In-Sight: The Silent Day

Wednesday of Holy Week is often referred to as the silent day in the final week of Jesus’ life in earth.  He remained at Bethany in the home of Lazarus, Mary, and Martha–the home where (with the possible exceptions of his family home in Nazareth and Peter’s home in Capernaum) he was best loved and most able to relax.

We can only imagine that his four-night stay continued the same spirit of hospitality he had always experienced.  His friends had no idea that Jesus would never spend a day in their home again.  Even if they knew the opposition he was facing in Jerusalem, they (like the rest of the apostles) could not have predicted he was  two days away from dying on a criminal’s cross.

Jesus’ silent day in Bethany was, I am guessing, a day to laugh, talk, and reminisce.  I suppose it might have been a day to bring Lazarus, Mary, and Martha into his fate.  But I believe it was more a day for Jesus to embrace and soak up as much love from friends as he possibly could.

Jesus’ silent day was a day to listen to each of them, cherishing even the sound of their voices.  It was a day to enjoy their favorite food–and his.  It might have even been a day to tell some jokes or play a game.

In the course of Holy Week, Jesus needed an ordinary day.  Between “Hosanna!” and Crucify him!” he needed a day that avoided extremes.  He needed a day to experience his humanity before fulfilling his mission as the Son of God.

I am glad the silent day was there.  I am glad for Jesus, and I am glad for us.  I am glad one of the messages of Holy Week is that our discipleship always requires silent days and ordinary times.  It should not escape our attention that the last week of Jesus included Jerusalem, Golgotha–and Bethany.

About Steve Harper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 42 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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1 Response to In-Sight: The Silent Day

  1. Tom Pope says:

    Steve, I’ve never thought about the silent day much. Thank you for expounding on this, and helping me see a whole new appreciation for “silent days.”

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