In the Christian tradition this week is kind of a big deal. Last Sunday we celebrated with palms the story of Jesus entering into Jerusalem to confront religious and political powers.
This week he will be betrayed by a friend, denied by another, turned over to the authorities, tortured, and killed on a cross.
Sunday we will celebrate our belief that he was raised from the dead, that life is more powerful than death, and that the life he talks about is available to anyone.
It’s what makes Christmas meaningful.
But entering into the Christmas season is easy. We love babies, music, candy, and gifts.
Entering into Holy Week is hard.
It’s a challenging, painful, beautiful week. It shows us things about ourselves that we don’t want to acknowledge. Judas sold out Jesus for money. We would never choose money over friendship, would we? Peter was ready to fight to the death in one moment, but then denied he even knew Jesus in another. We would never desert a friend, would we?
But deeper than that, this week does not allow us to be the hero. We don’t get to save the day. Jesus says to give him all the hatred, all the judgement, all the discrimination, all the injustice. Give it all to him. Put it all on him, so we won’t have to do live those kind of lives anymore. He takes it all, and offers love and life in return.
That’s it. No matter what we try to do, love wins. No matter how much we try to get in his way, love wins. No matter how much we try to manipulate Jesus for our own benefit, he proves that he can’t be manipulated, will not be redirected or distracted. Love wins.
Jesus saves us from ourselves.