Read His Words Before Ours!
Last words are a big deal. Tragedy strikes and lives are cut short, some before we expected them. Some had been slowly watching their last moments pass, knowing the end was approaching. We scroll through final words on Facebook, last Instagram posts, or a person’s last tweet to give us insight into who they were and what they valued.
This Easter, as we prepare to celebrate the victory we have through Christ’s sacrifice, we invite you to journey with us as we study the final words of our Lord. What did they reveal about His passions, His heart, His loves and what do they offer us for everyday life?
Jesus was one day away from His impending death.
He knew the agony that awaited Him.
It was almost done, this work that He, the Father, and the Spirit had cumulatively, as one Body, One God, agreed to begin centuries prior. The culmination of 3 years of ministry down to one last day, which would give way to last hours, to last minutes, to final seconds before…death.
Sandals have come off. Dirty feet have been washed, not by a household slave, but by the Lord of Life. Humility doesn’t get any more real than this, or so it seemed at the time. The feet that had walked all across Galilee with Jesus were now being held tenderly by the Ruler of Creation as He knelt before his disciples, his closest friends, and washed away their dirt, just as He would wash away their sin the next day.
Their Master had become their servant.
Dinner was ready, and as they moved ceremoniously through the Passover meal, the one Jesus Himself had longed to have with them because it was the fulfillment of so very many threads that had been woven all throughout the tapestry of history, there was one more prophecy to fulfill and He agonized over it. Jesus was deeply troubled. Wounded. He knew betrayal was coming from one He loved as brother. As Jesus prepared to breath new life into an ancient tradition, revealing the depth of Himself in the wine and the bread, He first let Judas’s choice stand. Rather than partake in life, Judas chose death.
And Jesus honored Judas’s decision, though it grieved His heart.
Another denial was coming, and like Judas’s betrayal, Jesus knew about it. He knew before this moment when dinner was finished, but they still reclined on cushions. Together, savoring their time. But pressure would soon cause them to break apart, fleeing in all directions. Even those who unswervingly insisted otherwise. Even bold Peter.
“Simon, Simon.” Jesus said, turning His eyes to Peter, “Satan demanded to have each and every one of you all, that he might sift you all like wheat, but I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail.”
And fail it would not, even though, yes, Peter would three times deny He ever knew Jesus at all, Peter’s guilt wouldn’t destroy him as it would Judas.
Jesus preserved Peter’s faith.
Emotions ran high, the disciples knew that what was about to happen was significant, though they couldn’t grasp at its fullness, despite their three years with Jesus. They worried about where He would go, how they would go on without Him, what their purpose would be. Jesus comforted them and urged them to love. Love deeply. Love well. Love when the world said hate. Love because they are loved. Love because victory was theirs. Love for the joy that was found in unity with Him. Love.
Jesus called them to love.
Then a beautiful thing, this Savior did. This deity wrapped in skin, held up by bones, He did something very familiar, but very intimate.
As every eye was watching Him, He lifted up His eyes to the Father God, and began to pray. Deeply. From His heart.
He prayed for glorification, for their work as the godhead to be made complete.
He prayed for the eleven who were with Him, rejoicing that they were His and He was theirs. He prayed for their sanctification that they might be ever increasingly shaped by truth.
And then Jesus prayed for me. He prayed for you, Sister in Christ. He prayed for all who would believe in His name in the centuries to come. He prayed for our unity, that we might so beautifully reflect the unity He enjoyed within the godhead of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He prayed that we would know the depths of His love for us. He prayed for our eternal victory that we might see His glory. He wrapped us in His unfathomable love, hemming us in on all sides with His prayer for us that, together, we might make Him known to the world.
His final hours.
His closest friends.
He was transparent.
He was purposed.
He was the fulfillment.
He was both King and Servant.
He was Love.
This God who gave His life as a ransom for many; He was not distant, set far apart, un-willing to enter in to our mess.
He loved in the middle of it all by giving the fullness of Himself to us.
Is this the God you know?
Is this the One you worship this Easter?
Or have you made Him much smaller?
Much more manageable?
I pray Lord Jesus for my friends who are reading this now. Break their hearts wide open this Easter, break mine, as You help us understand the fullness You offer. Show us the depths of Your passionate heart and teach us to love as You have loved us!
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!