Wednesday, April 1, 2009

It All Came Down to His Last Week

Zechariah 9:9 “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.

Have you ever noticed how many NCAA basketball tournament games are decided in the last minute of play? Not as many this year, but still quite a few games were hard to call until the last 60 ticks of the clock. I have often quipped the whole NCAA tournament could be played in one afternoon, just make all the games 1-minute long, since that's what so many come down to anyway.

When we consider the earthly life and ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ I am impressed with how much focus Scripture gives to His final week of ministry before enduring the cross and rising on the third day. This Sunday is designated as "Palm Sunday" which begins a week long consideration of the final week of Jesus' earthly life before crushing Satan's head at Calvary. It is true- it all came down to His last week- to fulfill the requirement of His sacrifice for His Church.

Think about it- The week of Christ’s passion provides an intense summary of all that Christ taught during His earthly ministry culminating with His death and resurrection.

The events of this final week before Christ’s resurrection are filled with miracles, confrontation, teaching, and fulfillment of prophecy like no other period in Christ’s earthly ministry, for my personal preparations I am reading the gospel accounts (a different one each day) of Christ's "Passion Week" until Easter Sunday morning.

I'm not much of a mathematician, but according to my calculations and confirmed through various sources- Jesus ministered publicly for three years, there are 52 weeks in a year making a total of 156. This one week, starting with Palm Sunday, makes up ½ of a percent of Jesus’ entire earthly ministry-time wise-yet, the gospel writers devote large portions of their accounts to the events of this single week!

The Gospel of Matthew is 28 Chapters long, 8 chapters are devoted to this week. 30%
The Gospel of Mark is 16 Chapters long, 6 chapters are devoted to this week. 37%
The Gospel of Luke is 24 Chapters long, 5 ½ Chapters are devoted to this week. 23%
The Gospel of John is 21 Chapters long, 11 Chapters are devoted to this week. 52%

Clearly it all came down to His last week my brothers and sisters. May God bless your contemplation of our Lord's Passion in these coming days leading to Resurrection Sunday!


Rick Calohan said...

Today marks one week that my household has been battling cold, flu, pneumonia, today in running errands, as I got out of my car I saw on the ground an envelope filled with a substantial amount of money, driver’s license, and bank card. I took the rain soaked envelope to the store manager and when I got home, I guess the change fell out in my jacket pocket. Therefore, I returned to the store and returned the change. I was asked if wanted to give my name in case the owner wanted to contact me, I declined.

Now did this good deed gain me merit or favor with our Lord? Some Christians might believe so, but I know it did not. What Christ did on the cross, none of us can ever repay. Because His Righteousness, His Love, His Grace, His Sacrifice for His people torn down the curtain and restored our relationship with God the Father through His SUFFICIENT Work on the Cross. No amount of works, no amount of good deeds will overcome your sinful nature and demerits. It is by His Grace ALONE!

If you are trusting in anything other than Christ ALONE for your path to salvation, you have missed the whole point of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Zach said...

Excellent post, Tony. Very devotional.

Rick, I would humbly suggest that your good works are manifestations of God's grace--and therefore redound to His greater glory. Isn't Sola Gratia exemplified in such works?

Rick Calohan said...


In a word, NO, doing what is right does not merit me favor with God. I do not earn frequent flyer miles for doing what is right.

If anything, it shows that I remember THOU SHALL NOT STEAL.

GRACE = unmerited favor.

Therefore, I humbly submit to you to you that Salvation is by Grace ALONE, through Faith ALONE, in Christ ALONE, as revealed in the Scriptures ALONE, to the Glory of God ALONE.

Zach said...

Rick, you seem to be considering your good works as isolated from--and in some sense opposed to--the grace of God. Should we not attribute your honest deed to the grace of God, rather than to your mental facility?

If our good works are due solely to God's grace, how can He do otherwise that look on them with favor? They are His work in us--faith working through love.

Rick Calohan said...


In short I attibute all things to God, for God is Sovereign in all things.

Long answer would require you to read the Scriptures.

Romans 1:16-17 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

Romans 3:28 For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, 30 since God is one—who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith.

Romans 4:5 And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness,

Romans 9:30 What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith;

Romans 10:4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

Romans 11:6 But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.

Galatians 2:16 yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.

Galatians 3:5 Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith— 6 just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”?

Galatians 3:24 So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith.

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Philippians 3:9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—

Perhaps those could be your devotinals this week.

If Christ work on the cross was sufficient, then why does God need our works to merit favor for salvation?

Still clinging to James 2: 14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! 20 Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. 24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.

However, James is not saying your works merit favor and Grace with God, he is saying your works are fruits of your saving faith to say otherwise would contradict Paul and the Holy Spirit, which James does not.

The Council of Trent on January 13, 1547 during the
The Sixth Session
Chapter XVI CANON XII.-If any one saith, that justifying faith is nothing else but confidence in the divine mercy which remits sins for Christ's sake; or, that this confidence alone is that whereby we are justified; let him be ANATHEMA.

Salvation is by Grace ALONE, through Faith ALONE, in Christ ALONE, as revealed in the Scriptures ALONE, to the Glory of God ALONE

Frontier Forest said...

Great thoughts Tony. I had never really considered the depth that each Gospel writer devoted to Christ’s power week of Passion! Rick, I am amazed by your humble confession; all glory going to the Cross and all goodness going to Grace because of the Cross.