The time was drawing near. Jesus knew that the events of the next few days would be the pivotal point of all history. It would be the weekend that changed everything.
He had been in Jerusalem since the first of the week. Passover was at hand, and the city was full to overflowing for the holiday weekend. But only He understood the impact that the next three days would make on the world.
Jesus said goodbye.
As they came together for the Passover meal, Jesus showed that He loved His disciples to the end. He prepared them for the coming days, telling them just what they needed to know.
- He washed their feet, then explained that they were to follow His example by serving one another (see John 13:1-15).
- He transformed the Passover meal into the Lord’s Supper, showing that His sacrifice on the cross was the ultimate fulfillment of the Mosaic law (see Matthew 26:26-29).
- He predicted that Peter would deny Him and the rest would desert Him, but they would be reunited with Him (see Mark 14:26-31).
- He explained how they would be persecuted because of Him, but that the Holy Spirit would strengthen and direct them after He was gone (see John 15:18-16:15).
- He prayed for Himself, for His disciples, and for all of us who believe in Him because of their witness (see John 17).
Jesus wanted to stay with His disciples, but He knew that His real purpose prevented that from happening. He had to say goodbye.
Jesus fought the decisive battle.
Leading His disciples into Gethsemane, Jesus turned to prayer. It was His source of strength throughout His ministry. Connecting with His Father was always His top priority. He told His disciples to pray, too, but sleep overcame their desire to keep watch.
His human nature didn’t want to face the pain and suffering. He may have wanted to keep hanging with His disciples. But Jesus completely submitted Himself to His Father’s will. Without Jesus’ willingness to be our sacrifice, we would be without hope.
It’s important to note that Jesus’ decision was the moment of victory. Although Satan’s hour was at hand, God was orchestrating events to ensure the salvation of the world. From this point forward, Jesus simply followed His Father’s plan to its climax. There were still hours of suffering ahead of Him, but the question had been settled.
Jesus was arrested.
As Judas led the mob into the garden, the disciples quickly prepared for battle. But Jesus allowed Himself to be seized without resisting. He willingly gave up His earthly freedom because it was the only way to the cross.
Jesus was betrayed.
As predicted, Peter and the others deserted their Master. Their bravado in the upper room had been just a show. Although they put up token resistance, they realized they were no match for the soldiers. With paper thin courage, they ran.
Jesus was beaten.
The Jewish leaders and their soldiers took out three years of frustration on Jesus. They ran a kangaroo court and then physically and emotionally abused Him. It was obvious to everyone that they were finally taking action on their promise to destroy Him.
Jesus was alone.
Fearing his own arrest, Peter denied knowing Jesus three times. His denial was perhaps more painful for Jesus than all of the physical blows. As the sun rose and the cock crowed, Jesus found Himself all alone.
When have you found it hard to say goodbye?
Photo by Jason Rogers