Usually the weeks leading up to Easter, the Lenten season, are filled with joy. Spring is arriving with early flowers echoing the Resurrection. Practice begins for summer sports. And we look forward with anticipation to new clothes, a church celebration, and time with friends and family.
But this year, the year of COVID19, there are clouds of worry, fear, and apprehension. Many of the activities we have linked with Easter have been canceled or postponed.
So, let's take a walk with Jesus on his journey to the cross. We will make 4 "stops" to read what Jesus did, and understand how that can speak to us today. Let's read again the Easter story, the story that can give us hope and joy, even in our uncertain and confusing circumstances.
Jesus chose to journey to Jerusalem even though He knew what was ahead. He faced the certainty of the cross with unswerving obedience to His Father. The crowds cheering and worshipping Him, were the same crowds that would join the throngs shouting "Crucify Him!" a week later.
STOP 1 At the Temple
Jesus in the Temple
12 Jesus went into the temple and chased out everyone who was selling or buying. He turned over the tables of the moneychangers and the benches of the ones who were selling doves. 13 He told them, “The Scriptures say, ‘My house should be called a place of worship.’ But you have turned it into a place where robbers hide.”
We often hear this story called "Jesus cleansing the temple." But he wasn't just cleansing the temple, he was cleaning the people--reminding them that what belongs to God is sacred, holy, and precious, and not to be turned into opportunities for greed and sin.
We have this wonderful gift of the world slowing down. So, push away those clouds of apprehension for a few minutes and turn inward. Believers in Christ are vessels of God's Holy Spirit--sacred, holy and precious. But we are constantly in need of cleaning. May I suggest not only washing your hands today, but cleansing yourself as well. Do you need to forgive someone? Do you have some bitterness hiding inside? Are you secretly angry at someone and show it only by your attitude? What do you need to confess and change? Spend time with God, then, if you need to, make that phone call, write that email or letter, contact that person and make things right again.
Colossians 3:12 Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Susan Lawrence taught elementary school for 33 years before hanging up her chalkboard to write and speak. She writes novels for both adults and middle grade children. Susan lives in Iowa with her husband and short-legged Lab, Molly. She has 3 children and 7 grandchildren who love to hear her stories.