Summary: Holy Week is the final week in God’s plan to get us back!
What Did Jesus Do?
TEXT: Philippians 2:8 “And in human form he obediently humbled himself even further by dying a criminal’s death on a cross.”
MAIN THEME/TOPIC: What did Jesus do during Holy Week? He got ready to die for our salvation!
MAIN POINT: Holy Week is the final week in God’s plan to get us back!
1. Sometime in the mid-1990s a youth group developed a bracelet that would become a best selling item in just a short time. Its four letters, WWJD, would be on not just bracelets, but posters, jewelry of all kinds, and also the subjects of sermons and the basis for books and curricula for teens and adults and a top-selling song. WWJD What Would Jesus Do?
2. The point of WWJD has been to make us stop and consider our actions and attitudes in light of Christ’s actions that are recorded in the first four books of the New Testament - the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John - actions that climax during this week – Holy Week. Today, I want us to reflect on a different set of letters, WDJD – What Did Jesus Do - for two reasons: to acquaint or re-acquaint ourselves with some of the events of that week and to more fully understand that holy week was the final week in God’s plan to get us back.
3. As we walk through this very important week, we are going to read segments of the story, primarily in Mark’s account. As we read through each segment, I want us to reflect on this question: Why did Jesus do this?
4. Jesus Reflected - Mark 11:1-11
On the first day of the last week before His death, Jesus entered Jerusalem and Mark notes in verse 11, “So Jesus. . . went into the Temple. He looked around carefully at everything, and then he left because it was late in the afternoon.” Why did he look around carefully? What was going through his mind?
We know what Jesus was up to as we read in verse 15. He was getting ready to cleanse the Temple. But, then was not the time because it was late in the afternoon, the group that He wanted to confront was not there. In the morning it would be.
But one thing was clear to Jesus at that point: It was becoming less and less the Temple – a House of Prayer - and more and more a marketplace – a den of thieves. As He looked around He grew angry, because this was not what His Father had in mind. Jesus reflected on the condition of the Temple because He knew that it reflected the condition of the occupants’ hearts. Why did Jesus do this?
Jesus did this because He was the Son of God whose mission was to turn hearts back to His Father and the plan that had been in place to make that turning back possible was not working our anymore. And so, as we turn to our next segment, His anger and frustration spilled out.
5. Jesus Got Angry – Mark 11:15 - 22
Now what does anger have to do this final week? We’ve been told that one of the reasons that we experience anger is due to the fact that we feel cheated about something at some point and we are angry that we have been cheated out of that something.
Was this the same kind of anger that Jesus had that next morning as he drove out the merchants and their customers? They were there because the sacrificial requirements, set down by God the Father, required the use of certain animals to atone for their sins and they needed to get them from somewhere so why not right there in the Temple?
But, what Jesus saw that morning, and the day before, and the day before that, and the time before that, was not what the Father had in mind. What Jesus saw was far from the original intent of God when He had given the Law, the practices and rituals of faith, to Moses and the people of Israel. They were practices and rituals that were designed to help them to live in a right relationship with God. But, those purposes were not evident, as Jesus knew in His three years of ministry, in the lives of those who proclaimed the faith, but did not live it out. And that is what made Jesus angry.
How do we know this? We have to look at what happened after this incident. When they returned to Jerusalem the next day (they were staying in Bethany, close to Jerusalem) a fig tree that had been cursed by Jesus the previous morning was noticed by the disciples to have withered. As it was called to Jesus’ attention, the reason for anger came into the discussion. It had to do with faith.