As we begin the holiest week of the Christian church year, there is so much to think about. Jesus had reached the pinnacle of His career. For only three years He ministered to many, repaired broken bodies and souls, exorcised demons, taught people how to live and love one another. In just a few short days, He would be betrayed by one of his close followers, and denied by another. He would be falsely accused by the heads of the church – His body would undergo torture, submission, humiliation and shame. He would be nailed to a cross for crimes He never committed. A kangaroo court would sentence Him to death because He claimed to be a king. It is the day after Christ’s triumphal entry. The tide of glory and honor are slowly deteriorating. The church doesn’t like what they hear or see. Their goal is to put an end to it as quickly as possible. Come with me today to the streets of Jerusalem. A potter, about the same age as Jesus, has taken a break from his thriving business so he can listen to this controversial figure.
HADAR, THE POTTER
Yesterday, as it was nearing the end of the day, a golden glow filled the city streets. I had always loved watching the sun make its final departure. The sky was filled with mauve, gold and silver. Beams from the glorious light, filled a cloudless sky. Passover had begun. My shop was especially busy up to and including today. Being a potter in these times is a necessary profession. Everyone needs cups and plates. Occasionally I have an opportunity to make something a little more creative, but the everyday work is what keeps food on my table. I can’t complain. I have many workers and have created my own little business, so I feel blessed.
I’ve often received a commission or two with all the traffic from so many far away places. Special creations, like urns and decorative pieces that will line the interior of a wealthy home are often ordered at this time. The church also keeps us busy with orders for basins, cups and other objects that will be used in traditional ceremonies. That very morning I received an order for a special cup and plate to be used at a private Passover dinner in a few days. It was to be used by a prince. I was honored to be given this task and decided to do the work myself rather than putting it on the assembly line.
The clay felt good in my hands. It had been a while since I’d actually created a piece myself. The wheel turned rhythmically as my hands manipulated the mud into shape. It was as if my hands were being guided by some outside force. I wondered why a prince would be satisfied with a pottery chalice. He deserve one of silver or gold, but I wasn’t about to question his request. Once the clay took shape, I placed it in a kiln to dry as well as preserve it. I would then use special tools to smooth the items to perfection. I was proud of the work. I placed my mark on each item and wrapped them in soft lambskin to be delivered on Thursday morning.
I spent hours at the wheel. I was satisfied with the results. I was tired from using muscles that hadn’t been used for some time. I went outside the shop to rest, just in time to watch the sun go down again. I noticed all the shards of broken pottery left from other projects. It made me think of the words of the prophet Isaiah.
“But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.” Isaiah 64:8
The work of my hands is nothing in comparison with what my heavenly Father can do. He created mankind from a lump of dirt – molded and formed Adam into the perfect specimen. That perfection was soon obliterated by the dark cloud of sin, but nothing is impossible for God. He took the broken pieces of clay, reshaped them, remolded them and reclaimed them to what they were intended to be. He not only made us, but He repaired us to perfection.