By: Ernest C. Wilson
How It Began. It is given to only a few men to change the course of history.
It was given to one man----Jesus Christ----to change the world.
And of all the days of His short life span, it was the last week, perhaps, that changed it most of all----the seven days (from His entry into the city of Jerusalem) by which the die was cast.
Five things done by Jesus especially roused the established authorities against him, precipitating a decision on His part, and a cataclysmic succession of events by which Jesus wrested victory from defeat.
It was this miracle that sealed His fate as far as the Jewish authorities were concerned.
“So the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered the council and said,’What are we to do? For this man performs many signs. If we let him go on thus, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and destroy both our holy place and our nation....So from that day on they took counsel how to put him to death. Jesus therefore no longer went about openly among the Jews, but went from there to the country near the wilderness, to a town called Ephraim; and there he stayed with the disciples.”
It has been conjectured that Jesus went to Ephraim to escape the danger of death----which He was so soon to invite in Jerusalem. There is another very human, very understandable reason for his journey. Strong men are less likely to be seen going from something than towards something, It is a matter of motivation. Jesus was drawn “to the country near the wilderness” for a reason that reaches back to the beginning of His ministry.
At that time when the very heavens opened and He saw God’s spirit descending like a dove, and a voice out of the heavens proclaiming, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” to Jesus humanly it must have seemed that all men would hear him gladly, as indeed we were told the common people did. In His divine nature even then Jesus must have had intimations of challenge, if not from others at least from within Himself; for as we are told, almost immediately He went apart up onto a high mountain place where He faced the temptations of worldly power and acclaim—and rejected them.
How natural then that He should return to this same area, to Ephraim, a place apart, when the thoughts of human travail and of spiritual destiny filled His mind and heart. “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father , save me from this hour’ no, for this purpose I have come to this hour.”
From this point the tenor of His ministry changes. There is a greater intensity, a greater urgency in His message. His often playful manner of speech, the easy camaraderie with the twelve is gone. The inevitability of the way He is to go is in sharp focus. He is more withdrawn, more pensive.
As He. “Went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues.... some Pharisees came, and said to him, ‘ Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.’ And he said to them, ‘Go and tell that fox, “Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I finish my course. Nevertheless I must go on my way today and tomorrow and the day following; for it can not be that a prophet should perish away from Jerusalem.”’
‘”O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, killing the prophets and stoning those who are sent to you.
How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!’”
Why was Jesus so persistent in proceeding towards Jerusalem? If He was to be slain must be in Jerusalem, fulfilling prophecy. And it must be at the time of the Passover
That last great tragedy could have been avoided. Jesus had been repeatedly warned not to enter Jerusalem. He had refused to accept that counsel.
The three years of his ministry had proved to Him that not even His closest companions had gained the true import of His ministry. To flee into obscurity now, before the threat of Rome, would be to lose whatever had been gained in those three years .It would mean oblivion for the revelations which His own particular gift to the world. It would imply a defeat of the principle of love and non resistance which had characterized His message.
He might return to Nazareth and resume His trade as a carpenter. Doubtless he could retain a certain following. Rome would not trouble him. His enemies would be glad to be rid of Him so easily.
His message, however, would possibly never reach beyond the two kingdoms. He would be remembered as just another thwarted man of vision; another minor prophet, ground under the heel of materiality.
So far as Palestine went, His mission was a failure, but through His personal sacrifice He might yet gain the world for His Father.
All of this must have been very clear to Jesus.
He made His decision.
“From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must......suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”
He set His course. And thus began a week that changed the world.
Church of the Science of God
La Jolla, California 92038-3131
© Church of the Science of GOD, 1993