Have you ever had a week where your emotions were on a roller coaster of highs and lows? Maybe you had a fantastic, joyous, victorious “mountain-top” experience where you were riding high like a kite soaring in the spring breeze. Then your “kite” caught a down draft and came crashing to the ground and you felt as though your whole world had caved in. Imagine the emotional ups and downs of the first earthly couple–from enjoying the perfect environment of the Garden of Eden and intimately fellowshipping with God until they disobeyed God and were thrown out of the Garden. Then they experienced the joy of being the first parents and watching their sons, Cain and Abel grow up only to be destroyed with the grief of discovering that Cain murdered his brother!
Or, consider the euphoria that Abraham must have felt to finally receive the promised son Isaac born after he and his wife Sarah were well past child-bearing age! But then think of the day when Isaac had become a healthy, strong young man, and Abraham heard God asking him to sacrifice Isaac on the altar! What an emotional swing that must have been for Abraham–but he obeyed God.
And what about Moses, who went from being raised in the courts of Pharaoh with the benefits that went with that position, to fleeing into the desert and becoming a lowly shepherd for some forty years, then hearing God speak to him from a burning bush and ending up leading a group of probably two million fellow Hebrews out of Egypt, witnessing miracle after miracle, only to have the people grumble and gripe at his leadership and wish they were back in Egypt. Then there was his “mountain-top experience” on Sinai where God gave him the law and he literally radiated from being in God’s presence. But when he returned from the mount into the valley, he discovered the impatient Hebrews had made a golden calf to worship! That’s when Moses was the first to “break” the Ten Commandments, as he threw the stone tablets to the ground in anger! What a life of highs and lows. And he would still experience several more.
Think of the story of Joseph whose Father had given him a fancy coat of varied colors to show his love for his son, yet Joseph was hated by his jealous brothers who plotted to kill him. Joseph–by the grace of God–ended up being sold into slavery instead. Even then, God was blessing his life and he was granted a privileged position working for Potiphar, only to be falsely accused of having an affair with Potiphar’s wife and be thrown into prison. But, God was still at work and ultimately promoted him to second in command in Egypt! What a roller coaster of emotions in Joseph’s life.
While many have experienced great swings in emotions from the beautiful majestic mountain tops to the darkest valleys, none can compare to that of the life of Christ on earth. He was introduced to the world by his second cousin, John the Baptist, as “The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (Jn. 1:29). Then He was baptized by John, and the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove descended upon Him, as the Father spoke from heaven saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased” (Mt. 3:17). What an emotional high that must have been for Jesus! But then we read that “Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil” (Mt. 4:1). It seems that whenever we experience an emotional and spiritual high, we can often expect shortly after to face a severe testing and temptation. Satan knows when we are most vulnerable.
Throughout Jesus earthly ministry there were many highs and lows but none like that final week of His life–the week that literally “rocked the world,” and turned it upside down. The week started with so much promise as Jesus rode from Bethany and Bethphage into Jerusalem on the unbroken colt, fulfilling the prophecy of Zech. 9:9. Crowds gathered and laid garments and palm branches before Him while shouting “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel” (Jn. 12:13 cf Psa. 118:25). They were excited in anticipation that the Kingdom was near at hand and Jesus was ready to set up His reign and bring peace on earth. Little did they realize that many of the same lips shouting “Hosanna…King of Israel” on that day would later that week be crying out to Pilate, along with the chief priests, “Away with Him!, away with Him, crucify Him!…We have no king but Caesar” (Mt. 19:14). Even when Jesus had told his disciples about His betrayal and death, they couldn’t imagine what He meant, and they were even more confused when He spoke of rebuilding the temple in three days. Add to all that the denials by one of the “inner-circle disciples,” Peter, and the betrayal by another disciple, Judas. Then, except for John, and a few of the women, including His own mother, Jesus was left alone during the excruciating scourging, beatings, and crucifixion. It would appear that the forces of darkness had won and the world had indeed come crashing down for those who had followed Jesus with such anticipation. But, as one preacher titled his sermon, “It’s Friday, but Sunday’s a Comin’!”
We all have weeks where our emotions are on a roller coaster with high peaks and low valleys. But we can rest assured that, while we are in those dark, confusing, trying valleys, that “Sunday’s a comin’!” It is made possible because Jesus, of course, as He had promised and prophesied, didn’t remain in the grave. He began a new week and a whole new era by His physical resurrection from the dead in a glorified body. And, “Because He lives, I can face tomorrow; Because He lives, all fear is gone; Because I know He holds the future, and life is worth the living, just because He lives” (Because He Lives by Bill and Gloria Gaither).
The passion week was truly a week that rocked the world for those present and it continues to do the same today. It was the most significant week in the history of the world. God fulfilled His promise to Adam and Eve (and us) that a Deliverer, the “seed of a woman” (implying virgin born) would come and defeat Satan and the effects of sin, but would have to suffer in doing so. “God so loved the world (us) that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life” (Jn. 3:16). Jesus also said, “Truly, truly I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life” (Jn. 5:14). Because Christ died for our sins and rose again, we can have new life in Him and be able to face the peaks and valleys of life and find our hope and stability in Him.