Jesus' Life Is About All Of These
Updated: May 19, 2022
Jesus was crucified because of His passion and vision of a different kind of world centered on love, empathy, and the value of even the "least of these". To reduce His live to a spectacular miracle and hope in the afterlife is to diminish it. It is also about His example and teachings about the transformation of this world. The last week of His life started out with crowds shouting Hosanna and welcoming Jesus with their palm leaves. Their honor to Him wasn’t about heaven or the afterlife because they did not yet have any knowledge of the atonement or resurrection; many weren’t yet aware that He was the Son of God. His followers cheered and honored Him, not because of who He was, but because of the "good news" He taught. They loved the transformative power of His vision for a different kind of world that was based on compassion and caring kindness. He broke all the political norms of His day by welcoming all people even enemies, women, and those seen as unclean.
He spent most of the years of His ministry healing bodies and minds, delivering captives from rigid beliefs, and setting at liberty those who believed they were less deserving of God’s notice: the poor, the Samaritans, even the lepers who were seen as deliberately stricken by God. It was precisely those who did not experience themselves as belonging in the religious mainstream that Jesus focused on, spent time with, and defended from others’ criticism.
The people loved His hope and passion. His teachings brought healing and breathed new life into many. His unique wisdom made sense of God’s scriptures and helped them see God’s infinite love, grace, tenderness, and kindness.
Thursday evening was the Holy Passover meal (aka Last Supper.) This is when Jesus performed the humble act of kneeling and washing the grimy, soiled feet of His disciples which emphasized His new pattern of gentle, compassionate leadership and service. It was one of His most significant teachings for leaders of all kinds, but especially religious leaders. He is called the bread of life because He taught us how to nourish one another.
The next day, Friday, the crowds of people who had welcomed and honored Him on Palm Sunday, woke up to a shocking scene that centered on death, betrayal, and cruel injustice. They saw the evil that takes hold when beliefs are turned into weapons. They saw religious people turn into a blood-thirsty mob mentality determined to extinguish every bit of light that Christ’s teachings had brought the oppressed and marginalized people.
It must have been the darkest of days for those disciples. They did not have the privilege of knowing what would happen on what we now call Easter Sunday. Yet in their grief, they were determined that the Savior’s life-giving teachings and vision for a better world would not die with Him.
Easter is about all of these. It is as much about His teachings and example as it is about the atonement and resurrection. It is a celebration of all the "good news" He brought. Easter is about change that works toward His vision and where we help Him heal bodies and minds, deliver captives from rigid beliefs, and set at liberty those who believed they were less deserving of God’s notice.