Monday, March 29, 2010

Holy Monday

This is Holy Week - the week that Christians remember that which took place during the last week of the Lord's earthly life. We have to be careful how we say that, for the Lord did have an earthly life after Sunday - since He bodily rose from the dead. This is the last week of Jesus' state of humiliation. After Friday, after He has been laid in the tomb, Jesus begin His state of exaltation. He will show Himself to be the Son of God, not just in word but in action. It is truly a glorious time.

Today is Monday, the day that follows the excitement of Palm Sunday - which in itself is quite the experience. The people would have returned to their camps and their families with a real excitement. They had been part of a parade of sorts. They had hailed Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of David, the Promised One of old. It was a powerful day. Imagine being on a spiritual mountaintop. That is the people at the end of Sunday. They were praising God for all that they had heard and seen - which was just as the prophets had said. (Read Zechariah 9:9 for a taste of the prophecy.)

Monday dawns and Jesus heads back to Jerusalem after spending the night in Bethany, probably at the house of Mary and Martha and Lazarus. The worm turns. The religious leaders begin to go on the attack. They know what the events of Sunday meant. And they were not ready to accept them.

Read Luke 20-21 and you get a real taste of the battle that is taking place on Monday and Tuesday. I can only imagine how the disciples must have been confused. Jesus was hailed as the King of the Jews on Sunday, a day of celebration only to be attacked over and over again on Monday and Tuesday. How could this be?

We face that in our lives. We hail Jesus as the King of kings, the Savior, the Son of God as we celebrate over the weekend (at least I hope you celebrated by attending worship and hearing the Word of God). We join in the festal procession to the altar of the Lord as we receive the body and blood of our Lord in the blessed Sacrament. And then we are attacked - mercilessly. Satan, the world and our sinful nature go on the attack. They seek to make us doubt that Jesus is the Savior, the One who is there for us day after day. "How can you believe that Jesus is with you when you see the struggle of your fellow man? How can you expect Jesus is the Son of God when you suffer from cancer, heart problems, or a whole host of other physical ailments? How can you expect that Jesus is the ruler of all when jobs are lost, income is slashed, and financial woes increased? How? How?" And we begin to...

doubt? Do you begin to doubt? That is what is meant to happen. Satan wants you to doubt. Christ Jesus warns you of this over and over again. Read Luke 21. He says, "Stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place and to stand before the Son of Man." (Luke 21:36 ESV) We will be attacked. Only through the power of the Holy Spirit, only as we are strengthened by Word and Sacrament, can we stand firm in faith, ready for the return of Christ. Only in that way - not in ourselves or in our power - will we be able to overcome the temptations that we face.

Holy Week - a powerful week. We will continue to address this (each day, hopefully, if I make the time for it). Watch and pray that you fall into no temptation.

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