Jesus taught a lot during the last week of his life, the part before the Crucifixion. Mark and Matthew and John and Luke all devote many column inches to this teaching.
And most of them report on the responses.
There seem to be two dominant themes: delight and destruction.
The crowds, the people, the masses, are delighted. The way Jesus carries himself in the arguments. The way Jesus takes on the Pharisees and the Sadducees and the teachers of the law. The way Jesus tells stories.
Everyone was delighted.
Except the leaders, of course. They wanted his influence destroyed. They were determined to trap him, to get rid of him, to kill him. They feared what the crowds would do, feared for their own power. They planned and plotted and had delight of their own when Judas arrived, ready to betray Jesus.
The point of his teaching, however, was neither delight nor destruction. He was seeking disciples, people who would obey what he taught.
In the middle of the week Jesus has a conversation that delights him. A man asks Jesus about what he really thinks. It’s not a trap, it’s an invitation to teach. And so Jesus does.
“The most important [commandment],” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
The best response to Holy Week is not emotional, though that is appropriate. Delight in the teaching, contriteness over betrayal, sadness in the dying – all these make sense. But the response that Jesus invited and affirmed was much deeper.
Do these things.