Imagine if you had only one week to live, or one month, or one year. Seriously, take a few minutes to imagine the mental and emotional anguish.
Imagine if you knew that you were going to only live until you were 33 years old and that your death would come in the most horrific manner imaginable.
As some may know, “Palm Sunday” marks the beginning of Passion Week – the final week of Jesus’ life on earth. As we engage in Passion Week, it’s important to take some time to reflect on the life of Jesus and in particularly, his final week. Some may make the mistake of thinking or assuming that since Jesus was fully God, he didn’t experience human anguish. But Jesus wasn’t just fully God, he chose to be fully human. He was God who assumed humanity. He took upon himself flesh and bone. And in and through this…Jesus understood the fullness of our human condition. Jesus understood hunger, thirst, temptations, anguish, the pain of human betrayal, sadness. During the final week of Jesus’ life, we see a glimpse of his humanity as he anguished in prayer at Gethsemane.
Before we try to jump to the celebration of His resurrection, we need to take the time to walk with Christ during the last week of his life.
So as I reflect upon the final week of Jesus’ life, it’s only natural for me to ponder what I would do if I knew I only had one week to live.
Don’t we all have what we call a “bucket list?”
…Stuff that we want to do before experience our physical death?
I do. I have both a mental list and a list of some stuff I’ve started compiling in my notebook. Here’s at least 5 things I’d like to do if I have a week (or month) to live:
I want to enjoy some quality time with my wife, children, and parents.
I know. I know. It’s a given. And some may assume a very obligatory answer. But…a great meal with my family would be high on my priority.
Preach one final time at Quest.
I planted Quest Church in 2001 and still have the privilege of being the senior pastor here. If I had one week to live…I’d love to give one more sermon and while I currently preach a good solid hour on any given Sunday, I’d preach for a really long time and won’t care if I get any dirty looks from parents. It’s gonna be long. Real long. And then a long communion.
And everyone’s gonna like it.
Fly to my dream destinations.
I’d love to travel to a few places I’ve always wanted to go but have yet to: New Zealand, Australia, Italy, Peru, Morocco, etc.
Okay…there’s just too many places and such limited time. I’m not sure how I’d be able to go to all of these places so let’s just say anywhere warm, with a beach, and with snorkeling, or para sailing, or sailing, or marlin fishing, or hang gliding, or…
Eat really good food
…so I’ll want to go to Olive Garden. Okay. I’m just kidding.
I’d love to fly to Japan and eat at a sushi restaurant called Sukiyabashi Jiro where it is owned and run by Japanese chef, Jiro Ono – considered by many to be the greatest sushi chef in the world. Supposedly, you have to make reservations up to a year in advance and pay up front $368 for a fixed menu of 20 pieces of sushi. Some may have seen a documentary entitled Jiro Dreams of Sushi precisely about this master chef.
Yes, I want to eat here if I had only one week to live. $368 for sushi? I. don’t. care.
I want to drive a fast car.
I’m not a really big car buff. Okay, every now and then, I’ll look at car magazines but I don’t know much about engines, v-12 liters, 26 inch rims, and 500 horses and whatever.
But, let me be honest: If I had one week to live…I’m gonna do it. I already told my wife.
I’m gonna splurge and rent a Ferrari or a Lamborghini or a Bugatti. A red one. Or a black one. Or both. And I’m gonna drive it all around for hours and hours. And then drive some more. All around. Like I don’t really care. And I’m gonna go a little faster than the speed limit. This Ferrari car, LaFerrari, that goes 0-62 mph in less than 3 seconds and 0-186 mph in 15 seconds sounds good. The 1000 horsepower sounds adequate.
How about Jesus on his final week on earth?
And this is what amazes and compels me.
Yes, he’s Jesus but he also assumed full humanity. But precisely because he’s Jesus, we neglect to speak much of his courage, passion, and obedience – outside the Crucifixion.
What did Jesus do during his final week? Not quite a typical bucket list like ours:
- Jesus chooses to “splurge” on a borrowed donkey (aka ass) and a colt to enter into Jerusalem. Maximum speed: 2 MPH. Maybe.
- Jesus turns tables, lashes his whip, and cleanses out the Temple. Some basic spring cleaning. So much for avoiding conflict and having a restful and peaceful final week.
- Jesus chooses to wash the feet of his own disciples. And remember that a) feet were extremely dirty, and b) foot washing was the duty of the lowliest of slaves.
- Jesus eats a meal with his closest friends – a bunch of misfits. And…they’re still arguing and fighting for position.
- Jesus prays in agony at the Garden of Gethsemane. He prays till he bleeds. Literally. It’s called hematohidrosis.
- Jesus is betrayed by one of his closer friends…for 30 silver coins.
- Jesus is captured, beaten, mocked, flogged, whipped, spat upon, and…
- Jesus is crucified and murdered.
What a final week…
Jesus was human but he was also fully God and in his fully divinity, he chose to assume flesh and bone. He came and dwelt among us. He lived. He showed us the way. He loved. He healed. He taught. He forgave. He rebuked. He loved. And Jesus went to the Cross and died for the sins of the world.
Why do I love and follow Jesus?
Because Jesus was full of courage, passion, and love.
Because a perfect Jesus died for an utterly imperfect humanity.
Because Jesus died…and rose again.
Thanks be to God!