Holy Week: The Everyday Life of Sin

He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? -Romans 8:32

Conspiracy, lies, false witness, denial, slander, scheming, power-grab, injustice, enviousness, greed, rejection of truth, hypocrisy, self-righteousness—sin and daily life are played out vividly in the events of Holy Week. Read Matthew, chapters 26 to 28, either by yourself, together as a family, or with your friends to focus on the events of Holy Week.

In Matthew 26:1-5, we read: When Jesus had finished saying all these things, he said to his disciples, “As you know, the Passover is two days away—and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.” Then the chief priests and the elders of the people assembled in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, and they schemed to arrest Jesus secretly and kill him. “But not during the festival,” they said, “or there may be a riot among the people.

With this, we watch as Jesus begins his walk to Calvary. Jesus saw clearly into Judas’ heart and his betrayal of his Master and predicted his beloved disciple Peter’s denial. He prayed, My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done. (Matthew 26:42)

Jesus stood before the high priests and Sanhedrin and watched as countless false witnesses came forward. He faced their mocking and malice: Then they spit in his face and struck him. And some slapped him, saying, “Prophesy to us, you Christ! Who is it that struck you?” (Matthew 26:67-68)

He stood before Pilate and was condemned. “The chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus executed” (Matthew 27:20). Barabbas, the insurrectionary, was released based on the crowd’s lies and screaming shouts of “Crucify him!” (Luke 23:21)

Jesus carries his cross and bears the mocking of the Roman soldiers. We hear his anguished cry on the cross, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” which means ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? (Matthew 27:46)

As they say, the rest is history—Resurrection! The glorious rescue and final deliverance event for all those who call on him. When the New Testament’s view of resurrection life becomes clear, it sets our minds on an entirely new course of thinking that embraces and reorders every facet of our life.

Resurrection permits nothing to remain the same. The way we view the meaning of life, the risks we take or decide not to take, the relative importance of death, the sacrifices we make or don’t make, the place regret occupies in our hearts, the significance of missed or lost opportunities—everything is seen in a new, fresh perspective.

When we believe that resurrection is a verifiable truth, we can view life’s catastrophes in a much different light. So what if a tornado just splintered our home and barn away and left them in a billion separate toothpicks a mile away? What does it matter if the flood carried our dream house downriver? What is the actual consequence of losing our career, our life’s savings, reputation, or something else of value? If all that is truly important can never stay dead, and if all that is bad is purely temporary, then there is no reason for long-term grief or despair. If ever there was a good reason to laugh in the face of adversity, resurrection is it!

So it has been in history among God’s people. Wherever the belief in the resurrection is firmly held, we’ll find fearlessness in the face of anything that can take away health, joy, or even life itself.

The Bible and church history are full of real-life testimonies of people who had no other hope than what God had promised in every type of situation. The value of our reading these true accounts is to see how each trial is resolved in some unique, unexpected way. This demonstrates that our solid confidence in the future is not a mere delusion, but an intelligent and reasonable expectation based upon facts gathered from the lives of those across the globe over a long time.

The assurance of resurrection at the end of this earthly life and the many little resurrections we experience between the present and the final end far overshadow any of our losses or sacrifices now. This is what the Bible assures us.

What does this mean to us today? Grace, mercy, freedom, and deliverance! It would be difficult to calculate the number of times in the Bible we find the theme that someone felt abandoned, cried out to God, and was delivered and set free. This freedom is a gift from God from everything that oppresses, harms, and sends us into despair, disillusionment, or final destruction.

So this Easter, cry out to the Lord about your pain, frustration, anguish, sorrow, and trust in him to deliver and comfort you. Whatever you’re facing—divorce, death, the loss of a loved one, financial losses, betrayal, loneliness, illness—God is with you, and he is trustworthy. Express to God your grateful confidence that whatever you face today, freedom is on the way, in this life or beyond. Take heart—nothing can stop it.

-Photo by Grant Cai on Unsplash

John I. Snyder
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