There have been certain things that I’ve endured in this life that have made me long for Jesus and His return in a extra real way. Certain experiences have given me eyes to see what my heart longs for…to be home. Truly home. The home I was created for. Some physical and emotional pains made me cry out for my Savior to come quickly. But more recently, engagement last year and pregnancy this year have been the biggest earthly echoes of my heart’s longing to be with my Father.
People glamorize being engaged, but in all honesty, we hated it. We were in this already but not yet state. And it was awful. For a nonbeliever, I can see how it would be just fine. But for the believer, it is a very real picture of being on this earth and only wanting to be with our Maker in our true home. Being in this place of longing and knowing there is something greater to come, is not easy. It teaches you contentment, joy, and steadfastness.
Waiting for your child is the same. Whether it is through a painful pregnancy or the long adoption process, you long so much for what is to come and have to learn to endure the momentary pain and heartache.
And finally, Holy Week has created in me a similar longing. As I’ve learned to walk with Jesus and His apostles through this remarkable and absolutely crazy week over the years, my heart draws nearer to my Maker’s.
After escaping the season of Lent, we declare that Jesus is the King of Kings on Palm Sunday.
As he was drawing near–already on the way down the Mount of Olives–the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”
We begin to prepare our hearts for all that Jesus says and endures throughout the week on this joyous Sunday.
And then we come to Holy Thursday. At our church, we celebrate this by having, what we call, Jesus Feast. It is our version of the Passover meal. We gather together to feast and celebrate the Lord’s initiation of the eucharist and celebrate the Lord’s presence with us. We pray, sing, listen to the Scriptures read and blessings over the food, fellowship, eat and drink deeply. It is a night where we remember the mighty meek acts that took place right before our Savior’s betrayal. We gather to remember, and we gather to anticipate. On this Thursday, Jesus washed His disciples’ feet. He feasted with them, even with the one who would betray Him in just moments. He described what would soon happen to Himself, in His mysteriously divine way, as He broke bread and gave wine.
And when the hour came, he reclined at the table, and the apostles with him. And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide among yourselves. For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.
But the bright feasting and celebrating leads into the darkness of Good Friday. We travel from feasting to mourning in mere hours. Our joyous, conversing community on Thursday turns into silent, weary travelers on Friday. We embark on the somber journey of the seven last words of Christ and remember the cross. We watch the altar be stripped of the linens, banners, tablecloths, and candles. Decorations and adornments are taken away. Hope seems to be lost with the setting sun as our Savior breathes His last and gives His life.
It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, while the sun’s light failed. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Then Jesus, calling our with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last.
As we head our separate ways on Friday night in silence, we long for Sunday to come. And waking up on Easter Sunday morning is just the best. We can declare that He is risen! He is risen indeed! We rest in the security of God’s prophecies being fulfilled in our precious Savior.
“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in that which I create; for behold, I create Jerusalem to be a joy, and her people to be a gladness. I will rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in my people; no more shall be heard in it the sound of weeping and the cry of distress. No more shall there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not fill out his days, for the young man shall die a hundred years old, and the sinner a hundred years old shall be accursed. They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit. They shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat; for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be, and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands. They shall not labor in vain or bear children for calamity, for they shall be the offspring of the blessed of the Lord, and their descendants with them. Before they call I will answer; while they are yet speaking I will hear. The wolf and the lamb shall graze together; the lion shall eat straw like the ox, and dust shall be the serpent’s food. They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain,” says the Lord.
There is no way to separate the resurrection of Jesus from the resurrection to come. Death was defeated. Sin was conquered. Hope was restored.
And now we can daily live in that hope. Hope that sickness and disease will be no more. Hope that sin will not tempt us. Hope that tears will not flood our eyes. Hope that children won’t be left as orphans. Hope that suffering will come to an end. Hope that He is making all things new.
May the beautiful mercies, sweet forgiveness, awful agony, and hope-filled rejoicing of Holy week lead us to long to be home. Long to be with our Savior. Give us joy, hope, peace, and gladness. May the Lord fill us with wondrous delight for His glorious return and joy to live for Him in the here and now. May He grant us His peace as we endure and enjoy this life.