“ It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.” John 13:1
“Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.” John 17:25-26
When Becky died it was an incredibly sudden, completely unexpected, unfathomable event. Our family had just spent four wonderful days together celebrating the birth of Jesus and thoroughly enjoying one another. Becky went home from our celebration to her busy life of loving Jacob, Amity and Dara and stepping into the sixth rotation of her year of eight Pharmacy rotations. None of us had any inkling that our time together was our last time together as a family – we couldn’t know the import of those last days. By the grace of God our final days together were sweet and full of the acknowledgement of how important we are to each other’s lives. It was a time devoted to each other and to enjoying a foundational celebration of our faith.
As we approach Easter through this week that has come to be known as Holy Week I’ve been thinking about the final week that Jesus lived. Death was pressing down upon Jesus. He knew that his time was short. His was a life lived with great deliberation as he very literally poured himself into the group of people that he loved and would trust with his story and his life purpose. What was important to him in his last week?
The thing that I see most clearly is relationship. Jesus spent an immense amount of time in that last week with people. He loved people, he taught people, he rebuked people, he celebrated with people, he intentionally crafted some very memorable experiences with the people that he loved. In the midst of his intense focus on people, he also very deliberately continued his relationship with his Father. In a profound time with his disciples he bridged those two relational focuses in a very clearly communicated experience with both Father and friends (John 13 through 17). It was as if during that last week of Jesus life he invited those who loved and knew him to enter into the eternal relationship of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Everything that Jesus did up to this time was building to this last week when he would most clearly present his mission, his relationship with the Father, and his desire for all to be in relationship in and through him. The import of what he did and said in this last week would become even clearer for his followers in retrospect – after his death and resurrection. Death is a searing brand that causes the last hours and days of a relationship to deeply imprint in the hearts and minds of those who remain alive.
I don’t know the timing of my last days, but I pray that I can live deliberately, love deeply, and focus on that which is most important in my relationship with God and the people God has placed in my life – to live like Jesus!
“Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Psalms 90:12