Prince of Peace: From the Cradle to the Crown and Beyond
Jesus’ Last Months on Earth, Part 2
In yesterday’s Lenten post (Day 37), we turned our attention from Jesus’ model of prayer to His final months on earth. During this season we normally hear sermons that on Jesus’ last week on earth (a.k.a., “Holy Week”). However, good detectives create timelines; because they know that the days and weeks leading up to a crime can reveal important details, such as the perpetrator’s motives. Thus, I proposed that we examine the time period leading up to Palm Sunday via concentrating on Jesus’ Perseverance, Preparation, and Presentation. We used Gordon Smith’s* concise timeline of Jesus’ Ministry to explore His final months and concluded that Jesus demonstrated Perseverance with no signs of slowing down. He also remained vigilant against satan’s attempts to thwart God’s plan of salvation via assassination. Today we will continue our study with Jesus’ Preparations.
What Preparations did Jesus Make Prior to Palm Sunday?
In our society, when an individual knows that they are going to die, they often make preparations to get their affairs in order. This may involve preparing a living will, which is a document that details the individual’s wishes concerning their medical treatment in the event that there they are unable to give informed consent. Additionally, the individual may create a will or review an existing one make certain that their desires will be carried out after their death, such as naming an executor, appointing guardians for their children and property, financial arrangements for any debts and taxes, and provision for pets. However, as a nomadic preacher, Jesus didn’t need either a living nor a regular will, because He didn’t have any property or other possessions to bequeath. On the other hand, He did have preparations that were of the utmost priority, especially as He prepared for His final trip to Jerusalem. AndSmith’s* timeline confirms this: “Jesus now travels towards Jerusalem for the last time (Mt 20:17; Mk 10:32; Lk 18:31). Passing through Jericho he heals one (or two) blind men (Mt 20:29; Mk 10:46; Lk 18:35) and converts Zacchaeus the tax collector (Lk 19:1).”
Thus, while Jesus knew what to expect on His final journey, the disciples had not yet grasped what lay ahead. Consequently, one of Jesus’ preparations was to ready them for His imminent crucifixion and resurrection (Mt. 20: 17-19; Mk. 10: 32-34; Lk. 18:31). Luke summarized this reality: “The disciples did not understand any of this. Its meaning was hidden from them, and they did not know what he was talking about,” (Lk. 18:34, NIV). Yet, we find it difficult to fathom how they could have missed what seems so obvious, “Again he took the Twelve aside and told them what was going to happen to him. “We are going up to Jerusalem,” he said, “and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles, who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he will rise,” (Mk. 10:32-34, NIV). Of course it’s clear to us, because we have the complete Scriptures and we know how the story ends—hindsight is 20/20.
Tomorrow we will focus on Jesus’ Presentation.
Blessings & Peace
Elizabeth Hogan Hayduk
Former Salvation Army Officer (pastor)