Holy Week: A Sacred Journey Filled with Beauty and Pain
Remembering the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ
Holy Week begins on Palm Sunday and ends with Easter Sunday. It’s a time to remember and reflect on the Passion of Jesus that eventually led him to the cross and to his resurrection. It’s also a week that can bring on a range of emotions—joy, dread, sorrow, and eventually jubilation. Let’s look at the events of Holy Week.
- Palm Sunday: Jesus makes his triumphant entry into Jerusalem to observe Passover. Riding on a donkey he is greeted by crowds of people who lay palm branches and their cloaks across the road shouting, “Praise to David’s Son! God bless him who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Matthew 21:1-11 GNT).
- Holy Monday: Jesus clears the temple of those making a profit off the people coming to worship there. He heals the blind and the crippled in the temple. Jesus also curses a fig tree that has failed to bear fruit. (Matthew 21:12-22)
- Holy Tuesday: The crowds turn on Jesus and a plot is brewing to arrest him. After Jesus condemns the Pharisees and the teachers of the law of Moses, he leaves Jerusalem and goes to the Mount of Olives with his disciples. There he delivers the Olivet Discourse. (Matthew 23:1—25:46)
- Holy/Spy Wednesday: After two days teaching in Jerusalem, Jesus and his disciples spend this day resting in Bethany at the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. While there a woman pours expensive perfume on Jesus’s head. Meanwhile Judas the spy is preparing to meet the Sanhedrin to have Jesus arrested. The cost of betrayal: just thirty pieces of silver. (Matthew 26:6-16)
- Holy/Maundy Thursday: Jesus celebrates Passover with his disciples. He shares the Last Supper with them and institutes Holy Communion. After the meal, Jesus and the disciples go to the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus is betrayed with a kiss by Judas and is arrested. (Matthew 26:17-75)
- Holy/Good Friday: On this day, Jesus is condemned to death, beaten, mocked, and forced to carry his own cross to the place where he is crucified. At three o’clock in the afternoon, Jesus dies. Jesus paid the penalty for sin by offering the perfect sacrifice-himself. (Matthew 27:1-56)
- Holy Saturday: A day of mourning and darkness. Joseph of Arimathea takes Jesus’s body down from the cross and lays it in a tomb where it is guarded by Roman soldiers throughout the day. (Matthew 27:57-66)
- Easter Sunday: Early Sunday morning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary go to the tomb to find it empty. Jesus is risen! (Matthew 28:1-13)
As challenging as it is to walk with Christ during Holy Week, I pray that reading about these events reminds you of Christ’s unconditional love for you. His life, suffering, death, and ultimate victory over death was all for you. Jesus did what we could not do. He paid the price for our sin. He made a way for us to have a right relationship with God. And he did it because he loves us.
Let’s Pray Together
God, thank you for sending your only Son, Jesus, to save us. Precious Jesus, as I reflect on your journey to the cross, I remember your pain, suffering, and sacrifice. Thank you for your shed bled which purchased my salvation and has given me the hope of eternal life with you. Today, I recommit my heart to serving you and following you all the days of my life.
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