There is tension in the air. No doubt you’ve felt it. It’s there even in the most ordinary situations. I could see and feel it in the grocery store yesterday. In the busy aisles shoppers were polite and friendly, but at the same time, everyone kept the proper social distance and I could imagine we were all wondering who might be spreading the coronavirus unawares. Then there is the anxiety of how long the crisis will last and what toll it will take on jobs and one’s peace of mind.
That kind of tension is not unique to 2020. There was plenty of it when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the first Palm Sunday. There were the Passover crowds lining the road shouting, “Hosanna!” but there was also an undercurrent of tension as the Jewish leaders plotted Jesus’ capture and death. There were the outward forms of the Passover celebration meant to praise God for His deliverance from Egypt, but also a disturbing lack of faith in the Passover Lamb of God who came to deliver sinners from eternal death in hell.
As Holy Week unfolded, the tension continued to build to Thursday night when Jesus ate the Passover with His disciples and instituted the Lord’s Supper. The arrest in Gethsemane followed. The trial before Pilate early Friday morning brought out the mob shouting, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” Finally it all culminated in Jesus being hung on the cross with nails driven through His hands and feet. Nothing was more horrible and yet it was all according to God’s eternal will. The unbearable tension resolved into the most incredible peace as Jesus cried out, “It is finished!”
The tension in our world is really resolved in the same way. We can take all our worries and stress to the cross to find peace. All the pain, heartache and suffering are due to sin, the sin of the world, but also your sin and mine. The full, crushing weight of that sin was put on Jesus. “Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows…The punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed” (Is. 53:4-5). With sin taken from us, put on Jesus, and paid for in full, we have the peace of God for every circumstance in life. Jesus assured the disciples, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (Jn. 16:33). May that peace bless your day!
In Jesus’ name,
Tomorrow’s service: The 8:00 a.m. Sunday service will be streamed live on YouTube and later uploaded to Ustream. Go to our website: messiahhalescorners.com for links to the service and the bulletin. The service is intended to be interactive, so join in the responsive readings, hymns, and prayers, just as though we were in church together. Even though we won’t hear one another, the Lord will. Can you think of someone whom you could invite to join us online?
Holy Week services:
Maundy Thursday: We look forward every year to the Maundy Thursday service as a time to remember Jesus’ institution of Holy Communion and to praise Him for this wonderful feast for the soul. Since we are not able to gather for the Lord’s Supper at this time, the Bd. of Elders has decided to cancel the service for this year. While we do not want to neglect Holy Communion or take its blessings lightly, the Lord assures us that the Spirit also works to preserve and strengthen faith through the gospel Word. Thankfully, we still have it in abundance in our own reading and study of the Word at home and through our Sunday services available online.
Good Friday: Our Good Friday Tenebrae service is at 8 p.m. It will be streamed live on YouTube and shortly afterwards uploaded to Ustream.