Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
HASHA: PASSION WEEK
v67-68 “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve. Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go?”
We have just entered into the final stretch of the Great Lent season. It refers to the penitential period preceding the Easter. It is a time for reflection. It is a time of transformation. Lent focuses on the passion and death of Christ in preparation for His resurrection. Meditating on the passion of Christ is a very appropriate way to evoke sorrow for our sins and firm purpose of amendment, fulfilling two of the elements necessary for reconciliation with God in the sacrament of penance. The most important meditations on the Passion can be found in the inspired Word of God, especially in the Gospels. Several prophets also foretold the suffering of Christ; some of the most well-known prophecies of the “Suffering Servant” include those found in Isaiah 53.
No moments in history deserve more quiet reflection than the hours of Jesus’ suffering on the cross just before His death. Death on a cross should not only have been the most excruciating but also the most humiliating event. The angels of heaven must have gone silent as the Lord of the universe suffered in dimensions far greater than could ever be portrayed on the big screen or a reenactment. What happened in the dark shadows of gnarled and twisted olive trees can bring our hearts not only to sad wonder but to a lifetime of gratefulness.
In our Bible lesson in John’s Gospel, we are told that many of Jesus’ disciples drew back and no longer followed Him. This is a turning point in our Lord’s ministry, where He confronts the Twelve with the question, “You do not want to leave too, do you?” This is a frequent phenomenon in our lives as well. Many of the disciples when they heard it, said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?” It is little wonder that the disciples found the discourse of Jesus hard. What Jesus had said was hard and difficult to accept, but His words were clearly understood. The problem was not in their understanding, but in their hearts. Time and again, it is not the intellectual difficulty which keeps people from becoming true followers of Christ; it is the height of His moral demand. The real difficulty of the journey of faith is two-fold. It demands an act of total surrender to Christ, an acceptance of Him as the final authority, and it demands a moral standard of the highest level. Some may have been disappointed that He refused to become the conquering king that they had anticipated. Others may have found His instructions too threatening. Jesus offers eternal life, but He requires acceptance of Himself as Savior and Lord. This means His agenda must become His followers’ agenda as well. And that is unacceptable to many would be disciples because they are looking for worldly ego, self-centered fame, stimulating pleasures and human recognition.
When Jesus asked the Twelve, You do not want to leave, do you? Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that You are the Holy One of God.” Peter spoke for all apostles. He was their leader and spokesman. Peter called Jesus “Lord,” and used the title in its fullest meaning (vv. 68-69). Peter’s loyalty was based on a personal relationship to Jesus Christ. There were many things he did not understand; he was just as bewildered and puzzled as anyone else. But there was something about Jesus for which he would willingly die. In the final analysis, Christianity is not a philosophy which we accept, nor a theory to which we give allegiance. It is a personal response to Jesus Christ. It is the allegiance and love which a man gives because his heart will not allow him to do anything else.
Loving Father when we consider Your passion for saving us at the highest cost
of Your own blood, and the sacrifice You made on our behalf, we are humbled and deeply grateful. Thank You for taking our place.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
Our wayward and sinful life put Him on the Cross.
Orlando MTC., Florida
Christian Education Forum, Diocese of NAE of the Mar Thoma Church