The world is now a different place
Eight days that changed the world! That’s what Holy Week has been called which centres around the death and resurrection of Jesus. The world is now a different place because of those eight days.
It began on Palm Sunday when Jesus rode on a donkey, down the slopes of the Mount of Olives, to enter the holy city of Jerusalem. ‘Hosanna!’ the people shouted – ‘Save now!’
The reputation of Jesus had spread. Recently, he had produced the mightiest miracle he had ever done. He raised Lazarus to life who had been dead four days with a terrible stench.
The crowd wanted to see more miracles. They wanted to see another deaf person hear. They wanted to see a blind man be given sight. They wanted to see the skin of a leper made pure. They wanted to see the healer in action.
For them, the years of heathen domination by the Romans and of a corrupt religious elite were about to end and the victory of God’s anointed one would be complete.
Yet, by Friday, their dream seemed to be in tatters. Jesus was not the sort of king they expected who would run the Romans out of town. When the Temple authorities made their move, the only response by the majority of the followers of Jesus was to run away.
Denial, betrayal, false accusations all followed, until the final dark moments on the hill called Golgotha, ‘the place of the skull’, where their would-be Messiah was crucified.
These eight days are at the heart of the Christian faith, and they encompass pretty well the whole range of human emotions.
To live through them, even if only in imagination and prayer, is to share in the deepest mystery of human history – and the most glorious revelation.
As we enter this week expect to see yourself in the frailty of people like Peter, the disciples, Herod, the religious leaders, Judas, the soldiers, Pilate and the crowds in Jerusalem.
We have a long journey ahead of us before we arrive at the joy of Easter morning, but when we get there, it will be a celebration about life.
Jesus said in the Gospel of John, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” Jesus came that we may have life – and have it abundantly.
Together, the services of Holy Week—Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Day—form an extended celebration of the victory Jesus won over death.
I look forward to journeying with you this Holy Week as we walk the way of the Cross.