10 Apr A Journey Through Holy Week
Holy Week is an amazing time in the life of a Christian. Spend time each day following Jesus’ footsteps on His walk to the cross, the tomb and resurrection.
Day One – Palm Sunday. Jesus makes His triumphal entry into Jerusalem on a young donkey, knowing that He would soon lay down His life for the sins of the world. This fulfilled the ancient prophecy in Zechariah 9:9. The crowds welcomed him by waving palm branches in the air and shouting “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” (Hosanna literally means ‘Save us now’ or ‘Please deliver us’.)
Day Two (Monday) – Jesus Clears the Temple. On the way to Jerusalem, Jesus cursed a fig tree because it failed to bear fruit. This was a word to all believers, demonstrating that true faith is more than an outward show of religion. True faith bears spiritual fruit in a person’s life when they live by faith.
When Jesus arrived at the Temple and found the courts full of corrupt money changers, He began overturning the tables and clearing the Temple, shouting, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be a house of prayer,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves.” (Luke 19:46)
Day Three (Tuesday) – The Mount of Olives. At the Temple, the religious leaders aggressively challenged Jesus’ authority, attempting to ambush him and create an opportunity for his arrest. But Jesus evaded their traps and pronounced harsh judgment on them: “Blind guides! … For you are like whitewashed tombs—beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity. Outwardly you look like righteous people, but inwardly your hearts are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness…Snakes! Sons of vipers! How will you escape the judgment of hell?” (Matthew 23:24-33)
Tuesday afternoon Jesus left the city and went with his disciples to the Mount of Olives. Here Jesus gave the Olivet Discourse, an incredible prophecy foretelling the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the age. He taught about end times events, including his Second Coming and the final judgment. Scripture indicates that Tuesday was the day Judas Iscariot negotiated with the Sanhedrin to betray Jesus (Matthew 26:14-16).
Day Four (Wednesday) – Silent Wednesday. It is speculated that Jesus and His disciples spent a day of rest and prayer after the last few exhausting days. It is likely they stayed during this time with his close friends Mary, Martha and Lazarus (whom Jesus had raised from the dead just a short time previously).
Day Five (Thursday – Passover. Jesus washed the feet of His disciples just prior to the Passover Feast, which was to be their last meal together. (Luke 22:15-19). The Lamb of God would soon fulfill the meaning of Passover by sacrificing His Body and Blood for the sins of the world, freeing us from sin and death.
Afterwards, Jesus and the disciples went to the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus prayed in agony to God the Father. Luke’s Gospel says “his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” (Luke 22:44).
Late that evening in the Garden, Jesus was betrayed with a kiss by Judas Iscariot and arrested by the Sanhedrin. He was taken to the home of Caiaphas, the High Priest, where the whole council had gathered to begin making their case against Jesus.
Meanwhile, as Jesus’ trial was getting underway, Peter denied Jesus three times before the rooster crowed, as foretold by Jesus.
Day Six (Friday) – Jesus’ Trial, Crucifixion, Death and Burial. Good Friday is the most difficult day of Holy (Passion) Week. Christ’s journey turned unthinkably painful in the final hours leading to His death. Judas Iscariot, the disciple who had betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver, was overcome with remorse and hanged himself early Friday morning.
Before the third hour (9 a.m.), Jesus endured the shame of false accusations, condemnation, mockery, beatings, and abandonment. After multiple unlawful trials, he was sentenced to death by crucifixion, one of the most horrible and disgraceful methods of capital punishment.
Before Christ was led away, soldiers spit on him, tormented and mocked him, and pierced him with a crown of thorns. Then Jesus carried his own cross to Calvary where, again, he was mocked and insulted as Roman soldiers nailed him to the wooden cross.
Jesus spoke seven final statements from the cross. His first words were, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34). His last were, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” (Luke 23:46). Then, about the ninth hour (3 p.m.), Jesus breathed his last and died. By 6 p.m. Friday evening, Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, took Jesus’ body down from the cross and lay it in a tomb.
Day 7 (Saturday) – The Tomb. Jesus’ body lay in the tomb where it was guarded by Roman soldiers throughout the day on Saturday, which was the Sabbath. When the Sabbath ended at 6 p.m., Christ’s body was ceremonially treated for burial with spices purchased by Nicodemus. While his physical body lay in the tomb, Jesus Christ paid the penalty for sin by offering the perfect, spotless sacrifice. He conquered death, both spiritually and physically, securing our eternal salvation: “For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And the ransom he paid was not mere gold or silver. He paid for you with the precious lifeblood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God.” (1 Peter 1:18-19).
Day 8 – Resurrection Sunday. Today is the pinnacle of Holy Week. For Christians everywhere, this stands as the most important event and the very foundation and truth of all we believe in. Early Sunday morning several women (Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, Joanna, and Salome) went to the tomb and found that the stone covering the tomb’s entrance had been rolled away. An angel announced, “Don’t be afraid! I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen.” (Matthew 28:5-6).
On this the day of his resurrection, Jesus Christ made at least five appearances. Mark’s Gospel says the first person to see him was Mary Magdalene. Jesus also appeared to Peter, to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, and later that day to all of the disciples except Thomas, while they were gathered in a house for prayer.
The eyewitness accounts in the Gospels provide undeniable evidence that the resurrection of Jesus Christ happened. 2,000 years after his death, people continue to exalt His name above all names and recognize Jesus as the only Son of God and the true Messiah. Jesus Christ is Risen! Hallelujah!