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An Epic Week

This weekend is marked as Palm Sunday weekend.  It is six days before Passover.  In the Bible, we see two stories beginning to unfold.  Let’s focus on the events surrounding  Jesus as He gets nearer to the time of His death.  I can’t imagine what was going through His mind and Heart.

Jesus had just brought Lazarus back from the dead.  There were those that witnessed this event who thought it best to tell the ‘religious authorities’ in Jerusalem.  You know…the ones who have been trying to trap Jesus in a mistake since after His baptism.  The Pharisees immediately went into discussions about how to stop this Jesus.  Too many people, in their opinion are leaving their church.  They are losing power and influence.  The power of Rome is also playing into their conflict with Jesus as well.  The High Priest, Caiaphas, says, “You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people that the whole nation perish.”  I’m sure he didn’t know that what he we saying would ultimately be true.  Jesus died, not just for the Jewish nation, but for all nations.  At this meeting, they begin to now not just trap Jesus in mistake, but to ultimately take His life.  They begin watching for Him…they’re sure that He will come to Jerusalem for the Passover meal with “His” people.  Jesus knows.  He pulls back from the crowd.

It is now within 6 days of Passover, and Jesus arrives in Bethany again where Lazarus’ home was.  Mary and Martha throw a dinner party in honor of Jesus.  Lazarus is said to be reclining by the table when Mary takes some very expensive perfume and pours it over His feet.  He later, after some debate about why she did this, says that He is being prepared for burial.  A crowd hears that He is there and that Lazarus is too!  The event some days ago, Lazarus back from the dead, has become huge news.  The Pharisees are in the know about this event as well, and now move to say that Lazarus needs to be killed as well…to quiet the crowds.

The next day, an even bigger crowd hears that Jesus is now on His way to Jerusalem.  They stand and wait, palm branches in hand.  When He is sighted, praises begin to fill the air.  Their hero has come to town.  The Pharisees are perplexed by the sight of the crowd and wonder how their plan can ever accomplish its goal.  One says, “…this is getting us nowhere.  The whole world has gone after Him.”  There is a battle brewing.   In another part of the Gospels it even says that the Pharisees were so flustered with all this that they begged Jesus to quiet down the crowd.  Jesus replied that if he quieted the people, the rocks would cry out praises.  The event that would change the entire course of history for ever more was about to take place.  This wasn’t just a big event.  This was The event.

Jesus and the crowd, after the riding the donkey through palm covered roads, hear from Heaven a thunderous voice saying this day…that very hour…had been glorified by God in Heaven.  Many witnessed this.  Jesus looked at the crowd and said that God had spoken for their benefit…that they might understand more of why all this was happening.

The battle for people’s mind wasn’t just happening between Christ and the Pharisees.  It still happens today.  We know the ending of this story.  Jesus died and rose again.  But the battle rages.  We might not have people with the title Pharisee in our lives, but Satan will still use circumstances and people and temptations to lead us from the truth of what Jesus has done for us.

The devil does not want us to see the plan.  The devil does not want us to glorify Jesus as the coming savior…for us the “second coming.”  The devil does not want us to gather as a family and bring other people with us.  The devil will give us every reason to discount the miracles in our lives.  He will also try to have us doubt that we really hear the voice of God.  No…it didn’t just happen there a few days before the cross.  It happens each and every day of our lives.

When everything boils down, there are two plans.  God’s and Satan’s.  We know who wins.  Satan does too.  Remember, Jesus said the gates of Hell will not be able to stop His plan or His church…you and I.  How does this change how you will choose to live this week?


Questions for Leaders:

  • How do you think Jesus felt after knowing that some of the crowd had left the raising of Lazarus to raise a stink in Jerusalem?
  • Have you ever tried to good to have it pushed back in your face?
  • Jesus was on His way to the cross after the Lazarus event.  This week in the story is epic.  How does all the symbolism through the days after the raising of Lazarus change how you view the power of the cross and resurrection?  (Lazarus, the perfume, Judas’ response, the Pharisees power struggle, the voice from Heaven, Jesus’ response to being asked to quiet down the crowd, Caiaphas’ statement, the one Pharisees statement that their plan was becoming useless)
  • Back to the ending question.  If you are inside the family of God, how does knowing that nothing can stop God’s plan change how you live this next week?
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