I’m fascinated with the way Jesus spends His final Wednesday before the cross. The week begins with him pouring himself out in ministry and teaching. The week will end as he pours out his very life and redeems the world. It’s hard to imagine a heavier load or a busier week.
And yet Wednesday is unique. For as many details as we have about every other day of the Passion week, Scripture is strangely silent about the happenings of this day.
He spent the day in Bethany.
Surely there were a million things that could be done, a thousand people who demanded attention, a score of sermons that could have been preached. And yet during these precious final hours leading up to a Passover supper and the ultimate Passover act, Jesus retires to Bethany. What is he doing? While I can’t be sure what he’s doing, I can certainly guess with whom he’s doing it, because whenever he made his way into that town Jesus seems to find time for one beloved family in particular. “Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.” (John 11:5)
What a powerful thought. In his final moments of preparation before the injustice and intensity of the Passion, Jesus seems to spend the day in community. With the people he loves, and the people who love him. Lone rangers never work out, because we were made in the image of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. We come alive in community because we are formed in the image of the God of community.
We have eight children, which means my offspring were not simply born in general, but into a family. The new birth that Jesus provides does not just create a new person, but a new family made up of people who have all had the same experience. And the same Daddy. Which is why we thrive in community and we wither in isolation.
Jesus is about to know loneliness like no human ever has. He is going to taste the isolation that no man or woman was ever meant to taste as he will pay the highest price. But not on Wednesday. Today he encounters community.
As we approach the explosive power of resurrection Sunday, I remind us to draw near to God and to draw near to each other. There is a world to reach and neighbors to invite and mission to accomplish. But amazing grace does more than save a wretch like me; it makes it’s sweetest sound through the harmonies of our community, not just the melody of my individuality.
Let’s go teach the world to sing.