By Becky Schlofner
The Church considers the week from Palm (Passion) Sunday through the Saturday of the Easter Vigil to be the holiest week of the year. It is during this week that Jesus begins his final earthly destiny. He rides into Jerusalem on a donkey, preaches at the Temple, has the Passover meal, is betrayed, dies on the cross, and rises from the dead. Let’s walk this emotionally energized journey in Jesus’ shoes.
I awoke in Bethany with a heavy sigh this morning and a bit of sadness. My followers will look upon this as a joyful day, yet they have no idea of what is to come. They are still reveling over Lazarus. I’m almost there to begin my return to Jerusalem and fulfill what my Father has said.
The crowd shouts “Hosanna to the King!” My Kingdom is greater than any of you could dream of. Going through Jerusalem, we end at the Temple. It’s the end of the day. We’ll just bunk down somewhere in Bethany again for the night.
I woke up early today to get ready to preach back at the Temple in Jerusalem for a couple of days. There’s so much more for them to learn before everything starts cascading out of my control into my Father’s. I’ll tell them as much as I can in this short time.
As I have been preaching, I have seen the Sanhedrin in the back watching me suspiciously and whispering amongst themselves. I really don’t understand why they look at me as their enemy. Some are coming up to me now. I wonder what they have to say. Really? By whose authority do I speak? God’s, of course. Well, I stumped them when I threw back at them by whose authority did my cousin John speak.
Wednesday and I can’t take this anymore! Merchants from here to forever in the Temple area is not what Father wants. “People!” I reminded them, as I turned over all their tables, “This is a house of prayer, not a den of thieves”.
It’s Thursday, the day of Passover, tonight will be the night everything changes. “Father, I really wish we didn’t have to do what I know we must.” It is evening, and I have washed the feet of my Apostles, knowing they don’t understand why I would do such a thing. But they needed to see that not only am I the Son of God, but I am also very human. We had my last supper where I announced that I knew two of the twelve were to betray me. Peter and Judas think they love me beyond reproach, so that news didn’t go well. Perhaps they won’t betray me, if they know I can see it coming. I love these people so very much.
The same night when I went to Gethsemane to pray, some of my disciples came with me. I prayed long and hard all while being tempted by the devil to leave my destiny behind. When I was finished, I went back to the garden where my sleeping friends awoke to the commotion of Roman guards arresting me as Judas betrayed me.
Friday has arrived and I have been dragged in front of the Sanhedrin as they try to get me to say I am the Christ. They offered up false testimony of Laws I had broken. My Father’s Laws! Stop this now! In the meantime, Peter carries out his betrayal. “Abba, tell me again why I must go through all of this.” The Sanhedrin can’t figure out what to do with me so they decide to take me in front of Pontius Pilate.
The crowd is getting bigger and louder, denouncing me outside the Caesarea Maritima palace. My destiny is getting closer. They all just voted for Barabbas to stay alive and for Pilate to kill me. The Romans are brutal. Anguish and hopelessness engulf me.
This cross is getting heavier and heavier; nearly naked, I grow weaker and weaker. Walking these streets, I see people mourning over my future death and shouting for the glory of Rome. Dread has trickled into my being. Arriving at the top of the hill with the rest of the outlaws of Rome, the guards ready me to be hung. The pain of getting nailed to the cross is such a blinding pain that my whole body shakes. I hear my mother’s wail. Darkness is coming. I feel my last breath escape my being.
I’m awake in a wave of bright light, lying on a stone table, now wrapped in cloth from head to toe. I’m in a tomb. How did I get to a tomb? I died, right? One of my Father’s messengers comes to remind me that the next step begins. It’s Saturday, and tomorrow I will be found risen by my followers.
Resources that this narrative gleaned from for inspiration: The Gospels of Mark, Luke and John; Jesus Christ Superstar by Anthony Lloyd Weber and The Chosen from Angel Studios