Holy week is upon us. I hope that you were able to make it to the beginning service of the most sacred of weeks in all of Christendom. Palm Sunday, as some know it as, opens the week with the reading from St. John’s Gospel where the Lord Jesus comes into the city of Jerusalem riding on the donkey, like the victorious kings before Him. The crowds are shouting, “Hosanna!” Even the children are shouting that refrain to their king.
All sounds great for Jesus in the reading from John. However the final verse from that reading gives us a view from the Pharisees. Their plan was set in motion to capture Jesus and kill him. I was blessed to have been in a congregation Palm Sunday that not only read this reading from John, but they also read the entire account of the Passion of Christ found in St. Luke’s Gospel. A week that starts out with celebration soon begins to turn south. Just like my bracket for NCAA Basketball Tournament. The cries of “Hosanna” change to the cry of “Crucify!”
This Holy Week, we come face to face with death and the stark reality of what Jesus did for us at Golgotha. He endured the cross for you. He was found to be innocent by the trials of Pilate and Herod, but he still endured the cross for you, in silence the lamb went to the slaughter. That was the road that Christ walked for you. And this week we ponder the work that Christ performed on the cross for us. He took your sin and your shame that your sin and shame might not have you. He went to death so that you might conquer death in Him.
This week is one that we have lived through on many occasions. This week, though it ends with sadness of Jesus Christ’s death on the cross has an end. It ends with jubilation and joy at the empty Tomb of Sunday morning. We know the end of the story. And an empty tomb means Jesus is alive! For you who have been united to Christ’s death by baptism have also been united to Christ’s resurrection from the grave! That is our hope, just like Job. “I know that my redeemer lives.” Our redeemer, Jesus, went to the cross to carry our guilt and our sin; at the cross he paid for them by giving himself up for us. His death gives us life. This is what Holy Week is about. We remember the bitter pains, sufferings and death our beloved Savior Jesus Christ “who emptied himself by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men, and humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Phillipians 2:8).
May you be blessed during this Holy Week as we ponder the Passion of our Lord. Amen.