Baskets. Dresses. Pastels. Toddler ties. Bunnies. Eggs. Chocolate. Oh and don’t forget brunch where you fill your stomachs with amazing gourmet food that you do/don’t have to prepare. This is Easter for majority of Americans.
Last Sunday you may have heard a message on Palm Sunday and the crows screaming ‘Hosanna’ or ‘Lord Save Us’ as they laid down their coats and palm branches as the Messiah entered Jerusalem.
I think most of us are much like them. We have the best intentions. We recognize who Jesus is, and in the moment when He is presented in front of us we have the acts of submission and obedience. But after he walks past us on the donkey and we pick up our coats we are approach another week. A week with the normal day to day things, work, kids, deadlines, bills, and honestly our ‘Holy week’ doesn’t end up being so holy.
Holy means to be ‘set apart by God or sacred.’ I’m already into Tuesday of holy week and it hasn’t been much different from the others this year. As I have read through and studied the sweet Scriptures that hold the account of Jesus coming into Jerusalem, cleansing the Temple. How he spent His last couple of days teaching and I’m sure pleading with the people that what He said was true, frustrated as He knew His words fell on hollow ears and empty hearts, and each second, each breath, brought Him closer to the very fulfillment of His words.
Right in the middle of this teaching Jesus in Matthew 23 is rebuking the religious leaders. In verse 25 it says:
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean.
(Matthew 23:23-26 ESV)
This was like a dagger in my heart. I’m so much more like the pharisee than I am of Jesus. Even at this time of celebration of our Savior we can become so enthralled with the ‘practices’, instead of the very thing Jesus told us to love: justice, mercy and faithfulness.
We spend our time cleaning up the outside with pretty clothes and colors instead of disciplining ourselves to and worrying about the cleanliness of our souls.
Jesus spends the last week of His life dirty. Sweaty as he purifies the temple. Smelly as He cleans the calloused hard feet of His students. Dripping as he prayed obediently in the Garden. Bloody as He took the beatings and lashes upon His innocent body. Seems so contrary to what we have made it all about doesn’t it?
So what does it look like to get our hands dirty this week? I think it takes some carved out time of just you and Jesus. Reflecting, repenting, and rejoicing in the events of Jesus’ lasts breaths. In response to that time, instead of stressing over the perfect outfit for our kiddos or the daily plans for Sunday, we need to be seeking out opportunitites to show God’s faithfulness and mercy to everyone around us. Whether that be buying groceries for a family, missing the egg hunt to feed the homeless, taking the money on new clothes and giving it to support orphans and children who hardly have food muchless clothes.
This Easter celebration….Passover where we look back and give thanks for Jesus and His sacrifice should propel us into ways that we ourselves sacrifice out of His great love He showed for us. Otherwise we are just like those that laid down their coats and palm branches one day, and then picked them up and crucified Him the next.
Let our goal the rest of this week be ‘holy, or set apart from the rest of our weeks.’ That our hands would be marked dirty finger nails of service, weary legs that met needs, and hearts full of the love of our Savior.