It was a week of ...

  • Jubilation — Jesus is coming to the feast!
  • Amazement — Lazarus is alive again. Some had seen him raised and the word spread like wildfire.
  • Anticipation — Many were expecting the Kingdom of God to dawn in power and Rome to be overthrown.
  • Popularity — Crowds came from everywhere as hope spilled into the streets like a river out of its banks, pulling people in its wake.
  • Praise — Hosanna's sound in the streets, coats line way and palm branches wave and fall.

For the apostles, all they had given up, all they had sacrificed, all they had seen of the miraculous, was all suddenly coming true. It was glorious! At least it was glorious until that last night and that Last Supper and that foot washing. Then Judas got up and left the table after having shared bread with the Savior. Then suddenly, it all changed.

"It was night" (John 13:30).

The mood changed and the world became very different. The air became heavy and everywhere they looked, the environment of hell sunk into every nook and cranny of their world. Instead of joy and shouts of "Hosanna!" their world was filled with the things of darkness.

  • Speculation"If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation" (John 11:48).
  • JealousySo the Pharisees said to one another, "See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!" (John 12:19).
  • TreacheryNow the Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread were only two days away, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were looking for some sly way to arrest Jesus and kill him (Mark 14:1).
  • BetrayalThen one of the Twelve — the one called Judas Iscariot — went to the chief priests and asked, "What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?" So they counted out for him thirty pieces of silver. From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over (Matthew 26:14-16).
  • EntrapmentThey were delighted to hear this and promised to give Judas money. So he watched for an opportunity to hand him over (Mark 14:11).
  • DesertionThen everyone deserted him and fled (Mark 14:50).
  • CursingThen Peter began to call down curses, and he swore to them, "I don't know the man!" Immediately a rooster crowed (Matthew 26:74).
  • Blasphemy -- The crowd shouted, "Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!" "Shall I crucify your king?" Pilate asked. "We have no king but Caesar," the chief priests answered (John 19:15).
  • MockeryThe people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, "He saved others; let him save himself if he is God's Messiah, the Chosen One" (Mark 15:31).
  • TerrorAt noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon (Mark 15:33). At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split (Matthew 27:51).
  • Hellish Delight"But this is your hour — when darkness reigns" (Luke 22:53).

"It was night."

And we know this night's darkness! It has engulfed us at times. And in these times, life feels as if ... darkness rules and despair grips us by the throat ... chaos reigns and disorientation plagues our every decision ... God feels gone and desperation holds us in its clutches.

A path into the heart of darkness!
"It was night!"

This week seems to be so contradictory — the Triumphal Entry at one end, and the road to Golgotha on the other! But if we listen, we can hear the prophets of old tell us that they are actually part of the same path. This is the road into darkness. The road the Messiah, the Son of God, must walk.

"It was night!"

Jesus entered our darkness. He entered, not just for us, but with us, to bear the full weight of Satan's power — the sin, evil, wickedness, and unfairness of us all fall like blows on his thorn crowned brow. Jesus stares this evil in the face and shoulders the full weight of our darkness. And he does it ...

  • Honestly — "I thirst ..." "My God my God ..."
  • Tenderly — "Woman, behold your son, son behold your mother."
  • Faithfully — "Father, into your hands do I commit my spirit."
  • Graciously — "Today you will be with me in paradise." "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."
  • Completely — "It is finished."

"It was night!"

But God said it once again: "Let there be light," and there was light (Genesis 1:1). And for us, "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it" (John 1:5).

When Jesus mounted a donkey and headed into Jerusalem, he chose God's path for him: a path that lead him into the heart of darkness ... and led him in triumph over that darkness and rescued us.

And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross (Colossians 2:15).

For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of our sins (Colossians 1:13-14).

Let hosannas ring and joy abound,
For the Lord our God rode a donkey to town!