Today is the day we remember the Last Supper, Jesus' agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, His betrayal and arrest, and the beginning's of His false trials.
One thing that tends to get missed is a message that Jesus shared with His disciples right after the Last Supper. He shares with His disciples some of the most beloved and powerful pieces of the whole Bible. I believe He wanted these ideas to guide them through His coming death and resurrection.
So as we prepare for Good Friday and Easter Sunday, lets take a look at what Jesus said to His disciples in preparation for the most significant weekend in all of history.
As we see the events of the betrayal, false trial, flogging, and crucifixion of Jesus, its hard not to wonder how this could all be a part of God's plan. Why would God allow it?
Because it was the only way. It was the only way for a sinner like you and me to be forgiven by a good and just God. It was the only way for any of us to return to the Father. When Jesus died on the cross, He took the penalty for our sin so that we do not have to. He took the wrath of God on Himself so that we could escape Hell. He took our death so that the grave would not have victory of us. His resurrection is the proof.
All of our hope, all of our futures, all of our destinies, all of our desires for forgiveness, all of our eternities. . . it all depends on Jesus. Only Jesus can save us. Only Jesus can open the doors of heaven to us. No good work, no other religion, no magic prayer, no amount of tithing, no ritual. . . nothing but Jesus can get us to heaven.
As we look at the cross and the resurrection, be reminded that this was the only way for us to be saved. Be amazed that even though the cost was the cross, Jesus was willing to pay that price to make our salvation possible.
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever -- John 14:16
It must have been terrifying for the disciples to lose their friend, rabbi, and master in such a horrific way. Jesus knew they would be scared and feel lost without Him, but He promised that He would send the Holy Spirit to be with believers forever.
As you and I remember our own sins that led Jesus to the cross and the new life He demonstrated in the resurrection, let's remember that He sent the Holy Spirit to guide us. We have the Holy Spirit with us to help us overcome the sins of our old lives and put them to death. We have the Holy Spirit to shape us and make us more and more Christlike each day. Jesus may have ascended into Heaven, but His Spirit is with us forever.
"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. -- John 15:5
Jesus knew that His death would cause many of His disciples to be confused. He knew many of them would think it was time to stop following Him. But Jesus tells them to remain in Him and He tells them why they need to. Not only is Jesus the only way for us to be saved, its through Him alone that we can do anything of lasting significance at all. Even though Jesus knew He was leaving, He calls His disciples to remain or abide in Him. What does that mean? How do we do that? By loving Him and obeying Him.
As you reflect on the love of Christ for you on the cross and the great power of God shown in the resurrection, let that stir you to forever love and obey Jesus. Eternal life after death means that this life is short and the next one is the one that really matters. If we spend this life living for things that don't matter, we'll discover all too late that we spent our lives doing nothing. But if we spend this life constantly pursuing, loving, and obeying Jesus, we will look back on a life that bore much fruit and gained us eternal rewards.
Have you trusted in Jesus as the only way for you to be saved?
Are you relying on and obeying the Holy Spirit as He works to make you more like Christ?
Are you abiding in Christ by loving Him and obeying Him daily?