WEDNESDAY IN THE WORD April 5, 2023
“REFLECTIONS OF HOLY WEEK”
The GOSPELS tell the stories in the following chapters:
Matthew 21-28; Mark 11-16; Luke 19-24 & John 12-21
Many Christian religions in the week leading up to Easter have chronicled Jesus’ last week on earth. Holy Week or Passion Week as it is also known, is designed much like the 40 days of Lent, which are used to align our hearts and minds with God’s plan of Salvation and draw us closer to Him. This week allows us to Reflect upon the shift in humanity of Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross made. It starts with Palm Sunday which we just celebrated last week. It reminds us that Christ Jesus is King, as He entered Jerusalem.
This Holy Week leads through the “Last Supper”, His Crucifixion and ends on Easter Sunday with His Resurrection. This is the basis of Christianity. His sacrifice launched the New Covenant God promised, and many who prophesied about it throughout the Old Testament. Each day of the Holy Week allows us to peek into the heart of the Savior, in order to Reflect on the depth of the Love of God and Jesus, with every step toward the Cross, every breath, up to the last and on to His Resurrection.
The week began as Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, palm branches which symbolized Triumph or Victory were strewn in his path as he rode into the city. The shouts of Hosanna! Hosanna! Which means, “Lord Save us, Lord Give us success” could be heard welcoming him. Matthew 21:9. Beyond what the people thought or said, we should remember the willingness and obedience Jesus had for God the Father.
On Holy Monday and Tuesday: Jesus curses the Fig tree, Cleanse the temple and responded to the questioning of His authority by avoiding the traps the Priest were setting for him. So, he answered All of their questions with 3 Parables, and by claiming that God’s greatest commandment was “Love and to be Loved.”
Holy Wednesday is also known as Spy Wednesday, took place while Jesus was in Bethany visiting Lazarus, Mary and Martha. Mary anointed His body for burial, the Pharisees plotted to kill him, Satan entered Judas and his greed opened the opportunity to help trap Jesus for monetary gain.
Maundy Thursday or Holy Thursday began in the Upper Room. Jesus shares the Last Supper with his disciples. He washed their feet as a Servant example, and broke Bread with them for the last time. Teaching them to do this act of communion in remembrance of Him, using the Bread and the Wine to represent His body. Which is why we celebrate the Lord’s Supper. He also predicts His betrayal and denial. He and his disciples went to the Garden of Gethsemane, where He agonized in prayer over the people and he taught the disciples and us, what to do when we come to the end of our own strength and need God to help us press on. No one knew Love like the sacrificial selfless Love of Jesus before the Cross.
Good Friday: was the last day of Jesus’ life on earth before the resurrection. Betrayed, Denied, Abandoned by his Disciples, Arrested, Falsely Tried, Condemned, Beaten, Mocked, Required to carry His own Cross, made to wear a Thorny crown, Stripped naked, Hung on a Cross dying a painful death, dying with Grace. Even in His agony He pardoned a dying thief, Offered Care for His Mother and best friend, finally having His body placed in a borrowed tomb. Why is it called Good Friday? By Jesus’ death He became the Final and Complete Sacrifice for our sins. He was the only One capable of accomplishing that.
On Holy Saturday also known as Silent Saturday: His body rested in the tomb. Preparations of his body was being made up until the hour for the Sabbath rest to begin. The disciples experienced what they considered to be “The Silence of God” in the midst of their fear. Beyond the fear, sadness and confusion of the times, I believe Holy Saturday was, and is a time to lean into the presence of the Lord, placing our personal agendas at the door, while coming before Him just to simply be with him, listening and loving him. Holy Saturday is a great day not to ask for anything, but bask in the presence of the Spirit of Jesus.
We know what happened early Easter morning. So, my question is , “Why should Christians observe Holy Week?” It should not be done out of religious obligation, but out of hearts seeking the opportunity to journey with Jesus. Then, we will Reflect on these Holy days, by Understanding and Believing in the Sacrificial Salvation that He died to give us the Gift of Eternal Life, our observation of Holy Week will give Him the Glory and Honor He deserves. Amen.