The Christian community calls it Holy Week, the days between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday.
The days ahead will be holy because they have been consecrated by God for His eternal purpose. The purpose is redemption.
The final days before Jesus’ death were eventful, and the gospel writers pay careful attention to the details.
As I read the chapters marking this time, I see a sequence of events occurring one after the other, events that are bringing us to the climax of the story.
- Passover draws near and the city of Jerusalem fills with people.
- Jesus tells His disciples plainly that He is about to be killed.
- He is anointed with precious ointment and acknowledges it is for His burial.
- The Pharisees plot Jesus’ arrest.
- Judas falls right into their hands and suggests he can help, for a price.
- Jesus says He will be lifted up, and he clearly means he will be crucified.
The stage is set. The will of the Lord is written in heavenly stone and it will come to pass.
Yet some still do not believe.
Matthew and Mark give us a peek into the private conversations of the Pharisees and elders who want Jesus dead. “But not during the feast [Passover] or the people might riot,” they say to one another.
The reason is because Jerusalem will be teeming with those coming for Passover. By this time, Jesus had a following, those who had seen or heard of the miracles and believed He was the promised Messiah. The crowds had just hailed Him as the One who would come and deliver them.
This was not the right time for an uprising, not the time to confront and arrest and crucify.
But it was the time, the fullness of time. It was God’s time.
All things pointed to Jesus’ death. And it would come to pass. Jesus was appointed as the Passover sacrifice.
Just like the ointment poured on His feet, He would be poured out for the sins of the world, the precious blood of a Lamb without blemish. It would be a fountain flowing to cleanse from the dreadful stain of sin. And nothing was going to stop the promise of God from being fulfilled.
For Jesus it would be a week of activity, of final words, of sharing a meal and showing the depth of His love. For His followers it would be confusing, disappointing, heartbreaking, and yet revolutionary.
It was a Holy week.
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Revised and reposted from March 2015