Today’s Lent Project devotional is by Beth Nelson. She is a member of our Leadership Team and hosts the Alpharetta South Table Group along with her husband, Mike.
The first Bible Mike and I got for our daughter is called The Jesus Storybook Bible, and nearly everyone I know who has kids has the same one. With good reason, too. The subtitle really sells the point: “Every Story Whispers His Name.” Beginning with Creation, it ties every major story of the Old Testament to the anticipation of Jesus, and the New Testament stories to the depth of Christ’s love. I won’t lie–I’ve learned new things about the Bible from this book intended for kids. It has helped me recognize and appreciate the fact that everything God did from Creation to the birth of Christ was for the purpose of preparing us, preparing the world, for His Great Rescuer. Even before Christ came to earth, He was, and even as David was writing Psalms, to God, Christ had already died on the cross.
It’s a mind-blowing thing to realize God exists outside time. Certainly, we can’t fully understand what that means, being temporal beings, but today’s readings give us a glimpse.
Mark 11 describes one of Jesus’s encounters with the chief priests. They would spend much of what we call Holy Week trying to trap Jesus into saying something for which they could execute Him. Failing that, they would trump up charges against Him and try to get the populace to support their case. That, too, proving unsuccessful, they would ultimately kill Him for telling nothing but the full truth about Himself: that He is the Son of God.
Backing up roughly a thousand years, to the Psalms, we read, “They band themselves together against the life of the righteous and condemn the innocent to death.” (Psalms 94:21)
Holy Week is the story of Jesus walking steadily, resolutely, unflinchingly toward the cross, and the Bible shows us that all time was directed to the cross. Why Noah, a righteous man who builds a boat to save his family from a global flood? To show that while God could destroy the world, He’d rather save it. Why 613 laws for the Hebrew people to obey? So Jesus could die once and fulfill them all. Why Jonah, saved from the belly of a fish (despite his disobedience) to preach repentance? To be a foreshadowing of the One who would preach repentance from a perfectly pure heart.
This Holy Week, ponder the reality that two thousand years ago, Jesus left His Throne to come to our lowly home on earth. Furthermore, He came not to destroy us and not to condemn us, but to love us fully and to sacrifice Himself in a way we never could. Thanks be to God!