As we observe the weeks surrounding Jesus’s Passion and Resurrection, we walk with his disciples through an amazing period of ups and downs, despair and reversals, and deep mysteries of our faith. Seven things stand out.
- ONE The last supper. John’s Gospel provides a record of Jesus’s final actions and teachings with his disciples over the Passover, the night before he died. In the Upper Room Discourse, he tells them, “Let not your hearts be troubled (Jn 14:27). He instructs them, “I am the way, the truth, and the life… 14:6. In the course of the Upper Room Discourse tells them three times he expects them to love one another (Jn 13:34, 14:32 15:17), a very significant repetition of his command to us. He assures them the Holy Spirit will come, 14:16-17, 26, and that it is good for them that Jesus will leave them so that the Father and Jesus can send them this Spirit.
- TWO His Passion and Crucifixion. After their final meal together and after they hear all the profound and amazing things Jesus has to say, his followers then see perhaps the worst day in human history. But in a way could it be said it is the best day in human history? Because it is the day Jesus proclaims, “it is finished.” His once for all atoning work, sufficient for all people, is completed, is accomplished.
- THREE. In the tomb three days. The disciples cower in that upper room for three dreadful days. Everything they hoped for has been shattered. The man they followed and loved for three years has been gruesomely killed and is gone. They fear for their own lives. Can we even imagine how they felt?
- FOUR – Resurrection, Easter!! Then on the third day they learn their Messiah has risen from the dead. It is overwhelming, incomprehensible, and joyous all at once. Their mad rollercoaster of emotions and experiences continues.
- FIVE – 40 days Jesus is with them. They are reunited with Jesus, he walks with them, talks with them, preaches to and teaches many (500 at once one time). Everything is unbelievably good again, fantastic, wonderful. But, it does not last, as Jesus then ASCENDS to the Fahter, leaving them yet again (Acts Chapter 1). But it is what he said he would do (Jn 14:28). He had to leave them; he came down he must return. In fact it is to our advantage, as Jesus said, for many reasons. Because the Holy Spirit will come, Jesus will be our advocate with the Father, and even so Jesus will be with us to the end of the age (Matthew 28). Yes, his return is to our advantage, but imagine how difficult for his disciples at that time to see this.
- SIX – Jesus sends the apostles sent back to Jerusalem to ….. WAIT! (John 16:7-8). They had been given a specific charge by Jesus to be his witnesses, but at first he sends them back to wait for the Holy Spirit. Another ten days they are closeted in an upper room, waiting, unsure, in fear. What must have been going through their minds! They had Jesus, they lost him horribly, then they had him again, and then again they lost him! It is hard to imagine or comprehend what they experienced and how they maintained faith and unity, but they did.
- SEVEN – Pentecost, the church is born! After those ten long days the Holy Spirit descended on the apostles and they and the whole world were transformed. They set the world on fire. Like them, we wait for the Pentecost, pray for the Holy Spirit, and trust God.
John 15:26 “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. 27 And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning. 16 1“I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away. 2 They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God. 3 And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor me. 4 But I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told them to you.
The Work of the Holy Spirit
“I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. 5 But now I am going to him who sent me, and none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ 6 But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. 7 Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. 8 And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; 11 concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.