What Is Going On Here?

I often wonder what it would be like to be one of the original followers of Jesus. Can you imagine what it would be like to see and hear, first hand, all that Jesus said and did? Imagine for a moment the last week of Jesus’ life. Would it be hard to make sense of what Jesus was doing those last few days?

Of course, you wouldn’t know it was his last few days. To you, it would seem to be just like any other Passover celebration. But then again, the week did start a little strange…Imagine hearing Jesus tell you “Go into the village, and you’ll find a donkey that no one has ridden—bring it me.” So you do as Jesus asks, and you watch as he rides that donkey in his triumphal entry into Jerusalem…(Mark 11.1-10).

The next day, your Lord curses a fig tree…and then you watch as your meek leader enters the Temple complex, with an intensity in his eyes, and begins to over turn the tables. A righteous indignation. What do you make of that? (Mark 11.12-19)

Later, while Jesus was sitting for dinner at Simon the leper’s house, a woman comes rushing in with a jar of expensive perfume. You watch as she breaks the flask and pours it on Jesus head. By now, maybe you should be used to this kind of stuff…but still, you are left wondering (as the fragrance lingers in your nose), “What is going on here?” (Mark 14.3-9)

The Passover is quickly approaching by now, so you ask Jesus where  he wants to celebrate the meal. He sends you and one of the other disciples into town with another set of strange instructions: “Go, you’ll meet someone carrying water. Follow him. Go to the master of his house and tell him that I need my guest room. He’ll show you a room with all we need. Prepare there.” You aren’t surprised by much now, but you can’t help but think this week is getting stranger and stranger… (Mark 14.12-16)

The next several hours are a chaotic blur. ”Betrayal…Take; this is my body…This is my blood of the covenant…” Prayers in the garden of Gethsemane…Judas, a kiss, soldiers, a sword, a council…a denial, two more denials…chants of “Crucify him!”…a cross… (Mark 14.22-15.41)

Then nothing…only a tomb…What is going on here? (Mark 15.42-47)

But then strange news! The tomb is empty! What could this mean? “He has risen; he is not here.” (Mark 16.6).

Fear & astonishment. That’s how these disciples responded to all this, and I imagine I would respond similarly. Jesus doesn’t always do things the way we’d expect…he’s often surprising and mysterious. But when we open up to his surprising work in our lives, we realize he’s been at work all along, working to bring about our new life in him. “He has risen; he is not here.” — The strange, surprising announcement that makes sense of everything.



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