Bill stopped by my blog and encouraged me a couple weeks ago. No one knew but Bill and me, but it encouraged me a lot, because it wasn’t easy to do. Bill has ALS, and now can’t even use a “head mouse” (which operates by slight head movements). The disease has progressed to the point where he uses eye-tracking software to operate his computer.
Today, Crucifixion Friday, is the 18th of the month, and at the end of the 18th chapter of Proverbs, we find this:
A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.
13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
15 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.
May the Lord give you a blessed day.
As he mused he became keenly sensible of the deep responsibility they assume who disregard the means to attain the end, and of all the danger of setting in motion an engine which it exceeds human power to control.
- James Fenimore Cooper, Last of the Mohicans, describing Montcalm reflecting on the massacre of William Henry
The landscape of modern Western Christianity today is littered with the wrecks of engines which “leaders” set in motion, disregarding the means they were using to attain their end.
And yet, many still press on with dubious means to build their ministries (or empires), as if the means doesn’t matter as long as they achieve their end. They set in motion engines which they cannot control, and they bear a heavy responsibility — for the actual end achieved is just about always affected by the means.
We are looking at the last question from the Jewish leaders for our Lord on “Passion Tuesday,” the Tuesday before Christ’s crucifixion. This is the second part, and seemed a fitting post for today, this year’s “Passion Tuesday.”
On “Passion Tuesday,” the Tuesday before Christ’s crucifixion, Jesus had a series of interactions with different Jewish religious leaders. In each, He not only answered but also challenged them from the Old Testament Scriptures over their unbelief and hypocrisy. We now turn to their final question on this day (Jesus still has a question for them). It came from a Pharisee, and with a measure of respect that we don’t see in the earlier interactions.
This question, and its answer, is a key transition in this final week. No more will they ask questions of Jesus, for His answer exposes all the spiritual darkness and hypocrisy, the complete failure of Judaism and any other religious efforts to achieve God’s standards. From now on, all points towards the Cross. This will be the first of two posts, Lord willing, on this last of their questions.
I’ve made brief reference to this earlier in my “Passion Tuesday” series, but why do Christians sometimes refer to Crucifixion Week, the week of Christ’s death (and for some, the week when they commemorate it), as “Passion Week?” It goes back to the Authorised Version translation of Acts 1:3. Modern translations have replaced the word — but maybe they’ve lost something.