In the days preceding Easter, I spent some time reading the accounts the days before and after Jesus' trial, crucifixion and resurrection. As I read the scriptures, I could not help asking myself the question, 'What Were They Thinking?'
Who were the people I am referring to you might ask? My answer is, "Everyone!" That includes Jesus Himself. In this writing, I will share my thoughts as to what I believe a few of the characters were thinking.
A few days before Jesus was arrested, He was on His way to Jerusalem with His disciples. As they got near the city, He sent two of His disciples to a nearby village with specific instructions, "Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.’” (Mark 11:3)
I am sure the disciples were curious but there is no record of them asking Him what He needed the donkey for. In Luke 12:16, we are given a clue as to what was going on in the minds of the disciples. "At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realise that these things had been written about him and that these things had been done to him."
When Jesus rode into Jerusalem, we read that there was a great crowd in Jerusalem because of the Passover. When the people heard Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem, there was excitement in the air and immediately we read that people starting laying their clothes and palm branches before the donkey Jesus was riding and shouting, "Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the king of Israel!"
Among the crowd were those who knew Jesus but there were also others who were wondering who this person was. "When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?" To this question came the answer, "This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee." (Matthew 21:11)
What were the crowd thinking? I believe many of them thought Jesus was the one they were waiting for to release them from the domination of Rome. He was indeed the one they were waiting for but he had a higher purpose. He came to set them free from the domination of sin and grant them real freedom but they did not understand!
We have another group of people who were present while this was going on. They were the Pharisees. They were clearly not happy with what was going on and they came to Jesus to request that He stop the disciples from shouting and honouring Him. What were the Pharisees thinking? They thought that the people were doing the wrong thing. No other person was meant to be honoured this way except God. Unfortunately, they were so religious that they did not recognise that the Son of God was in their midst. Apart from that, in their minds, they felt that this event was clearly going to send the wrong message to Rome which will in turn threaten their religious leadership in Jerusalem.
On the day Jesus was crucified, we have another gathering of the people. Many of them had been incited against Jesus. When they screamed out loud, 'Crucify Him!' What were they thinking? They probably thought that they were doing the Lord's work. This man stood against everything that they had been taught from their youth. There were others like Mary who were there weeping. What was going through their minds? They clearly thought this was it. Everything that they had hoped in was gone. This was the end.
They had hoped that with all the miracles they had seem Him do, He clearly had the ability to prevent Himself from being hung on the cross. Their grief knew no bounds and even when Mary saw the Lord at the tomb after the resurrection, she could not recognise Him because she was not thinking about His resurrection. "He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for? Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him. Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”) (John 20: 15-16)
Another character I would like to examine is Thomas. When the other disciples told Him they had seen the Lord, he replied, "Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe." (John 20:25) The term 'doubting Thomas' was coined from this exchange. Thomas, like the other disciples was ignorant of the section of the scriptures which foretold the resurrection of Jesus. They also did not fully understand the various references He made about being raised up on the third day. As far as they were concerned, it was all over and they were at loss as to what was in store for them.
When Jesus appeared to the disciples including Thomas, He accepted Thomas' challenge and invited him to touch the nail scars in His hands and side. Thomas immediately moved from unbelief to belief by exclaiming, "My Lord and My God!". Upon seeing Jesus, His mindset changed. He didn't need to touch the nail scars as he previously said he would. Seeing the Lord was enough to convince Him. Jesus gently rebuked him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." (John 20:29)
Finally, I asked myself the question, "When Jesus was going through the suffering and the shame of being crucified on the cross like a common criminal, what was He thinking?" Only one answer came back to me loud and clear, "He was thinking of You". That hit me with the full force of the truth behind it. Jesus was thinking of me when he was on that cross and He was thinking of the same people who were jeering and cheering as He was being nailed to the cross. What a love! No wonder He said, "Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends." (John 15:13)
I don't know what you are going though today and you are thinking, "No one knows what I am going through and no one cares". I have news for you, Jesus, the same one who laid His life down for you, cares!
Let your thoughts embrace the truth that Jesus is thinking about you. Accept His love and experience the peace that comes only from knowing that you are loved.
Steve Popoola is the editor of Biblepraise Newsletter and the founder of the Biblepraise Fellowship Online at http://www.biblepraise.org. He lives in Kent, United Kingdom, where he works as an IT Professional. He currently serves as a Worship Leader as well as Home Group Leader in his local church and on occasion, speaks at invited events. He is the founder of the BiblepraiseFellowship Online Ministry and Moderator/Editor of the Biblepraise Newsletter. He can be reached through His email address, firstname.lastname@example.org