Holy Week is the week before Easter Sunday; a week full of significant events in the life of Jesus Christ, and as such, in our lives as well. Many of those events we are familiar with. The week began with what we call Palm Sunday, the occasion in which Jesus entered Jerusalem, on a donkey, to shouts of “hosanna” from the crowds who gathered to honor and celebrate His arrival. This was also the week in which He threw the moneychangers out of the Temple, declaring God’s house should be a house of prayer for all nations.
Holy week is also the time in which Jesus ate the Passover meal with His disciples for the last time and instituted what we call “The Lord’s Supper,” or “Holy Communion.” He gave them bread and wine and told them it was His body and His blood, which was to be sacrificed for the world. Holy Week is the time when Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, was betrayed by Judas, arrested by the Roman soldiers, denied by Peter, deserted by His friends, falsely accused, lied about, beaten with fists, rods, and a whip, stripped, spat upon, humiliated, condemned, and nailed to a cross with a crown of thorns on His head.
It was during Holy Week that Jesus died.
There really isn’t much that seems holy about what happened during Holy Week. Betrayals, beatings, blood... It is all about suffering, agony, and death. Even the triumphal entry in to Jerusalem on Palm Sunday ended with Jesus weeping over the city because of the spiritual blindness of the people. Of course, we are able to see through the lens of Easter Sunday. We see through Resurrection colored eyes! We understand the goodness and the holiness of such terrible events because those events are necessary for and as defined by the Resurrection. We see the week as indeed a Holy Week, and the day of the brutal execution of Jesus as Good Friday.
And well, we should, for certainly it is.
We understand how all this applies to our lives in the specifics of the sacrificial death of Jesus on the cross and the glorious reality of the empty tomb of a resurrected Savior, but sometimes I think we miss some of the lessons of Holy Week. We overlook or fail to see some wonderful and important truths, which Holy Week teaches us. Consider these messages from Holy Week:
There is a difference between hard and bad. Almost everything about Holy Week was hard, but it surely wasn’t bad. Sometimes hard, even painful things are not necessarily bad. Jesus’ road was a hard road, but a necessary one, and a very good one.
When things seem hopeless, they are not. When all seems lost, it is not.
Even death is not the end.
Betrayal can be forgiven. Betrayers can be restored.
God’s will does not promise to be easy, but always worth it.
This life is not all there is.
When it seems all is dark and God is silent, He is still at work.
God does have the final word.
Holy Week? Yes indeed! A good week? Absolutely! An easy week? Not at all! These statements are true about the last week of Jesus’ life. As we surrender our lives in to the Father’s hands, we will find them equally true for even our most difficult times.