has to be cleansed.

The Passion week should not pass by the people of God without going through true, complete, and deep repentance. If this does not happen, it means that they do not know how to honour Christ who suffered for our sake.

We need to be attentive, lest these words would apply to us:

‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honour Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me’ (Matthew 15: 8).

We can be attending all the prayers and services of the Passion Week and singing all the praises; and that’s all! If true cleansing and repentance do not take place, we would not have entered into the true mystery of the Passion Week. The Passion Week is not just prayers and services that we attend; it is a pass-over! It is the week of the pass-over. Is it possible to enter this week without crossing over or passing over!

We need to pass/cross over from our paths of death, from a life that sometimes becomes estranged from God, from sin, from laziness, from spiritual coldness and being lukewarm to repentance which is fitting for the Holy One.

Let us tell the Lord:

‘Lord, I want to do even a small thing, offer a little sacrifice, for Your sake during this Holy Week of Your Passions. I desire to repent a repentance which is different from the normal one. I have entered into myself and You have helped me to see some things that needs to come out; so that, my temple would be cleansed.’

Looking inside one’s inner depth, one could find ‘those who sell doves’ (something that looks good and meek; but it is a corrupt trade inside the temple). This can be a relationship that seems a normal friendship that has nothing unholy; yet, it is those who sell doves in the temple of the Lord. Or, there could be something more obvious, cows and sheep. It could also be ‘tables of the money changers’ where one may be in church while his mind is actually preoccupied with his business.

The Lord looks and sees the heart and says: ‘I cannot find a place to reign!’

After hearing this talk, some may pray saying: ‘Lord, come and reign in my heart’. Then, they would say ‘I have done all what I should do and have asked Him to reign’.

Yet, the Lord would say that He desires to reign; but He cannot reign because there is no place in the heart.

He calls upon us saying:

‘Make room for Me in your heart and I will do the rest of the work; I will come in and I will cleanse; but you need to empty a space for Me. Allow Me to enter and I will purify and cleanse. But, do you truly desire that I would do this cleansing, or do you have reservations?’ [These can be things that one wants to keep and convinces himself that there is nothing wrong in them].

3. Faith, love, humility

We will choose 3 main words or lessons from the parables that the Lord said during the Passion Week; these are: faith, love, and humility.

Humility is related to the washing of the feet.

Faith and love are lessons from the parables that Jesus said on Tuesday.

The Cross is not only the sign of His reign; but the cross also grants, those who lift their eyes up unto it, power and strength that would help them separate between the world and Christ.

This does not mean that we leave the world and go to live in the desert; it means that we will not allow the world to enter into us. Jesus said: ‘‘They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world’ (John 17: 16). We are in the world, but we are not of the world.

The cross gives us the power and strength to do this separation.

Also, if the heart has a true desire for the Lord’s reign and has a cry that calls on Him to come and purify it and reign over it, there will be great joy in heaven. This joy will echo in the church –if there were even a few people who ask from all their hearts that Christ would become the king of Jerusalem. This brings blessing to others as well.

When the cross takes its place in our life and when the heart is purified there will be faith, love, and humility.

  • Faith:

When the disciples marvelled at how the fig tree withered so quickly, Jesus told them:

‘Whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive’ (Matthew 21: 22).

‘Whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them’ (Mark 11: 24).

Sometimes we ask certain things in prayer, good requests that well out of a good heart. For example, we ask: ‘Lord, I truly desire that You reign over my heart’. Yet, we have lots of doubts. Our doubt hinders the grace that wants to come to us and help us.

Why would we doubt?!

We should not doubt at all because it is a simple straightforward rule. He is the One who said that if we ask, we will receive; if we seek Him, we will find Him.

Even on the human level, we understand simple rules and conditions and we apply them easily. Why do we fail to do the same on the spiritual level? Why do we always question if He will help us or not?

When we doubt, this doubt hinders us from receiving the help. This is like someone who opens his heart and calls upon the Lord. Thus, the grace and the divine help draw near Him. Yet, he looks and says: ‘nothing is happening’. As a result, he loses the grace and fails to receive it.

Doubt causes faith to fade away!

We need ‘faith’ in order to receive the help and the divine work related to this holy week and allow its purpose to be fulfilled in our life.

  • Love:

We can seek Jesus only through love because He is love.

Some may say: ‘but I do not know how to love Him’; others may say ‘but, my heart is full of the love of the world’.

He actually brings love with Him when He comes to us. But it is important to determine our motivations.

What are your motivations in seeking Him?

Some who are listening to this talk tonight[2] may be suffering from a certain problem. In the talk, they hear that Jesus brings light to our steps; and so, they say: ‘come Lord; but, make sure to solve my problem as soon as You come; this is all I need from You’.

We may not necessarily say so openly or clearly; but this could be our subconscious thoughts where we are merely seeking and desiring the things that we would benefit from the spiritual life. This actually causes our spiritual life to be weak.

During this one special week of the whole year, is it difficult to search our inner depth? Are we unable to find but a short time in this holy week to examine our deep and inner motivations; define them; and seek the Lord in a true way so that we would truly find Him?

The Lord is waiting for us!

Go to Him with the little that you have; and tell Him:

‘I have a very small amount of love. I do not know how to love You; but I want You’.

The love that is required is our sincerity in seeking Him; otherwise, we would not be seeking Him appropriately; we would be seeking Him for different purposes, not for Himself.

He should be sought for His own sake; and not for other purposes!

Yet, when Jesus is sought for His own sake, He comes, and He also brings with Him the good things of heaven and earth because He is the ‘High Priest of the good things to come’ (Hebrews 9: 11). He never comes to His people empty handed; He always comes as the high Priest of the good things of earth and of eternity. He brings His redemption; and together with His redemption, He brings everything else:

‘He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?’ (Romans 8: 32).

How sweet is our Lord!

Let us not waste the Passion Week of our Lord!

Some may say: ‘but we do not want suffering or these difficult things’.

Brothers and sisters, if we lose Christ and His Passions in the Passion Week, bitter pain will be waiting for us: the pain of sin, of shame, of circumstances, of people who humiliate us and tread upon us, and so on. But His Passions and suffering liberate us; they are the healing passions/suffering.

Can we find few moments during the Passion Week which would change our life and which we would reap their fruit over the whole year –until we come to the Passion Week of the following year?

Remember to seek Him for His own sake; and with Him, everything else will be found.

Be careful not to seek Him for other purposes because this will be a great loss; you may get neither!

  • Humility:

If Jesus comes and reigns over someone’s heart; and then He finds that the ego of this person is dominating or popping up, He will leave His throne (inside the soul) and go!

His throne is a throne of humility and meekness:

‘Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; mercy and truth go before Your face’ (Psalm 89: 14).

A humble and an upright life is necessary; so that, He would have His throne in this person’s heart. But if one’s life deviates from this, His reign disappears.

Finally, to sum up:

The Christ of the Passions is coming to reign. He reigns on a Wood, the Cross. This Cross separates us from the world.

He also reigns over the hearts. Therefore, we need to ask Him to cleanse our hearts.

We also need to have sincere motivations and seek Him for Himself, with love, faith and humility; and so, He comes to us, cleansing and reigning.

We will thus reap the fruit of His reign: eternal life and holy joy.

Amen
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[1] See also John 6:15

[2] This talk was delivered to a group of young people, about 30 years ago.