Yesterday was Palm Sunday, our beginning to Holy Week. Each day this week will feature key events during the final week of the life of Jesus before his crucifixion; each day brings us a step closer to the cross. Today, I invite you to put yourself in Jesus' shoes during this week.
I don't know of anyone who wants to know the exact time they're going to die. Death remains a mystery, and that's as it should be. For Christ, however, it wasn't a mystery; it was a certainty. He knew the exact day he would be nailed to a cross at a place called The Skull. He knew when he awoke that Monday morning he would be dead before sundown on Friday. It was a guarantee, an immutable fact. Nothing could delay his agonizing death so much as a single hour.
Yet he went anyway. He walked, he preached, he cleansed the temple, he prayed, he shared a meal with his disciples. He was betrayed, denied, beaten, spurned, mocked. And all the while, he knew how it would end for him. He knew the moment Judas left the table in the upper room that the next time he saw him would be when his disciple, his friend, came to deliver him into the hands of his enemies to be executed. But he still entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. He still lived that final week doing what needed to be done, never giving a thought to Calvary except on that final night in the garden. I can't imagine what that would have been like.
To be fair, I suppose it would be easier to die knowing you wouldn't stay dead. Just as the cross was certain for Jesus, so was the resurrection. The cross would mean death, but it wouldn't mean the end. The end was abundant life and resurrection -- the very things we can share if only we believe.