Mourning into Joy | Holy Tuesday: Who do we say this Jesus is | Holy Week | Devotional Series | Part 4 of 10

As the days settled in Jerusalem, Jesus won’t stop talking about morbid days ahead. What erratic lunacy it must have been, for the disciples to witness their messiah brooding over his death. These few days was hard for Christ, but it must have been utterly confusing for the disciples. Here is the messiah, who they believed would grant them great health, wealth and happiness – one who was going to overthrow the Roman rule. And yet they kept hearing Him say, He was going to be killed by His own people?! When Peter rebuked Christ, he confirmed these sentiments. But Christ had a different objective. Jesus did not come to satisfy our shortsighted, glory-hungry whims and fancies. He came to grant us salvation. But Jesus knew, the kind of God they imagined Him to be – one that takes their side, grants them comfort, and overthrows their enemies. And therefore, He asked: Who do we say this Jesus is?

There are three important points to be noted here. First, joy could only come through mourning this sinful life. Because eternal life could only come through the Cross. Second, we are not to seek comfort in this world – which the scriptures rightfully deemed, the Kingdom of the Evil one. (1 Jn 5:19) And lastly, we are to forgive one another. (Mark 11:25) Marshal Segal writes,

“Our salvation was purchased with suffering, and it will be sealed and preserved with suffering (James 1:2–4), not comfort… If we come to the crucified one expecting him to make life easier and more comfortable, we’re not listening to him. Jesus says, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me’ (Mark 8:34).” (Pg. 38-39)

The mark of a true disciple is suffering. A world that rejects Christ, cannot accept His followers. (John 15:19) But our confidence lies in that fact that God forgave us and called us His own. Therefore, as forgiven people, we ought to forgive.

For Jesus, it was important that the disciples know that a life of suffering awaited them, and they were not to hold any grudges nor hatred against anyone. Because the failure to do so posed a greater problem. But ultimately, none of this could come through until and unless they could do away with their false imagination of who Christ was. Because for Jesus, His desire for His followers were not for them to become rich, comfortable, and enjoy great authority in the world. Christ desired His people to be driven by a self-sacrificial love. Because love alone was/is the category of His Kingdom – not riches, not conquest, not political power – none of that which resembles this fallen world. Therefore, for Jesus this question was really important. It was important that they know Him for who He really is – before He could lay down His life. So that they could follow Him to the kingdom of eternal life, He was preparing for them.

Dear readers, I wonder if Christ was to ask us – who do we say this Jesus is? Would we have the correct answer? Or will He find us riddled by the god of our own imagination? Will He find us desiring a god that grants us great health, and takes our side against people who treat us unfavorably?! There is only one thing I can say: life is full of suffering as it is, why not suffer for good. To God be the Glory.


Series Index: (1) Introduction: Why Observe the Holy Week (2) Palm Sunday: Sovereign Mercy (3) Holy Monday: Tough Love

Mourning into Joy | Holy Monday: Tough Love | Holy Week | Devotional Series | Part 3 of 10

Love is not always meek. My mother loves me a lot. I know this, not only because she is good to me. But because she scolds me, and corrects me when I need correcting. Christ demonstrated this bolder side of love, post His meek entrance into Jerusalem. He cursed a healthy-looking fig tree. And raged through the various vendors at the temple. Because the Israelites had lost the plot. They were more concern with being religious superficially, than knowing God authentically. Obedience is better than sacrifice. (1 Sam 15:22) If the Israelites really cared, they would have known what their patriarch David himself wrote: “you do not desire a sacrifice (oh! LORD), or I would offer one”. (Ps 51:16) But the whole pretext of littering the temple with various vendors was to facilitate the ease of offering sacrifices; as Israelites came from various different places – travelling long distances. From that perspective, what a reasonably noble thing those vendors were doing. But that’s not what YHWH desires. But beyond that, the superficial religiosity was keeping foreigners away from God. Jonathan Parnell wrote:

The great sadness of this scene wasn’t so much the rows of product and price-gouging, but that all this left no room for the Gentiles and outcasts to come to God.” (Pg. 27)

This scene was sad, because according to Isaiah’s vision foreigners and outcasts were to gather with His people. (Isa 56:4-8) Do you understand now, why Christ did, what He did? He cleansed the temple – because He loved us. He corrected the Israelites because He loved them; and most importantly, He loved us – foreigners and outcast, who without Christ’s intervention would have remained outside of His covenant.

So – dear reader, do you understand, Christ’s bold move wasn’t a reaction against an unexpected sight – seeing corrupt money lenders in the temple. No. He is sovereign, and omniscient. He knew it already.

This was a lesson He wanted His disciples to learn, and for us to know. It is not a bloated religiosity that He wants. A fig tree no matter how healthy, without good fruits, is only destined for condemnation. What Christ wants – what YHWH wants is our hearts. And no one, absolutely no one can bear good fruits, until He is planted in the one who says:

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (Jn 15:5, ESV)

So dear readers, this is why Christ cleansed the temple. So that we could be gathered into Him; so that we could abide in Him, and bear good fruits. Let us take comfort in knowing that this same Christ, is willing to clean our hearts and make us a temple that glorifies His name. Because nothing, absolutely nothing can separate us from God’s love, that is manifested through Christ for us. (Rom 8:38-39) To God be the Glory.   


Series Index: (1) Introduction: Why Observe the Holy Week (2) Palm Sunday: Sovereign Mercy

Mourning into Joy | Introduction: Why Observe the Holy Week | Holy Week | Devotional Series | Part 1 of 10

Observing the Holy Week has always been a polarizing ritual for me. Because, I’ve always felt it to be a virtue-signing act. Perhaps that is my own inner crookedness, that I cannot accept that anyone could even observe this ritual genuinely. Secondly, and this used to be my go-to excuse – (that) the scriptures never made it mandatory. But as I grow older, and as I learn to spend more time meditating in the scriptures – I find that it is not I but Christ that leads me into discipline and obedience towards holiness. (Matt 19:26) In other words, it is not by our strength, but by the virtue of God’s grace that we can genuinely observe the Holy Week to its full effect.

Though it is also true that the scripture does not make it an obligation to observe the Holy Week, but it sure does – undeniably builds us up towards it. The Old Testaments swells up to this point. This is the week, when the promise of salvation was about to be materialized. The Devil was to use all its might, the saints were to see the last of the trying times as sinners-unrepentant, and Christ – God, Christ was to lead us through this darkness – like YHWH led the Israelites through the parted Red Sea. The Holy Week, this ordinary week, may not mean much to the world, but for the believer it is nothing less than historic. Apparently, that’s why, all the four Apostles dedicated a major part of the Gospel to this week (alone). Because it was during the course of this week – that Christ changed our fate. He suffered everything we were meant to suffer. And showed us what obedience and perseverance meant. He took the wrath of God for us, and showed us – it is He – who was to come – and paid the full payment of our sins. And most importantly, it was during this week – He demonstrated the Father’s love for us – and bought us the prerequisite holiness to be united with God.

But beyond these reasons – that are grounded in the Biblical past, there is one that I find absolutely convincing. The reason why we should observe the Holy Week is because this is a wonderful opportunity for us to walk with Ekklesia – the body of Christ. David Mathis explains this better. He writes,

“Marking Holy Week is not an obligation, but it is an opportunity. It is a chance to walk with the church, throughout time and through the world, as she walks with her Bridegroom through the most important week in the history of the world. It is a chance to focus our minds on, and seek to intensify our affections for, the most important and timeless realities.” (Pg. 1)

How wonderful that is. I hope dear reader, that you’ll join me in relishing this wonderful opportunity – in walking with Christ and His Church, this Holy Week. Blessed Greetings.


NOTE: Daily Devotions will start from Palm Sunday i.e. 5th April ’20, 9 AM (IST). And end on Easter Sunday i.e. 12th April ’20. You can also subscribe the blog via email to receive the devotionals directly in your inbox.   

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