This weekend marks the beginning of Holy Week. Palm Sunday ushers in a week where we consider what our Lord experienced leading up to his betrayal, his beating, his death, and then, ultimately, his resurrection. We begin with the high of the triumphant entry, work our way to the low of Maundy Thursday, wait out the Great Vigil of Easter, and then experience the greatest of celebrations with the resurrection of Jesus. It is tumultuous, emotional week, and for good reason.
There are some acute reasons for what is going on in Jerusalem during this unique Passover celebration. A young rabbi from Nazareth has come to town, and it is rumored he can do all kinds of miracles. People hear that he may have even raised Lazarus from the dead! And so, they are excited.
Some are threatened. The Jewish leaders and Roman occupation stands to lose in a very significant way if, in fact, this Jesus fellow is who says he is. The Jewish feasts were big business, and if, at the very least, Jesus convinces them to no longer participate, the financial implications will be significant. And there are, of course, other acute reasons Jesus was a threat to many people in power.
In the bigger picture of God’s plan for salvation, much more is going on than threats to the wealthy and powerful. God has chosen this moment to be the pivotal moment of his plan of salvation. God the Son will give his life to appease the wrath of God the Father and make it possible for people to have a relationship with God by his grace through faith. And that sacrifice and promise are sealed by the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.
To get (us) to this point, Jesus will suffer. He will endure agony upon agony for our sake. He will be mocked and tortured for purposes only he can see. His enemies will taunt him mercilessly, and strut around thinking they bested this threat.
Hardly anyone realized that Jesus had bigger purposes on his mind, that he was the Messiah of God’s people. We are often guilty of that kind of narrow thinking. We are convinced God will act in a particular way, only to find God surprising us.
The death and resurrection are huge surprises, and they bring to all people the very hope of God. My hope and prayer for each person this Holy Week is that they reflect deeply on the words, actions and ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ during the time of his passion, death and resurrection.
In so doing, you will experience tremendous blessings.