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The journey to the cross continues

9 April 2022

The journey to the cross continues

Reflections on the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus 

In this second of a two-part Easter series, Salvos officer (pastor) Captain Amanda Hart shares her thoughts on the events in the week leading up to the death and resurrection of Jesus (often called Holy Week). Amanda begins her reflections with the final meal Jesus shared with his disciples (followers) and the assurances Jesus gave them, even as he faced his impending crucifixion. 


Jesus had spent Wednesday being ministered to, but on Thursday, the day before ‘Good Friday’, he became the servant in every way. 

In the biblical book of John, five chapters are devoted to this meal that became known as the Last Supper. There was still much to be said, many lessons to be taught, and so during those final hours, that’s what Jesus did. He sat with the disciples, shared the meal with them and taught them – even Judas, who had betrayed him. Ioften wonder how Jesus sat so calmly next to the one he knew was about to hand him over to be killed. 

Nothing he said that night could have prepared his disciples for those next few days. No one could have imagined God’s plan. Crucifixion. Resurrection. Ascension to heaven and the coming of the Holy Spirit. 

But one thing Jesus assured his disciples of on that fateful night was that when he was gone, they would receive the Holy Spirit – counsellor, advocate, helper – who would take up residence in them and in us. 

After the Passover meal, in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus was arrested and taken to be tried. 

I wonder how the other disciples felt when Judas approached Jesus and betrayed him. Iwonder if Jesus still really meant it when he called Judas his friend. think about the guilt of the disciple, Peter, as recall times when Ihave denied Jesus – perhaps not in my words, but in my actions. Istruggle to comprehend that the same people who welcomed Jesus to Jerusalem at the start of the week were now crying out for his death. 

As reflect on this time, share the disciples’ frustration, guilt, fear, and emptiness as they questioned what was to come. 

Iam struck by the power of the voices of the chief priests and elders who convinced people to testify against Jesus. They persuaded the people to demand that Jesus be put to death. Although many people had heard Jesus teach and seen him perform miracles, the chief priests and elders used their position of power and authority to manipulate them. 

How do Iuse my position? For God’s purposes or my own? Matthew chapter 27 verse 20. 


This day would have been a day of absolute darkness for the disciples. Jesus, the Messiah, the one they thought would rescue them from the rule of the Romans, was gone. It all ended with an excruciating and humiliating death on a cross. Would they have been wondering if they could have done something to prevent this outcome? And, where to from here? 

We can never fully experience the emotions of Jesus’ followers on that dark day, but for me, Easter Saturday reminds me of the times that Iturn my back on God. They are times of darkness, hopelessness, and despair – a constant search for meaning. But Iknow the rest of the story, and so on Easter Saturday, Ieagerly await the dawn that brings with it new life. Mark chapter 15 verses 42-43. 


On Easter Sunday, we remember and celebrate the resurrection of Christ from the dead, his victory over death and the evil one. 

It would have been a day of extremes for the disciples – going from emptiness and despair to being full of hope and joy. 

Ilike to reflect on the first proclaimer of the resurrection – Mary Magdalene. Mary was a follower of Jesus. She had spent time with him, heard his teaching, seen miracles performed, but just like his other followers, she hadn’t understood that the cross wasn’t the end of the story. At least not until the risen Jesus spoke one word to her – her name. Mary. In saying her name, Mary’s eyes were opened. She was known, loved, and the truth had been revealed to her. Her life was once again transformed. 

We, too, can have new life, just as Mary did, because of the resurrection – we just need to be prepared to respond when he calls us by name. John chapter 20, verse 16. 


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