The love and intimacy of human relationships are central in the Easter story. Where does Jesus go on His way to Holy Week? He stops off in Bethany to see His best friends, Lazarus, Mary and Martha! We understand why because we feel most alive after an intimate dinner and great conversation about real life with fine friends. Meaningful conversations are some of the best memories I have from life in this world. I think it was the same for Jesus. Exchanging mutual yearnings for intimacy with God and others around a nourishing meal fulfills the soul.
Holy Week is about working together, serving together, spending quality time together and deepening the most important friendships. Jesus, the disciples and the women who supported them were busy every day. They ministered in the temple complex. Jesus taught all the people who came to hear Him. He stumped His opponents. (That must have made the disciples proud.) Everyone worked hard. They each had their jobs to do. They were there to meet and greet and share the love they had for Jesus.
In the evenings Jesus and His followers camped on the Mount of Olives. They had deep conversations about Christian living. Some of their talks are recorded in the Gospel, and they give us direction about what is really important in life.
The last dinner Jesus had with His disciples started with love. John 13:1 starts with this observation about Jesus: It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.
Love is the reason for Easter. Love is the reason for creation. Love is the reason for life. Life without love doesn’t make sense.
Then we move on to Friday. Jesus Himself said, Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends (John 15:13). Good Friday is the greatest example of love of all time. When Jesus willingly laid down His life for us, His friends, He showed us what love is all about. He showed us what true friendship can be.
Easter is about our friendship with Jesus. Easter is about becoming the kind of friend Jesus was. Easter is about intimacy with God through Christ that leads to intimacy with one another.
As you walk with Jesus to Easter, think about His friendship with you. Enjoy the reality of His love. Become the kind of friend Jesus was. Invite some friends over for a meal. Discuss the depths of God’s love with them. Enjoy deep conversations about the meaning of life. Create your own Easter friendships centered in love.
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