Whoever speaks on their own does so to gain personal glory, but he who seeks the glory of the One who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him. – John 7:18
Passion Week (or Holy Week) begins with commemoration of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, climaxing with the Last Supper and Passion of Jesus on Good Friday, ending with His sabbath rest in the grave on Holy Saturday. The resurrection of Jesus on eighth day, is celebrated as Easter Sunday (Resurrection Sunday). Passion Week is so named because of the passion with which Jesus willingly went to the cross in order to pay for the sins of His people.
During this passion week, we remember the life, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ and recognize how important it is to emulate His life.
1. JESUS ALWAYS SPEAKS THE TRUTH.
In Matthew 12:34, Jesus called the Pharisees a “brood of vipers”. Jesus speaks the truth without fear of repercussions. He’s concerned with sharing His message, not gaining political support.
Nor is Jesus using hard-hitting truths as a way to rile up anger from people already on His side. Whether or not it’s to His advantage, and even if it means He will lose followers, He speaks the truth. Because the truth — undiluted — is what sets us free.
2. JESUS ASKS FOR MORE AND OFFERS MORE.
While Jesus says that His yoke is easy and His burden light (Matthew 11:30), His plan has a steep joining fee. He says, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me” – Matthew 16:24.
3. JESUS VALUES US MORE.
Why is Jesus willing to tell us to deny ourselves and follow Him? Because He loves us, and that’s what it will take to have a relationship with Him.
Jesus values us so much that He paid our debt of sin with His death. Paul tells us that, “For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame …”- Hebrews 12:2. The joy of fellowship with us was greater to Him than the pain of the cross.
4. JESUS VALUES ALL OF US.
Jesus does not only spend time with people the world rejects but also goes looking for them. He seeks out the ostracized, poor, sick, weak, and people deemed “worthless”.
The story of Zacchaeus is a beautiful example of this (Luke 19). Zacchaeus is a despised tax collector working for the Roman government, a cheater, and a sinner. Because he’s not tall enough to see over the crowds, Zacchaeus had to climb a tree just to catch a glimpse of Jesus. If anyone else noticed Zacchaeus at all, they would have expected Jesus to walk on by.
5. JESUS IS MOTIVATED BY COMPASSION.
We see this clearly right after John the Baptist’s death. Jesus withdraws to a remote area to be alone (Matthew 14:13). So often surrounded by crowds, Jesus wanted to be alone after the death of someone important to him. But the crowds of people heard about where he was going, and rather than giving him some space, they followed him and pressed in around him, eager to have their own needs filled.
When we’re already tired or sad, the last thing we want is to be confronted by other people’s demands, and we often react harshly. But Jesus looked out at the crowds and “had compassion on them and healed their sick” (Matthew 14:14). He set His own needs aside to minister to others, not because he had too, but because His compassion made Him want to.
6. JESUS FORGIVES.
True repentance should be met with true forgiveness. That kind of forgiveness sets us free to be the people God created us to be.
In the book of Matthew, we see Peter trying to be generous by asking Jesus if He should forgive someone “up to seven times” (Matthew 18:21). Jesus shocks Him by replying that He shouldn’t forgive seven times, but “seventy times seven” (Matthew 18:22). Basically, however much we think we should forgive, we should forgive more.
Jesus doesn’t forgive to “be nice” or because it’s the socially acceptable thing to do, He forgives to set people free. He doesn’t want anything blocking people from living in life in all its fullness (John 10:10).
Christians agree that Jesus is the best role model to have. From His faith, perseverance, generosity, and even His intelligence, people see the best qualities that mankind can possess. The Bible teaches us to become more like Jesus each and every day, so it’s helpful to learn about some of character traits He had.
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