You have probably never had a close friend or a group of people scheming to kill you. With the efficiency of modern weapons, I’m certain you wouldn’t be reading this if that were the case. Jesus has this special problem. Check out how cool He is, according to the gospel of Luke.
Jesus is under a lot of pressure. With countless followers and a large group of powerful enemies, the environment around Jerusalem intensifies. Jesus arrives in Jerusalem looking like a king, creates a scene in the temple, starts a series of arguments with the religious authorities, then tells his disciples to look for specific signs to determine the end of the world is coming. Fed up with the fiasco, the religious leaders look to kill him, and Judas agrees to help for a relatively small amount of cash. (v. 1-6)
Jesus handles the pressure remarkably well. I suppose you can’t expect any less from the Son of God Himself. He has some high quality pedigree going for Him.
1) He keeps His commitment. (v. 7-13) Jesus still celebrates Passover like a good Jewish person should, even suggesting asking a stranger to prepare a room for Him. It would be more convenient to just let it go and “take a break.” His resolve to follow through is astounding.
Even more amazing is Jesus’ prediction, that the disciples would find everything exactly as He described, making this whole scene beyond coincidental.
2) He remains zealous for His friends. (v. 14-16) Rather than isolating Himself and becoming reclusive, He insists on hanging out with His friends and finding comfort in a meal together.
3) He eats with His enemy. (v. 17-23) Jesus does not resort to hostility and hatred at the Passover table. He makes it clear that the enemy is still present (which makes you wonder, since Satan had entered Judas, who Jesus was referring to specifically), but He doesn’t spurn Judas altogether and set up a special interest group to counter this evil force. Know that Jesus does not condone the act, however.
4) He continues to tell the truth. (v. 24-27) His character is not compromised, and He remains the teacher at the table. Even at the eve of His death, His buddies are bickering about who would be the greatest once Jesus hands the scepter over to them, supposedly. Jesus reverses the status quo and says they must serve in order to be the greatest. It would be easy to just get mad and act emotionally, but Jesus keeps His composure.
5) He encourages others. (v. 28-32) Everyone loves to have a good pity party, but no one likes showing up. Instead, Jesus expresses His love for His friends, resolving to tell the disciples how grateful He is for their endurance in the midst of turbulence.
6) He puts His battle gear on. (v. 35-38) I love the movie “Gladiator” — in addition to the stylized violence, it wields lessons in tenacity and shows there is no reason to quit gritting our teeth. Jesus knows He’s marching into death. His disciples might not entirely get it, but He insists on preparing them for battle. May we always do the same.
We don’t all have the makeup to fire a gun with bullets whizzing by, or to throw a touchdown with less than a minute on the clock. But we all have the ability to handle pressure; we’re not expected to be in a duplicate situation like Jesus, but, through the power of the Holy Spirit, we must always stay steady in tight situations.
– Follow through with your commitments.
– Stay close to your friends.
– Don’t completely avoid your enemy.
– Maintain a stance on the truth.
– Lift others up despite your own condition.
– Prepare yourself all the time.
This world needs sturdy Christians. Lift your hands in worship when you’re in the assembly, but raise your fist in defiance when resistance comes your way.