Everybody looks forward to a vacation.
Vacations mean a means of distraction from the ordinary life events. The problems, stress, and general order of life are put on hold during a vacation. We use them as a means of retreat in order to attempt to refresh our viewpoint on where we are in life. Sometimes, we vacation with family and friends which allows us to renew our bonds of ‘kinship’ with one another. Those we are often too busy to spend time with daily now come to the forefront where we can give them the attention that they often deserve.
After Jesus arrived to the attention of the masses on Palm Sunday, one of His first orders of business was to get His house in order–remove the ‘money-making schemers from where they had set up shop. The temple (much like churches today) had fallen prey to putting business over worship. As one required an offering under the order of service instituted by God for various sins or joyous occasions, some people acting much like banks do today, had set up stands where one could buy or sell things of worth in order to purchase the proper offerings.
What we had IN the outside of the temple area was pretty much like a bank or pawn shop.
Jesus, more than any other person alive, knew that the worship in the house of God was not to be a ‘business-like-usual’ type of atmosphere. This is our Creator we are speaking about here. Here, we are to kneel and come in humility to the great I AM whose power and magnificence is unrivaled.
He threw those intent on profit OUT. Matthew 21:13-It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.
After that, he continued with his work in healing and reaching out to people…so much so that His acclaim grew so much even children were crying out His name in the temple–which really riled up the ‘religious’ leaders (ie the chief priests and scribes).
Matthew 21:17-And he left them, and went out of the city into Bethany; and he lodged there.
Bethany is two miles east of Jerusalem. A fairly easy trip in those days of walking. It was the home of Lazarus, and obviously was a place where Jesus felt comfortable. Here was His ‘vacation’ atmosphere. Here He resurrected his friend Lazarus.
I believe that at this point of time, Jesus was in dire need of the refreshment of ‘getting away from it all’ even for a brief bit of time. He is going to need every ounce of strength He can muster to get through the upcoming events and He knows this.
He needs to be with His earthly friends. He needs to gather His strength. He needs to be as ‘alone’ as He can be to keep His perspective on who He is and why He is doing this job.
We all need to get away from it all at times…but this isn’t the week to do so. This isn’t the week to think of how ‘nice’ it is to have a day off. This isn’t the time to worry about menus, or bunnies, or dying eggs, or buying candy.
This is the week Christians need to spend some time to gather their strength, pray, and put into perspective just in whom we believe and why. This is a week to remind ourselves that our Savior is about to offer Himself like a lamb whose throat would be cut in order to be an offering to God.
This is a week of agony.
Of denial, rejection, and spilt blood.
Our solace is that the week ends in ressurection, joy, and redemption.
That doesn’t make this week any easier to walk–it simply reminds us that from the beginning of our life to the end God is with us, loves us, and set up a plan to redeem us through His only begotten Son Jesus Christ.