The temptation will be to treat this week as if it were like any other. But it is not. One week out of fifty-two is set aside as holy. We are in the midst of Holy Week.
Holy Week recounts the story of the last week of Jesus’ earthly life. I like to think of it as one story with four acts. I encourage you to use each act as a way of deepening your connection with God.
Act 1: Palm Sunday
A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,“Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
Jesus’ arrival into Jerusalem was celebrated throughout the city. People heard stories of Jesus’ power and had come to welcome him.
How can you welcome Jesus into your life?
To welcome is to accept gladly or receive with pleasure. Personally, I believe the choir helped us welcome Christ through their stirring cantata this past Sunday.
Apply it: What are other ways we can welcome Christ into our lives, our church and our world?
Act 2: Maundy Thursday
While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”
On Thursday of Holy Week, Jesus celebrated the Passover with his disciples. This has become known as Jesus’ last supper because it is his last meal before being arrested and crucified.
While at the table, Jesus took some bread and he called it his body. In this way, he offered them an image of self-sacrificial love.
Just as bread is broken in order to provide nourishment for our bodies, so Jesus’ body was broken in order to provide for us spiritually.
Then Jesus asked his disciples to remember him whenever they shared this special meal.
This Thursday at 6 pm, we will remember Christ through a Maundy Thursday service at 6 pm in the Fellowship Hall.
Apply it: How can you remember Christ and his love for you? Keep this knowledge at the forefront of your mind.
Act 3: Good Friday
They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.
Jesus left dinner only to be arrested shortly thereafter. He was brutally tortured and mocked before being crucified on a cross.
This, the low point in human history, shows the author of life put to death on a cross. A punishment, so grotesque it was reserved for Roman’s worst criminals, was used on an innocent man.
The cross, a symbol of terror in the Roman world, is now Christianity’s symbol of hope. Because Jesus showed us how not even death can end God’s unfailing love for humanity.
Apply it: By dying on the cross, Jesus shows us the way to real love. Commit to loving in the way Jesus loves.
Act 4: Easter
After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.
The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said.
The worst thing in the world was not the last thing. God raised Jesus from the dead.
In the same way, God promises new life to all who live in Christ. Jesus’ resurrection from the dead points to our resurrection after death.
Friends, Easter is coming. It is just days away. Death has been defeated and the sin of the world vanquished. Our world has not and will not ever be the same again.
Like I said, this week is unlike any other. It is holy.
Apply it: Immerse yourself in this story.
You can do so by reading Matthew 21 (Jesus’ triumphant entry), Matthew 26 (last supper), Matthew 27 (crucifixion) and Matthew 28 (resurrection). Commit to reading one chapter per day. Set this week aside as holy.
Holy Week Services
Maundy Thursday Seder Meal: 6:00pm on Thursday
Good Friday: 6:30pm at Artisan Church in Lincolnton
Easter Sunrise: 7 am
Easter Services: 9:30 and 11 am
See you on Sunday!