Turning points. A point at which a decisive change takes place. A critical point. A crisis point.
There are many such points littered throughout history. Shots fired at Fort Sumter on April 12th, 1861 that began the US Civil War. Martin Luther nailing his 95 theses on the door of Castle Church in Wittenburg, Germany launching The Reformation. Adolf Hitler’s choice to invade Poland in 1939 that led to World War II. Rosa Parks’ unwillingness to give up her seat to a white person on December 1st, 1955 that began the Civil Rights struggle in earnest. All are examples of profound turning points in US and world history.
Interestingly though is that very few, if any contemporaries understood the importance of these moments at the time. They did not have the benefit of historic hindsight with which to evaluate these powerful moments. Rosa Parks, for example, did not set out that day to initiate a countrywide Civil Rights movement. She was simply tired of putting up with injustice and discrimination in her own life. The world never anticipated the blood-drenched repercussions of Hitler’s invasion of Poland. Turning Points are notoriously difficult to anticipate.
Maybe that is why the disciples were unable to grasp the enormity of their final Passover meal with Jesus. After spending three years together, they had shared this meal at least once, if not twice before. It was special, as the Passover was to all Jews; but not history changing. The disciples did not appreciate nor understand that they were rounding the corner on the most important Friday in cosmic history. Jesus’ institution of a new covenant—“This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood”—along with a new commandment—“do this in remembrance of me”—was met with shrugs and general confusion. The greatest Turning Point of all time was not appreciated by those present at the turning. The disciples were so unfazed by Jesus’ new instructions that immediately following this new Holy Communion, they began bickering over who of them would be greatest in the Kingdom.
You and I however share the benefit of history. We know about the excruciating sacrifice of that first Good Friday, the sadness and confusion of that Saturday and the holy unrestrained joy of the first Resurrection Sunday. We cannot claim ignorance of the power and importance of this most preeminent of Turning Points. The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the fulcrum that all of creation turns upon. Do not let this weekend, this yearly commemoration pass you idly by. Honor and bless the LORD by spending all the time necessary to soak in the potent meaning of His death and resurrection.
The marvel of heaven and earth, of time and eternity, is the atoning death of Jesus Christ. This is the mystery that brings more glory to God than all creation. C. H. Spurgeon