Holy Week, the most sacred week of the Christian faith, is upon us! Time to reflect on the hugely important events of 2000 years ago, and how they shape our lives today.
Maybe you haven’t thought about it, but the last week of Jesus ministry and the six plus weeks of resurrection appearances account for 26% of the four Gospels. This means that Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John thought that the events leading to the cross and Jesus’ resurrection were of the highest order of significance.
Even the early church thought so as the very heart of the Apostles’ Creed speaks to it:
Jesus… “suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again…”
So let’s look at the picture below and review what Holy week means to us:
Palm Sunday: We rejoice as we recognize our true King has come possessing salvation, and yet brings it humbly. We are to celebrate he who comes in the name of the LORD!
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your king is coming to you;
righteous and having salvation is he,
humble and mounted on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey. Zechariah 9:9
Maundy (Holy) Thursday: The focus of this day is twofold. First we experience the last supper where Jesus takes Passover bread and wine and reveals that he will be the sacrifice so that sin and it’s resulting death will no longer enslave us. He also commands (maundy comes for the Latin word for command) that we love and serve one another.
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:12-13
Good Friday: This day is called “good” even though it includes the torture, crucifixion, and burial of our LORD. So why do we call it “Good?” God is holy and humans are not. Holiness is not compatible with sin, and our sins separate us from God. Some act must bridge that separation, and only One who is holy can accomplish this. We believe that Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ achieved this with his passion. We humbly and gratefully reflect on this act of our Great High Priest who is also the and Lamb that was Slain for us!
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:5
Easter Sunday: We celebrate that early in the morning on the first day of the week, he was raised from the dead by the power of God! Although there were a few prophecies that predicted this, nobody in that time thought that the reanimation (resurrection) of a dead body was even possible. Yet over 500 people witnessed the crucified and deceased Jesus alive as he walked, talked, and even shared meals with them. We celebrate that something profound happened that day that changed the face of history forever! It gives us hope in the promise that someday he will return, and all the dead shall be raised. Death no longer has power over us…death has no sting!
I shall ransom them from the power of Sheol; I shall redeem them from Death. O Death, where are your plagues? O Sheol, where is your sting? Compassion is hidden from my eyes. Hosea 13:14
May you experience our Living LORD this Holy week…and every day of your life!