We’re in the midst of Holy Week, that period stretching from Palm Sunday that culminates with Easter or Resurrection Sunday. This is an especially meaningful time for followers of Christ because we commemorate the sacrifices that led to the Cross and ultimately the victory of an empty tomb.Over the last six weeks as I’ve contemplated the biblical events, I’ve been aware of various television projects dealing with the Bible narratives. National Geographic recently aired its mini-series Killing Jesus. In 2013, the mini-series The Bible received generous praise, leading to its follow-up A.D. The Bible Continues which will air on Easter Sunday. There may be others. (I tend to avoid these productions anyway; in full disclosure, I have yet to view any of the aforementioned.)
Even though I haven’t posted this year about Holy Week, the biblical events aren’t far from my mind. My mental conversations of late begin with the question: do you really believe Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is coming back? Now don’t get me wrong. Of course, I believe it! I am as sure of this coming event as I am in knowing if I took a knife to my flesh I would bleed.
An analogy might be helpful. During each of my pregnancies, the ob-gyn made certain calculations and came up with a projected due date for the child’s arrival. For all four children, the due dates were off by about twelve or more days. Our first child was due on May 10th but didn’t make her appearance until May 31st.
Given the “lateness” of each child’s arrival, I still never once believed he or she wouldn’t come. That would have been ridiculous! It’s like making an appointment with oneself … at the end of gestation, an infant is going to arrive, in most cases without complications or adverse issues, thankfully.
But it’s different with Jesus. Those of us who are Christians have this confidence He is going to return, but I’ve lived with that concept all my life … and it hasn’t happened yet. The New Testament writers believed Jesus would return during their lifetime … again, it didn’t happen for them. We have this expectation – and it’s good to live reflecting on that expectation – but in our minds, it becomes nebulous, vague.
This is not a crisis of faith, let me emphasize. It is a concern about complacency! If I knew Christ would return tomorrow, I believe I’d be living my life differently, with urgency and boundless energy! Wouldn’t you? If we knew He’d be present thirty-eight weeks from today (the average length of a pregnancy), the date would be marked in red on our calendar … and as the date drew nearer, we’d experience something akin to the nesting instinct a woman experiences as her pregnancy winds down!
The disciples who lived with Jesus Christ during His earthly ministry experienced a similar lack of urgency. The Thursday before Christ was crucified, Jesus and his men sat down for a quiet Passover meal in a private room prepared for them. They sat around the table talking with their friends and enjoying what is known as The Last Supper. Jesus even told them His death was imminent … but they were far more interested in discussing which among them was the greatest! (Read their discussion in Luke 22:24-30.)
Considering that meal, I wrote the sonnet below … as much a narrative about the historic disciples as a reminder to me of my own complacency. Thursday of Holy Week included The Last Supper as well as betrayal. But Sunday’s coming!