The great declaration of the Christian faith is that Christ has died…Christ is risen…Christ will come again. This coming week is Holy Week and we look at the first part: Christ has died. I encourage all to attend Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services to grasp the depth of the Christian faith. This reading from Luke is long as it covers the passion from the Last Supper to his crucified death. The question is, “How could we?”
Following the Last Supper with his disciples, Jesus goes with them to the Mount of Olives to pray. Judas Iscariot is absent because he left to betray Jesus. Suddenly Judas arrives with a crowd to arrest Jesus. A kiss of friendship is given. A sword is drawn. Jesus announces that the power of darkness is at hand while he is taken away.
There has been an ongoing conflict between Jesus and the Kingdom of Heaven against the power of darkness. Now has come the time for the power of darkness to reveal itself. The next few hours the power of darkness reveals it’s true nature. Lies. Deceit. Violence. Normally rational people screaming for the death of an innocent man while leaders stir up emotions further. Their delirium has them demanding the release of a known murderer to see Jesus killed instead. Mockery. Kill. This is the power of darkness.
This is why Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and all of Holy Week are important. If we simply jump to Easter, then we excuse ourselves and sit like spectators watching a game to see who wins. We need to see the darkness. We need to recognize our involvement. We need to ask the question, “How could we allow ourselves to made pawns of the darkness?”
How could he? When this question is asked of Jesus, the answer is always ‘love.’ Yet the word is vague. There is a rare group of people willing to sacrifice their lives for someone else. We call them ‘heroes.’ Jesus gave of himself for a world lost in its darkness. This is why we call him, Savior. This is love.
For now the power of darkness seems unstoppable and Jesus is handed over. However, he takes his last breath on the cross in trust that the One who called light into existence will not let darkness prevail. Jesus took his last breath trusting that the One who created life will not let it be denied by the darkness.
This coming week, we take a long look at the darkness and ask “How could we?” We also ask, “How could he?”