Holy Week is bracketed by two unexpected, triumphant events: Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem and Jesus’ resurrection from death. The days in-between take Jesus, and his followers, through the full spectrum of emotion and experience. His followers sense a shift in Jesus, but don’t grasp what he is trying to tell them. Religious and political leaders have been losing control of the masses and, wanting to staunch a rebellion, plot and strategize how to take back control – namely remove this popular Jesus. Jesus knows his mission is coming to completion and wonders if he’s up to the task of fulfilling it.
The events of the week are easily overlooked as we move from one triumphant Sunday to another. Easter is what sets Christianity apart from all other belief systems and the events of the week leading up to Easter are pivotal. Entering into the experience enriches our understanding of the magnitude of what transpired and grounds our hope in what is to come.
Each day through Holy Week will feature a reading, a few questions for thought and a prayer. I invite you to read your daily activities in light of Jesus’ experience and see what emerges in light of your daily routine. Be open and alert. Who knows? Maybe Easter will mean more to you because of your journey with Jesus from the gates of Jerusalem to the foot of the cross.
When Jesus had finished saying all these things, he said to his disciples, “You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.”
Then the chief priests and the elders of the people gathered in the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas, and they conspired to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him. But they said, “Not during the festival, or there may be a riot among the people.”
Now while Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very costly ointment, and she poured it on his head as he sat at the table. But when the disciples saw it, they were angry and said, “Why this waste? For this ointment could have been sold for a large sum, and the money given to the poor.” But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? She has performed a good service for me. For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me. By pouring this ointment on my body she has prepared me for burial. Truly I tell you, wherever this good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her.”
Then one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What will you give me if I betray him to you?” They paid him thirty pieces of silver. And from that moment he began to look for an opportunity to betray him. ~ Matthew 26:1-16
Where do you see hostilities and betrayals in our world?
Is there anything that would be worth it to you to betray a friend?
What small betrayals have you been ensnared by, and how can you make amends for them?
Gracious and loving God, make me mindful to not allow bitterness or disappointment lead me to harm others whether in thought or deed. Amen.