Have you ever had a friend tell you the ending of a movie or TV show before you saw it?
In our connected and information driven world, it’s harder and harder to avoid. We’ve had viewing parties of popular shows at our house in the past and, since we were typically watching the recorded version, we remind everyone not to go on social media! Don’t look at your phones! Someone was bound to get a text message that would give away the ending before we got to see it.
There are even websites dedicated to spoiling plots of movies. Go to the website, pick a movie, read a complete summary, ruin the movie.
There are times, though, where knowing the ending can enhance the drama of the story. Think of the movie, Titanic (spoiler alert: it sinks.) Or a popular book you read that was turned into a movie. Knowing how it was going to end caused you to perch on the edge of your seat watching the story unfold, knowing the story would resolve, but not being entirely sure how.
That is sort of how the Passion week feels to me. Passion week starts on Palm Sunday, this coming Sunday, and ends on Easter. You might get a sense of victory as he rides the colt of a donkey into Jerusalem. It looks strange, to be sure, but at least the people are cheering his arrival! Then the story takes an odd turn. Jesus is arrested. He is tried. He is beaten. He is crucified. And then he dies. But, we know that Jesus rises from the dead on Easter Sunday.
The fact that we know of Jesus’ resurrection doesn’t diminish the drama of the week; it enhances it. Now the lens through which we view these events isn’t one of defeat, it’s one of victory. Now we look at the events not just with agony, but with wonder: that the God of Gods, the King of Kings, must suffer such shame and sorrow and pain so that, three days later, he is raised up, “the mighty one who saves.”
“The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save.” – Zephaniah 3:17
During the passion week, take some time to reflect on how the resurrection of Jesus changes everything. See his victory in the darkness of seeming defeat. And remember that today, the Lord your God is still in your midst.