Thought for the Week by Rev Bill Armstrong (Retired)

Holy Week in Jerusalem began in triumphant mood for the disciples of Jesus; but it would end in apparent disaster. It had been an eventful week. Jesus challenged the Temple money lenders and sacrifice sellers – money had to be changed into Temple money in order to buy a dove or an animal to be sacrificed. It was a traders’ paradise. It was the only time that Jesus had lost his cool. As he overturned their tables, he berated the traders for desecrating God’s house: ‘This house is a house of prayer, but you have made it a robbers’ den!’

The week also saw Jesus in more relaxed mood at Bethany with Martha and Mary, and their brother Lazarus. Their home was a place where he could unwind. It was at Bethany that Mary anointed his head with expensive perfume much to the displeasure of Judas, who argued that the perfume should have been sold and the proceeds given to the poor. In a curt reply Jesus said she was ‘anointing his body for burial’.

As the climax to the week approached Jesus met with his disciples in an Upper Room. As he welcomed them he washed their feet. Peter was embarrassed. To him Jesus said, ‘Unless I wash your feet, you have no part with me.’ It was Jesus last attempt to show his disciples that ‘he came to serve, not to be served’, and that they should follow his example..

It was later that night, in the Garden of Gethsemane, that Judas betrayed him; the beginning of the end – perhaps?

The following day, after being questioned and flogged by the Roman authorities, Jesus was made to carry his cross to Golgotha where he was crucified. They made a crown of thorns for him. Pilate had signs placed on the cross: ‘This is the King of the Jews’; but that did not placate the mob either.

His last words: ‘It is finished’. All that he had come to do was accomplished; he had come to show God’s love for all humanity.

Was that the end of the story? Far from it!