Luke

8 Ways Holy Week Shapes Our Lives

8 Ways Holy Week Shapes Our Lives

How is your life shaped by Easter week? I mean other than the obligatory 3 pounds that is about to be added to your waistline courtesy of honey baked ham, deviled eggs, and Reese’s Peanut Butter cups (if you’re going to put on the weight, it might as well be good… not Peeps or generic jelly beans!)?

It has often been noted that the final week of Jesus’ life takes up a disproportionate amount of the gospel narratives. Approximately a third of the gospel accounts are devoted to the final week of Jesus’ life:

·        8 of 28 chapters in Matthew

·        6 of 16 chapters in Mark

·        5 of 24 chapters in Luke

·        9 of 21 chapters in John

Of the 52 weeks of our year, Holy Week is highlighted and underlined. On this week the other 51 weeks of our year hang, on this week, the other 51 are shaped.

How does the Holy Week shape our lives?

The Villains of Christmas: The Innkeeper

The Villains of Christmas: The Innkeeper

Every self-respecting children’s nativity play has Mary and Joseph greeted by the gruff Innkeeper who rudely tells Mary and Joseph that there’s no room and then, for good effect, slams the door in their faces. What was the motivation of this heartless hotel manager? Why didn’t he find a place for this pregnant woman? Today we met the second villain of Christmas: the Innkeeper.

The biblical story isn’t nearly as clear as to the backstory of this Innkeeper. There is a just a fleeting reference to the incident and that reference only occurs after Jesus’ birth. Luke tells us simply, “And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.”[i]

Unlike last week’s obvious villain: Herod, the Innkeeper is a little trickier to decipher. In the ambiguity, though, we find ourselves and the reality that Christmas reveals in us the sneaky villain of a lack of prioritization. Surely the Innkeeper should have been able to find a place for Mary and her child.

Let’s first briefly consider who this Innkeeper might have been and why he didn’t have room for Mary and Joseph.

Jesus and His Family; You and Yours

Jesus and His Family; You and Yours

The untouched idol of the American evangelical church is family.

I love my family. No family is perfect, but I couldn’t be more grateful for a healthy family: a mom and dad who loved me and celebrated 43 years of marriage this year, a sister who is still one of my best friends.

And I overflow with thanksgiving for my wife and two children, who are a source of constant love and joy in my life.

It’s hard to make sense of what Jesus taught about family and lived out in his life. Jesus’ relationship with his family is complicated. At a first pass, you would probably say that his relationship with his family is flat out bad. Is that the case? And how should Jesus’ relationship with his family influence our relationship with our family?

The Hard Edges

Let’s examine four scenes in Jesus’ life that involve family. The first three of these scenes have some pretty hard edges in what Jesus says about family.

Zechariah's Christmas Song

Zechariah's Christmas Song

There is something particularly beautiful about the righteousness that comes with age. There is a sweetness to it that can only be developed over the years.

There was once a husband and wife who loved God deeply. They had this kind of beautifully aged righteousness. Luke says that, “they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord.”[i] If you thumb through the scriptures there are very few people commended as highly as this. The husband, Zechariah, had given his life in God’s service as a priest.

“But,” Luke tells us, “they had no child.” This was no small thing and certainly no personal choice. They had yearned for a child and prayed for a child. But no child had come. Any childless couple, any mother who has lost her pre-born child, knows the mark of pain, the empty place that can’t be covered up in the heart. Everyone who has walked through this loss knows the temptation to sin against God in the face of disappointment and shame.

But Zechariah and Elizabeth had walked righteously in the face of grief.

Then one day Zechariah had the incredible blessing of being chosen to enter the Holy Place in the temple to burn incense. He never could have anticipated what awaited him.