It’s amazing what can happen in just one week. A few weeks back, our family of five took off on a flight to Texas for a wedding. The airport was relatively normal and our plane was full. When it came time to come back to Orlando, everything had changed. The schools had closed, River Run went completely online, and when we pulled up to the airport departure lane to fly home, there was not one car or person to be seen. NOT ONE. We practically had our own private 737 for the flight home. Our week went from celebration to apprehension. A lot changed in just one week.
But that was nothing compared to the change in Jesus’ last week. His started with people celebrating and praising Him. People were ready and excited to crown Him King! They yelled, “Praise God! Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hail to the King of Israel!” (John 12:13) By the end of that week, the crowd was shouting something completely different, “Crucify Him!” (Mark 15:13) and then they killed Him. A lot changed in just one week.
NOTHING CHANGES WHEN YOU PUT YOUR
TRUST IN WHAT CAN’T BE CHANGED
There are certain things we can learn from Jesus about rapid and terrible change. John tips his hand about the inner workings of Jesus when he wrote about how Jesus handled fame early in His ministry. John wrote, “Because of the miraculous signs Jesus did in Jerusalem at the Passover celebration, many began to trust in Him. But Jesus didn’t trust them, because He knew what was in each person’s heart.” (John 2:23-25) In other words, He knew that people could change what they thought about him at any moment, and they did.
But nothing really changed for Jesus when they turned on Him or ditched Him. This was true not because Jesus recognized the hypocrisy of people, but because His anchor was placed somewhere else. His anchor was His Father, not people. You see this at work in Jesus’ life when He said to His followers, soon before they ran away, “But the time is coming— indeed it’s here now— when you will be scattered, each one going his own way, leaving me alone. Yet I am not alone because the Father is with me.” (John 16:32)
As is true of people, it is equally true of circumstances. When Jesus’ situation was changing from celebrated king to crucified criminal, Jesus asked His Father to relent. But again, His anchor was in His Father over His circumstances. Jesus said, “Abba, Father, everything is possible for you. Please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” (Mark 14:36)
People changed. Circumstances changed. Jesus didn’t change, but He did change the world. How? One important way was through giving us the opportunity to have the same anchor as Him. We have an anchor that cannot be moved, our Heavenly Father.
THE STRONGER YOUR ANCHOR,
THE STRONGER YOUR ABILITY TO LOVE WELL
How well do we love when someone rejects us? How well do we love and remain considerate of others when our circumstances blow up? Storms test the power of the anchor. When a storm pushes around the anchor like a paperclip, the boat goes tumbling about and there is great fear and anxiety. But an anchor that stays absolutely secure, keeps the ship secure. There is peace onboard. That peace gives the people the ability to be concerned about others through the storm because they are no longer concerned about self-preservation. They are secure.
Jesus was an incredibly secure person because of the strength of His anchor, His Father. So, in the throes of the changing winds, He had the security to love well. When the people turned on Him, He loved well. When His circumstances changed, He loved well and He was consistent in that to the very end. (John 13:1; Luke 23:34; John 19:25-27)
For many of us, Holy Week is taking on a whole new meaning. Through our relatively calm lives, we may have missed or not really appreciated how Jesus navigated the vast changes of His final week. Now here we are with our own week. The tempest we did not see coming is here and everything has changed. Or has it? Because even though things have changed a thousand times over, He has not changed once. How did that work out for Jesus? Well, He’s still alive.