John 10:14-15, 18, 27-30
I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again. I have received this command from my Father.
My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. What my Father has given me is greater than all else, and no one can snatch it out of the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.
We come to Holy Week on the Lenten calendar, a time to reflect on the sacrifice of Jesus. Hopefully, over the course of these past weeks, we’ve created space and time in our lives for the weight and the impact of this upcoming week to truly sink in.
There are many different theories about how we are to understand Jesus’ death, and what it means for our lives. But I think these verses from John capture the full impact and implication. Jesus the Christ, one with God, breaks into the world to forever change our reality. He gives his life up willingly, with love, as a sacrifice for his sheep. His death makes life possible. His resurrection leaves us with the promise that his work on earth is not done, and a call to work toward bringing God’s kingdom to earth.
The journey of Holy Week invites us into Christ’s final days on earth. We harken back to the darkness, the pain, the life given in love. But on the other side of the resurrection, we can’t help but know that death isn’t the final word. Not for Christ, and not for us.
God of such unwavering love,
how do I "celebrate"
the passion and death of Jesus?
I often want to look the other way
and not watch,
not stay with Jesus in his suffering.
Give me the strength
to see his love with honesty and compassion
and to feel deeply
your own forgiveness and mercy for me.
Help me to understand
how to "celebrate" this week.
I want be able to bring
my weaknesses and imperfections with me
as I journey with Jesus this week,
so aware of his love