Summary: A look at the words spoken during the final week of Jesus’ life.
Move #1: Introduction
- Every year, Ozark Christian College puts together an Easter program that’s filled with drama and music highlighting the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. And for several years in a row, I was a part of the production. Not as a singer! But as one of the actors. In fact, two of the three years that I was in it, I was Pontius Pilate and I actually had the same lines both years. I was the one who questioned Jesus, who spit on him, who knocked him around. And I remember one year, towards the end of the scene, after I am done addressing the crowds, saying something like,
"Shall I crucify your King?"
And the crowds yell back, "Crucify Him! Crucify Him!"
- It’s a powerful scene taken straight from the Scripture. And then I walk over to the bowl of water, dip my hands in it, and wash them saying, "I am innocent of this man’s blood." And the way we did it, was after I said those words, in disgust, I would grab the bowl and flip it in the air for dramatic intensity. Well the 2nd year I did this, I really got into it, and I washed my hands, and I grabbed and flipped it in the air, and water went all over the place, but almost of it ended up on the servant girl who was on her knees holding up the bowl for me. The funny part is that the servant girl that year happened to be my girlfriend, who is now my wife. And I doused her with water. Poor Stacey!
- It’s hard to get those images out of our mind when we see them. If you have ever been to an Easter Pageant that is well done, then you can see it, you can see Jesus being led, being put on trial, being crucified. Or if you have seen movies that portray all the events of this coming week, it’s hard to get those images that we see out of our mind.
Move #2: Palm Sunday
- But this morning instead of seeing, I want us to hear. I want us to listen to all the sounds that fill this final week of Jesus life. As you know, this Sunday is Palm Sunday. It’s the day that Jesus came strolling in to Jerusalem riding on the donkey. And you can hear the crowds in the streets, yelling, "Hosanna! Hosanna in the highest! Save us, rescue us, deliver us! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord." You can just hear the desperation in their voices, as they plead with Jesus to rise up and become their King, to overthrow the Roman oppression. To establish himself as Messiah. You can hear what they wanted, they wanted a King, an Earthly King. Like King David of old.
- But that’s not what Jesus came to do. In fact, listen to what Jesus said about himself shortly before Palm Sunday... "The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."
- Did you hear it? Did you hear who he was, what he came to do?
Move #3: Thursday Night
- But now I want us to fast forward a few days. Sunday he enters on a donkey. On Thursday he gathers his disciples, shares a final meal with them. He indicates that Judas will betray him, and then Jesus stands up and goes over to the basin. The water used by the slaves. He takes off his outer garment, kneels down at the feet of each disciple and gently washes their dirty, grimy, smelly feet. He then rises, breaks the bread and lifts the cup and you’ve already heard what he said,
"Take and eat, this is my body. Drink from it, this is my blood which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins."
- You can almost hear the astonishment, the confusion in the disciples gasps as they watch and listen to Jesus. Then later that night, you can hear Jesus in the garden, laying prostrate on the ground, sweating drops of blood. His disciples asleep. And did you hear what Jesus prayed,
"My father, if it is possible, may this cup, this suffering I am about to experience, may it be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.
Move #4: The Cross
- Then comes the guards, the betrayal, the arrest, the trial. It’s Friday morning, Jesus has been beaten and mocked, and now comes time for his death. I want you to hear it this morning. It’s important that we not only see the cross, we must also hear the cross.