Thursday, March 21, 2024

Holy Renewal Through Listening Part 1


By: Donna Bucher

Over time, seeking holy renewal through rhythms of listening to the Holy Week narrative became a blessed ritual I eagerly anticipated.

Enjoying intensified times of prayer, reflection and occasional fasting allows me consecrated time for embracing holy renewal through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Holy Week then becomes a “setting apart” of cluttered, overburdened schedules to instead pursue deeper rhythms of spiritual renewal.

Using the events of Christ’s last week on earth prior to His death, we move through the hidden lessons of holy renewal through listening.

As we walk with Jesus through these events we unclutter our minds, set aside our burdens and renew our faith in the precious Lamb of God.

This week we explore listening to the first three days of the Holy Week narrative, and next week we will conclude the week with our final listening in Part 2.

Seeking Renewal Through Listening

What if this Lent was a Lent of listening? Amid all the chaos of competing voices, opinions, and perspectives; what if we chose slowing down and listening to the only Voice capable of calming the storm?

Your ears hear what your eyes embrace; come, look afresh on Christ’s last steps to Calvary. Make time each day for quiet reflection: breathe deep, lean into the embrace of silence, and invite God’s voice to speak.

The Rhythm of Anointing

Anointed twice in the space of six days, seals Christ as God’s chosen Passover Lamb. Sitting with the significance surrounding the anointing of Jesus revealed a sacred rhythm of renewal previously unseen.

Six days before the Passover, Mary of Bethany anoints the feet of Jesus at a supper in their home. (John 12:1-3) As the ninth day of the Hebrew month Nisan, this immediately preceded the designated tenth day when Passover lambs were chosen. (Exodus 12:3)

According to Old Testament law, the choosing and anointing of the lambs six days prior to the Passover sacrifice, brought the lambs into the home for inspection and protection from blemish.

An “unnamed woman” anointed the head of Christ two days before the Passover in the home of Simon the Leper. (Matthew 26:1-16Mark14:1-11) Fulfilling the second anointing of the Passover lamb upon the head signifying its condition as a blemish free “Lamb of God”.

Lingering with these two anointings reveals the true Hope of holy renewal in the perfect and final Lamb of God.

The Rhythm of the Triumphal Entry

The day following the second anointing of Jesus, as God’s Passover Lamb, we encounter His triumphal entry into Jerusalem. The significance coincides with the Jewish people bringing their anointed sacrificial lambs into Jerusalem for Passover.

In bringing their chosen Passover lambs into Jerusalem they declared their unblemished state before all and their readiness for the Passover celebration.

Jesus rode into Jerusalem with all of the Passover lambs, as THE Final Passover Lamb, but also in fulfilment of the prophecy in Zechariah 9:9:

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion, Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

Zechariah 9:9

Not only was Jesus submitting Himself to God as the sacrificial Lamb of God, but He declared Himself as the final King prophesied to sit on the Throne of David.

By embracing the rhythm of the Triumphal Entry, we embrace the true Hope of holy renewal in Jesus as both our Deliverer from the bondage of sin and our King Eternal in His coming Kingdom.

The Rhythm of Temple Cleansing

Finding Jesus cleansing the Temple the day after His Triumphal Entry offers the most unique peek into the rhythms of renewal. Often viewed as His distaste for the merchandising of His Father’s house; it provides a stark reminder of the importance of Temple cleansing prior to the Day of Atonement sacrifices.

Leviticus 16 discusses the cleansing of the tabernacle after the pollution by Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu when they attempted to approach the Holy of Holies unauthorized and died. The ritual cleansing and atonement were repeated yearly.

In Christ’s cleansing of the Temple, He prepared the Temple and people for the Final Atonement to come upon His sacrifice as THE Lamb of God. In so doing, He also demonstrated His title of High Priest.

Reflecting upon the Final cleansing of the Temple we receive the true Hope of holy renewal at the hands of our Great High Priest, willingly preparing the way as our personal atonement.

This week, savor these rhythms as you seek holy renewal through listening carefully to the Holy Week narrative contained in these first three days. Then come back next week for the final four days and conclusion in Part 2.

Find more encouragement and FREE Resources at Serenity in Suffering!


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