Holy Week – Jesus’ Passion
Sunday, Day 1 of 8:
Save us, we pray, O Lord! O Lord, we pray, give us success! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! We bless you from the house of the Lord. (Psalm 118:25-26)
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. (Zechariah 9:9)
In Matthew 21:1–11, Mark 11:1–11, Luke 19:28–44, and John 12:12–19, Jesus descends from the Mount of Olives towards Jerusalem, and the crowds lay their clothes on the ground to welcome him with shouts of “Hosanna” (“Save us” as recorded in Psalm 118:25) as he triumphantly enters Jerusalem in fulfillment of Zechariah 9:9.
The triumphal entry is traditionally commemorated on Palm Sunday.
Monday, Day 2 of 8:
On the following day, when they came from Bethany, he was hungry. And seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to see if he could find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. And he said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard it. And they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold and those who bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. And he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple. And he was teaching them and saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.” (Mark 11:12-17)
(See also Matthew 21 and Luke 19)
Jesus expects fruit, and not empty religious attitudes and activities. He wants people to pray to the Father in heaven, not prey on others, especially in the name of God.
Do our affections, attitudes, and actions flow from our love for the Lord Jesus Christ and for the glory of God?
On this Monday let’s drive out the pretensions of our hearts and activities and bear spiritual fruit to God, for without Jesus we can do nothing. (See John 15)
Tuesday, Day 3 of 8
Jesus is in conflict with the religious establishment in Jerusalem and pronounces seven woes on them. A “woe” is a statement of judgment. One such to them was: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside, but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and every kind of impurity. In the same way, on the outside you appear to be righteous, but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.” (Matthew 23:27-28)
They were withered and fruitless like the cursed fig tree.
In Jesus’ first recorded public sermon approximately three years prior, He said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, …” and He taught the internal nature of the law, in that, only regarding external regulations does not mean that you are regarding the law in the heart.
On this Tuesday, let’s endeavor, by God’s grace, to guard our heart (Proverbs 4:23) and keep His commands by loving Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and other people (our “neighbor”) as ourselves. (Mark 12:30-31)
Wednesday, Day 4 of 8
The Bible does not mention Holy Wednesday or Spy Wednesday.
According to the traditional interpretation of the Bible, Holy Wednesday is the day on which Jesus was anointed with spikenard
during a meal (Matthew 26:6–13). The day is sometimes called “Spy Wednesday” since it is traditionally thought of as the day Judas conspired with local authorities to betray Jesus (Matthew 26:14–16).
Some use the word “Tenebrae” in regard to Holy Week Wednesday. Tenebrae means “darkness or obscurity.” Besides us not dogmatically knowing the events of this day, Jesus’ disciples did not know the significance of this week. It was rather obscure to them. Judas was in darkness in his willingness to betray the Master. Jesus knew. He knew it all and the significance of His “Passion Week.”
May God open our eyes to His plans and truths that are dark and obscure to us. May we come to appreciate all that Jesus did this week, especially since He knew Judas would betray Him, His other disciples would forsake Him, and He would suffer in ways we could never, and then be brutally killed on a cross. He “set his face like a flint” (Isaiah 50:7) to do what He came to Earth to do.
Thursday, Day 5 of 8:
Jesus and His disciples shared the Passover meal, which is known as the Last Supper, since it was their last Pesach seder (Passover meal) before Jesus was to give His life and blood on a cross for the forgiveness of the sins of those who would trust in Him as their Savior.
Luke 22:14-20: And when the hour came, he reclined at table, and the apostles with him. And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves. For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.”
Afterward, Jesus washed the disciple’s feet.
Many call the fifth day of Holy Week “Maundy Thursday” – maundy is from the Latin mandatum meaning mandate or command.
Jesus’ mandate to His disciples after Pesach and washing their feet: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35)
May we partake of Jesus’ body and blood by faith with a heart of love for Him, and may we obey His command (mandate) to love each other as He has loved and does love us.
Friday, Day 6 of 8:
Jesus is crucified. (Matthew 27; Mark 15; Luke 23; John 19)
This day is referred to as “Good Friday.” It was God’s plan for our good.
“For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” (Romans 5:6-11)
Let’s make sure that we are trusting in Jesus’ sacrifice for our forgiveness of sins. He died for us. Nothing else will suffice. Jesus cried out, “It is finished!” (John 19:30) Jesus fully paid the price. We must believe in Him (fully trust) and in Him alone for our salvation.
May we then fulfill the words of 1 John 4:19 “We love because He first loved us.”
Saturday, Day 7 of 8
At the beginning of Jesus’ ministry of showing Who He was, He changed water into wine at a wedding in Cana of Galilee, then stayed a few days in Capernaum, and then went to Jerusalem and drove out the money-changers from the temple. The Jewish religious leader’s response is recorded in John 2:18-21: So the Jews said to him, “What sign do you show us for doing these things?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?” But he was speaking about the temple of his body.
Three years later, Jesus was killed “according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God” (Acts 2:23). According to each of the Gospel writers, His dead body was buried according to Jewish burial customs (Matthew 27:59-60; Mark 15:46; Luke 23:53-54; John 19:39-42).
He was dead, and there was no doubt about it. But that was to be temporary, and it was only day two of three of Jesus being dead and buried in a tomb (sepulcher).
Seven hundred years prior, the prophet Isaiah wrote, “And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.” This was fulfilled by the burial of Jesus. His body was placed in a rich man’s tomb by its owner, Joseph of Arimathea. Jesus would only need it’s use for three days, and today was only day two of the three.
As we remember this particular Shabbat (Sabbath), the day of rest, may God work in our hearts to trust Him and to rest in His precious and very great promises (2 Peter 1:4). He is at work even when we can’t see His hand and even if we don’t perceive His plan.
It’s day seven of His Holy Week, and it’s only day two of three of His very great promise which is precious to us.
~Steve Battaglia, 4/16/2022