Dear members and friends of Valley Park,
Easter is the time of year at which we celebrate the most important “historical event” in history. At Valley Park we remember the last week of Jesus’ life, Jesus’ last meal with His disciples and celebrate His resurrection from the dead on a Sunday.
Sunday, April 2, 10:30 AM We celebrate the Day Jesus arrived in Jerusalem
Wednesday, April 5, PM We celebrate Jesus’ Last Supper with His disciples
Sunday, April 9, 10:30 AM We celebrate the Day Jesus Rose from the Dead
There is a sense in which this can be called a “Holy Week” because it is a time we set aside to remember a week unlike any week in the history of mankind. It was the last week of Jesus’ life, a man whose death was shocking because of the things He proved Himself able to do. Jesus had displayed power and authority to heal every earthly affliction and hindrance to life including calming a storm. He was a man easily perceived as indestructible.
“Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. 24 News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them.”Matthew 4:23-24
Jesus had earned a reputation for doing things only the Messiah of Old Testament prophecies would be able to do. These prophecies involved a descendant of Abraham (1900 BC) and David (1,000 BC) who had the authority and power to heal creation and restore the goodness of creation as revealed in Genesis 1. He would establish that goodness on earth and it would last forever (see II Samuel 7:10-15 and Isaiah 11:1-10).
Still, many in the crowd believed in him. They said, “When the Messiah comes, will he perform more signs than this man?”John 7:31
When Jesus arrived in Jerusalem on the last week of His life, He did so with people anticipating His exertion of power and authority to establish the Kingdom of God. They laid down palm branches as He entered the city of Jerusalem on the Sunday before He was arrested and killed. They were celebrating His entrance into Jerusalem during the Jewish Passover Celebration heralding Him as the anticipated King. Based upon the multitude of things Jesus had done for three years there was confidence in who He was and what He was able to do to defeat the enemies of Israel.
“The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting,
“Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Blessed is the king of Israel!”John 12:12-13
But within four days Jesus would be arrested and killed. Jesus surprisingly offered no resistance to arrest or being killed. It had to be in order to fulfill prophecies written about Him and what He had to do. He told His disciples when arrested that He had the authority to command 12 legions of angels to protect Him if He were threatened and wanted to avoid their evil intent. So, His death was voluntary because it was for a purpose greater than would be living in this world.
“Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?”Matthew 26:52-54
The purpose of Jesus’ death was to pay the penalty deserved for sin (behavioral expressions of evil) by every person in the world who would trust Him with their life. His death was the solution provided by God for the problem of evil. It was the fundamental central component of God’s design for restoring the goodness of creation and healing the corruption of the human heart by evil. For those who were anticipating the coming of the kingdom on the day Jesus arrived in Jerusalem, the King was coming, but it was to sacrifice His life for the good of others. It was a substitutionary death as described in Old Testament prophecies (see Genesis 22, Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53).
Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted.Isaiah 53:4-5
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.
The ”Good News” is that Jesus conquered death because He had lived a life without sin. His resurrection displayed the most positive and constructive message of hope in history.
- His appearances with an immortal body after His death are the world’s only objective evidence of the possibility of life with a physical body after the death of the earthly body.
- His resurrection is the final proof of the authority He displayed through the multitude of things He did for people while alive. It means He is the Messiah and is able to establish the Kingdom of God on earth without the consequences of sin or infection.
Let us come together, to remember and celebrate everything this coming week (a Holy Week) represents. My favorite service of the year is our “Last Supper” service on Wednesday night. It is a more intimate reminder of the relationship Jesus established with His disciples and desires to have with us. I hope and pray that this coming week will provide you the opportunity to reflect on the things Jesus is committed to doing for us into eternity and how much He wants to know us as His followers in the present life.