Today begins Holy Week, made so by the self-surrendering love of Jesus.
Whatever your weeks have been like, I want to really encourage you to take time this week to ponder and sink into the power and meaning of this week. This is the center of our lives as Christians.
Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter!
Passion Week called this from the Latin word passio means suffering and refers to the suffering that Jesus the Christ endured for us.
Jesus entered Jerusalem, knowing His time had come- to shouts of Hosanna in the Highest only to end the week on the cross, crucified as a criminal, dying for our sins and raised again triumphant.
This is a Big Event on the church calendar, rich with tradition. Our last week of this Lenten Journey 2014 will be a bit different, as we let it be a holy week for us, walking with the Lord in a deeper and possibly new way.
During this meaningful week, Jesus is intentional about his actions and His relationships with those He was closet to. As a follower of Jesus, imagine yourself in the story, walking with Him, knowing that He is the Messiah, not sure how it is all going to work out, believing but still in disbelief about all Jesus has told you will happen to Him this week.
As His follower, as His friend, having walked with Him, known Him, had your life forever changed by Him, enter in the unfolding story of this week. I promise if you do, Easter morning will be filled with wonder, awe, gratitude and love for your Lord and Savior.
This Sunday morning finds us entering Jerusalem behind Jesus as He rides on a donkey, hailed as the King. It is a good day for us as His disciples! The past few weeks have been difficult with all the talk of the Pharisees and religious leaders plotting to kill Jesus. Actually, we tried to talk Him out of coming to Jerusalem… if they want to kill Him, why walk into their trap? But Jesus was determined… and we have learned “that settles it.”
Jesus keeps telling us we will understand in time, that He must die and be raised, but we can’t fathom life without Him. Three years of following Him, learning from Him… sleeping in the hills, watching the stars as He told us stories of creation, days spent in boat, as He taught the multitudes, told us where to get the big catch, and walked on the water! Wow what a night! We have seen miracles in the lives of others, watching others come to believe that He is the Messiah… how can this really be coming to an end? What does He mean it is belter for Him to go away, and yet at the same time say He will never leave us?
Lining the streets of Jerusalem, waving Palm branches heralding Jesus, the crowd pushes in. I don’t like crowds very much, but they seem to be growing lately with more people wanting to hear Jesus teaching. I am excited for them to know Jesus as the Messiah, but I really do like the times we are alone with Him as a small group of followers, asking questions, learning more and just being with Him.
Jesus is so patient, taking time to greet the crowds, some of whom don’t even believe He is the Messiah, but don’t want to miss out on what is happening. The murmurs have been growing… there is tension in the air. Ever since Jesus taught at the Temple and people began to believe in Him, especially when He claimed to be “God in the flesh.”
Jesus isn’t bothered by it. He is resolved, governed by a sense of peace and purpose. He says He is doing the will of His Father. He is unwavering, and yet there is sadness about Him, a heavy heartedness that wasn’t there last year…
Recently Jesus said to us, “you know that Passover comes in two days, that’s when the Son of man will be betrayed, handed over and crucified…” I can’t wrap my mind around these words, let alone my heart. I have seen others be crucified, it is a brutal death the Romans inflict on criminals. Jesus isn’t a criminal! How can He say this will happen to Him?
Then other night at Simon the lepers house during dinner, a woman came and anointed Him with oil. She washed His feet with her tears, wiped them with her hair. He said she was anointed Him for burial. And yet today Jesus rides into Jerusalem like a King! It is a triumphant day!
Right now the crowd loves Him… “Hosanna, Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” is there cheer even though the Pharisees what Jesus to make them stop. He simply tells them that even if they silence the crowd, the rocks will cry out… shouting praise to Jesus.
I don’t understand all that is unfolding, but I know who my Lord is, and so I will stay by His side, following, waiting…hoping this ends another way.
Can you imagine the scene? What would you be thinking and feeling as one of Jesus disciples?
This week in addition to reading the Scriptures, I will include songs by one of my favorite Christian artists Michael Card. I invite you to sit and just listen… eyes closes, taking in the story told through song.
Read: the biblical account of these events told through the eyes of Luke
- Luke 18: 31-34
- Luke 19:28-40
Listen to Michael Card’s song: Ride on to Die
Read: Philippians 2:6-11
Listen to Michael Card’s song: Carmen Christi
Ultimately the Passion and death of Jesus ends in Victory.
We know this today, but imagine being in the midst of this story 2000 years ago…
Read the other gospels account of Palm Sunday
- Matthew 21:1-11
- Mark 11:1-11
- John 12:12-19
I encourage you to journal about your thoughts, feelings, reflections as you enter into this story as one of Jesus disciples
At some point this week, consider watching “The Passion of The Christ” movie
Daily Lectionary Readings:
Isaiah 50:4-7; Psalm 22; Philippians 2:6-11; Luke 2214-23:56
If you want to read through the New Testament during Lent (about 1/2 hour a day)
Read on Day 40: there is no specific reading for today…so catch up or take a break…
If you have been reading along, I would love to hear from you and what your experience has been, what you have learned, or some favorite passages/books that spoke to you.