Welcome to a very belated Week 3 of our Lenten Dig where we will be reading and discussing the book What Jesus Saw from the Cross. This post was supposed to go live a week ago, on Wednesday March 26th, but last week was Spring Break around these parts and that threw my schedule out of whack. My goal (if I can get through the reading) is to post another discussion this weekend and hopefully get back on track next week - but we'll see how that goes. Feel free to join the discussion at any time. Please note, all items I've put in quotations below are excerpts directly from the book.
As with our last discussion, my thoughts are heavy on the first chapter, The Upper Room, and practically non-existent, okay...actually non-existent, on the second chapter, The Mount of Olives. It's not there isn't great content in these chapters it's just that getting through two chapters, thoughtfully, a week is....well, it's embarrassingly difficult. But let's dig in....
Love. That was the overwhelming theme to me in this chapter. The first paragraph "Jesus, knowing that His hour was come, that He should pass out of this world to the Father, having loved his own that were in the world, He loved them unto the end." I suppose this theme shouldn't surprise me in the least but I remember reading this paragraph and smiling and nodding my head, these words were so fitting given our previous two discussions. He loved them....He loved us, until the end. But what makes it even more remarkable is that He knew He was near the end and He knew the betrayal that was to come and He loved anyway. I'm going to go ahead and admit right now that I don't think I could do that. I might be able to forgive and "get over it" but to love, wholeheartedly, through it? That's tough.
The Upper Room is the scene of The Last Supper, but the disciples don't know the significance of it yet, they are celebrating the Passover, and a celebration it is.
" Apparently Jesus did not consider that His intention to institute a new rite upon that day dispensed Him from celebrating the Jewish Passover. It was of the Jewish Passover that the disciples spoke, and Jesus did not correct them...."
I found this passage especially touching, He did not just tell them exactly what was happening, that He was becoming the new lamb, instead He walks them through, He guides them, but He lets them discern and discover for themselves. A true teacher. And very much what he does for us in difficult times.
This also made me think about what I would do if I knew I were leaving the next day - even just leaving for a trip, let alone, forever. The dinner would be busy, loud, there would be much talk about the kids' schedules, maybe medicines they need, bed times, etc. There would be a lot of chatter and laying out of plans...it surely would not be a peaceful celebration.
At the Passover meal, or The Last Supper, Jesus washes the feet of the disciples - a symbol of love and purity. I've often heard this act of our Lord has various meanings, love and servant hood, among them. This would have been a very bold act simply because people's feet were dirty; not even a Jewish slave would have been required to do this. And yet, our Lord kneels down and insists because, as the author notes, "all is in the cross, because all is in humility and love, and the washing of the feet is the herald of the Cross." The author later says "we need submission to cleansing grace....to have part in the gift Jesus brings." Submission. And I immediately jotted down submission -> struggle. In our times of difficulty....or, rather in my times of difficulty I struggle. I fight. I kick. I scream. I do just about anything but submit to His will.
This thought will tie in nicely with my last thought from the chapter but before I go there I have one more thing written down....it's interesting how He spends His time the night before supporting the disciples, warning of their weakness and bidding them to be of good heart. He goes as far as foretelling them about their abandonment and saying "let not your heart be troubled...." Always taking care of others and doing it with love and grace and humility....
The chapter ends with blood streaming on the Cross and our Savior groaning in pain. The daily readings on the day I happened to finish reading this chapter included Hebrews 10:7:
"Then I said, 'As is written of me in the scroll, Behold, I come to do your will, O God."
Jesus knew full well that His will included suffering and death - it is likely that His will for me is not nearly as harsh and yet, I seem to have trouble fully surrendering. And there again is that thought of submission, surrendering, taking up my cross and following.
Pathetically, I'm realizing I have not a single note written down on The Mount of Olives and since this is long and the boys will be waking up soon, I'm going to leave that for you guys :) I'd love to hear your thoughts and I'll chime in in the comments.
Week 1 - The View from the Cross
Week 2 - Zion & His Fathers House
Next up: The Passerby & His Loved Ones (hopefully coming by the end of this week)