“Each day He was teaching in the temple, and each night He went out and stayed on the mountain called the Mount of Olives. And all the people came early in the morning to hear Him in the temple.” — Luke 21:37-38, MEV
“Now the feasts of the Passover and of Unleavened Bread were two days away. And the chief priests and the scribes looked for a way to seize Him secretly and kill Him. But they said ‘Not on the feast day, lest there will be an uproar among the people’.” — Mark 14:1-2
On Wednesday in Holy Week, the storm is building.
Jesus is preaching in the temple each day — praying in the garden all night — people are coming early in the morning to hear him speak … Who goes to church before going to work just because what is happening there is so amazing? There’s something big in the air; everyone can feel it.
And it’s driving the religious leaders crazy. They don’t like Jesus and his big ideas. The crazy display of Palm Sunday made them angry and afraid. Now they’re losing their grip on their own turf, the temple.
Jesus knows, he knows, he has to know, by Thursday for sure it is obvious he knows, that the end is near. On Thursday night and into early Friday morning, he’s so overburdened by the insane pressure of the path before him, he can barely function.
Maybe because of yesterday’s meditation on Watership Down, but I was reminded of it again today in my lectio divina of the passages above: reminded of the part of the story where the brave Bigwig rabbit (called Thlayli in rabbit talk) has been trying to break out of a suffocatingly fascist warren and liberate some of the other rabbits with him. He had a good plan to make it happen … but everything went wrong, and they had to go running willy-nilly into danger as an ominous thunderstorm that has been building all day threatens to unleash a downpour on their heads.
Just as Bigwig and the other escapees come face-to-face with the terrifying figure of the giant, evil General Woundwort in their way, the first flash of lightning cracks and the thunder rolls. And Bigwig hears a voice in his head: “It’s your storm, Thlayli-rah. Use it.” (Rah is the rabbit word for “prince.” Who knew?)
In that moment, the pressures of the storm, the botched plan and the fear in the dark coalesce into something more, into resolution to make this escape happen and save the other rabbits, and Bigwig bolts into action — bamboozling Woundwort and securing freedom for his followers.
On Wednesday in Holy Week, the oppressive overture of what’s to come begins to weigh down on our Hero, Jesus-rah. But when the storm arrives, he will embrace it as his own, and use it to save us.