Have you ever had a week that started out good but went from bad, to worse, to horrific, to devastating, and then back to good? This is what Jesus experienced the week before His death on the cross. Christians call the week leading up to Easter/Resurrection Day, Holy Week or Passion Week. I call it Celebration Week. It is the Christian high holy season, a week of special Christian worship services and events to celebrate and commemorate Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection.
On the first day of the week, Jesus rode triumphantly into Jerusalem on a borrowed donkey as told in Matthew 21:1-11. This is representative of His Kingship. The crowds cut tree branches and shouted “Hosanna.” Christians now celebrate this event on Palm Sunday. This story reminds us to guard against superficial worship of the Lord as shown by the same crowd later that week crying out “crucify Him.”
The second day of the week, Jesus curses an unfruitful fig tree, teaches parables and on future events, condemns Jewish leaders, and the woman with the alabaster box anointed His feet for His burial. Also on this day, Judas agrees to betray Jesus for 30 pieces of silver, the price of a slave.
The Bible is silent about what took place on the third day of the week. Perhaps Jesus may have been in Bethany with His Apostles.
On the fourth day of the week, Jesus ate His last supper with the 12 Apostles and taught them servitude by washing their feet. In the Garden of Gethsemane, He prayed the prayer of consecration three times, teaching us that it is not about us but about the Father’s will for our lives. Jesus was also arrested. In the modern world, this day is Maundy Thursday.
The fifth day of the week was very eventful. Jesus was brought to Caiphas and Pilate, tried by Jewish and Roman authorities, disowned by Peter, and Judas kills himself. Jesus was beaten and crucified on the Cross at Calvary on Golgotha’s hill for mankind’s sin. Darkness veiled the earth for three hours and then He was buried in a borrowed tomb. We now call this day Good Friday.
Though Jesus was suffering, bleeding and dying on the cross, He was still serving and communicating. He uttered seven words or phrases. Firstly to His Father Jesus requested, “forgive them for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). Secondly to one of the thieves hanging next to Him, Jesus pronounced, “Today, shalt thy be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). Thirdly to His mother and John, Jesus said, “Woman behold thy son…Behold thy mother” (John 19:26-27). Fourthly He inquired of His Father, “My God, my God why has thou forsaken me” (Mark 15:34)? Fifthly Jesus uttered to His perpetrators, “I thirst” so that they would later get the revelation that He was fully God and fully man (John 19:28). In His sixth word, Jesus declared, “It is finished” (John 19:30). I believe He was speaking to the Trinity. To God the Father, those words communicated His assignment was finished. To Himself, God the Son, those words expressed relief that He had fulfilled His purpose. To God the Holy Spirit, those words advised it was almost time for Him to descend. In His seventh word, Jesus proclaimed to His Father “into thy hands, I commend my spirit” (Luke 23:46).
On the sixth day of the week, Jesus lay in the tomb all day.
On the seventh day of the week, Jesus arose from the dead with all power in His hands. We celebrate Easter/Resurrection Sunday on this day.
Jesus began this week in triumph, was then tested, tried, experienced a tragic death, and buried in the tomb. Lastly, He arose triumphant over death and the grave.
We thank God for Jesus’ victory. The probability is slim that we will ever have a week like the one Jesus had. But like Him, we, too, can endure life’s troubles, trials, and tragedies and arise in victory. Let’s decree and declare daily, “praise be unto God because He always causes us to triumph in Christ.”