“He is risen!”
“He is risen indeed!”
Such power is difficult to imagine. We read the Gospel accounts and try to view the scenes in our mind’s eye. Mind-boggling.
Pick any of the events of that first Holy Week. Some are obviously filled with meaning and mystery. Some seem rather mundane, almost commonplace for that time and place, until the Gospel writers and Christ himself pull back the curtain just a bit. Any Passover meal is already deeply meaningful and symbolic, but listen to Jesus’ words at that Last Supper, watch him wash the disciples’ feet, break the bread, drink the cup, and infuse it all with a depth of meaning and mystery that, yes, boggles the mind.
As Jesus walks through that week, time seems to slow as God himself invests each moment with eternal meaning. It’s as if the passing moments of our ordinary weeks hold the water we need for our lives and our journeys, but the Lord of all transforms the moments of that week of weeks into vessels filled with the most exquisite wine.
Yes, time slows.
Christ Jesus, fully human, does what divinity could never do: he dies. Christ Jesus, fully divine, does what no human could never do: he takes on himself, quite literally (oh, don’t ask me how!) all of the sin and guilt of the world.
Every moment of that week is mind-boggling and mystery-infused. Filled with God-chosen donkeys, adoring crowds crying loud “Hosannas,” curse-hurling mobs shouting themselves hoarse begging for blood, the Passover Lamb leading the meal and lifting the cup and pronouncing, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood” (Luke 22:20).
And so much more.
The moments of that week shimmer and glow, charged with God-glory and Spirit-mystery, holiness and power. Amazing, how the ordinary becomes truly extraordinary that week, every cup a Holy Grail.
And so our minds are boggled, our wits overwhelmed, as we try to take all of this in. What is God doing at that moment? Oh, did you see that!? Why would he do that? How could he possibly make that happen? Can you imagine the power it took for even God to accomplish that?”
How? Why? Wow!
In the midst of it all—all the holiness and divinity, all the power, all the wonder and majesty, the meaning and the mystery—I keep coming back also to . . .
Well, I find myself fascinated by what Christ’s power does in the lives of the weak and ordinary. People like me.
The apostles Jesus says in Matthew 19:28 will one day sit on glorious thrones (ah, there’s some mystery for you!) were looking pretty ordinary during that first Holy Week. As a young person, I admit that I found it rather extraordinary that Peter and James and John could fall asleep when their Lord, wrestling in agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, so needed them to “watch and pray” with him. Now, perhaps less full of myself and more aware of God’s grace for ordinary people and our deep need for his grace and power every moment, I look back at the events leading up to their eye-drooping, and I’m right with them. I’d have slept, too. Of that I’m sure. I couldn’t have helped it.
But our extraordinary Lord is more than able to redeem even our weakest moments and our worst and most human failures.
Perhaps that’s the most amazing thing of all, what Christ’s Resurrection does to transform even the most seemingly ordinary people and events and moments of our lives into the truly extraordinary.
The mundane becomes the vessel for mystery. Water becomes wine. Wine becomes blood. Blood becomes salvation.
And Jesus Christ, betrayed and murdered and lifted up on a cross, becomes the exalted Lord of all. Even a tomb becomes an incubator for glory.
Copyright 2021 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering text or for monetary gain is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.