We are beginning Holy Week as I sit here. This is the month we are talking about patience in our study of the Fruits of the Spirit. I was pondering how Jesus displayed patience as he drew near the end of his life. Then it occurred to me.
The whole week was about him being patient with all that was going on. I think it began with Palm Sunday. I am not sure Jesus was about being the center of attention in a parade. We know from all the years of his teachings it was always about God and doing God’s will, but here we see him riding on a donkey and having palm branches waving at him. I think he had to be patient and endure this parade knowing it was for the people and not for himself. It wasn’t his idea it was someone else’s idea. He was tolerant when it came to honoring him. I know someone people who would never stand for being honored. They just want to be a “behind the scenes” kind of person and to get honor would be beyond them. I am not sure Jesus wanted this kind of honor.
Later we see Christ having the Last Supper with his disciples. We know Judas was with them at the time. For me Christ showed a huge amount of patience with Judas knowing what Judas was about to do. Me being human I am not sure I could be as tolerant with Judas as Christ was. John 13:27, “As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him. So Jesus told him, “What you are about to do, do quickly.” I can only imagine Jesus saying this in a very timid voice with a lot of patience.
After teaching the Disciples for three years about being a servant we see again at the Last Supper the Disciples still have not gotten it. As Christ bends down to wash the feet of His Disciples we see Simon Peter questioning Jesus about washing his feet. John 13 shows us again Jesus has patience as yet he teaches them again about servanthood, “When Jesus had washed their feet and put on His outer garments, He reclined with them again and asked, “Do you know what I have done for you? You call Me Teacher and Lord, and rightly so, because I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. have set you an example so that you should do as I have done for you. Truly, truly, I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them. (verses 12-17)
Later that night we see Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane with three of his Disciples. He simply asks them to stay awake, watch and pray. Three times he finds them sleeping. It doesn’t say he yelled at them or got angry with them. It simply says he asked them, “Could you men not watch with me for one hour? (Matthew 26:40). It says the next time he found them sleeping he doesn’t even say anything to them. The third time he says the the hour is near. I am not very tolerant of people whom I have asked to do something and found they haven’t done it. I have had to ask my husband (as many wives do) several times to do something for me before it gets done. Too many times I have become impatient with my husband and said things I later regret. Christ shows a lot of patients with these guys.
Throughout the rest of the Holy Week we see Jesus being patient as he waits for his final hours. He is patient as they take him away from the garden. As he is being brought before the elders and teachers of the law he shows a great deal of patience. Standing there listening to all they have to say to him and saying very little. Being beaten and not fighting back shows a great deal of patience. I am afraid I’d be fighting back. I am not sure I could stand there and take what they were dishing out.
From carrying his own cross to having nails driven into his hands to being mocked and made fun of to dying on the cross Jesus shows us tolerance. How could he show so much patience toward all of these people in all of these situations? How could he be patient enough to ask for forgiveness for them?
Christ knew what He was called to do. Christ knew what God’s will was for His life. Christ kept that in front of Him at all times. Christ never forgot what He was to do. He had to be tolerant so He could fulfill God’s plan for salvation. He had to be patient so God’s plan for us would be fulfilled.
When God calls me to something many times I am not told of the whole plan. Many times I am not given minute by minute details of what I am supposed to be doing and when. Often times I get impatient not knowing all the plans or the details. God gave me a vision of something I was to do. Three years later parts of the vision came into being. You think I had patience those three years?
If it had been me I wouldn’t have wanted this to drag out all week. I would have said let’s just get this done. But, Christ knew God’s plan. He knew the things that had to be put into place for all of this to be accomplished.
He knew the details. I believe Christ knew the details and because he was all about doing his Father’s business he was tolerant and showed a great deal of patience throughout the whole week.
I have just had a thought. Maybe by showing us how patient and tolerant he was doing Holy Week He gave us an example of how we should live our lives during some of our darkest days. If Christ can be patient during some of his darkest days maybe we can live through some of our darkest days. Christ came through on the third day and He arose and was triumph over death. Not only do we have salvation because of what Christ did for us, but it also shows us if we hang in there we will be come through whatever we are facing. Christ trusted God and things turned out well for him even after some of his darkest days. If we hang in there and trust God, fully rely on him things will turn out well for us.
Our patience may run thin this week with all the extra services and all the extra things that need to get done, but if we stay focused on God things will turn out well for us and we will certainly enjoy the celebration. I am sure after his darkest days there was a bit of celebrating going on when Christ returned home and there is one waiting for us when we make it there.
Dear God: You taught Christ to be patient and tolerant of the many things he had to face and endure. He hung in there. He hung in there because he knew what he needed to do to accomplish your will. Help us to be patient, to endure and to be tolerant when you call us to do your will. Help us to stay focused. Amen