The Holy Week* is the most important week of the year for Christians: Jesus’ death and resurrection are the foundations of our faith. We believe Jesus died for our sins. We believe Jesus conquered death by raising Himself to life on the third day. We believe Jesus ascended into Heaven and sits at the right hand of God. We believe He is coming again. And we believe we have eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ alone. I invite you to join me in meditating on Jesus’ journey to the cross this week, and what that means in our lives today.
That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. – Romans 10 9-10
As with many of the things I was taught from a very young age, the events leading to Jesus’ death have taken on deeper significance as I grow older and more mature in my faith. Yesterday was Palm Sunday. Approximately two thousand years ago, Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. Everyone believed He had come to save the Jews from Roman oppression. But Jesus didn’t come to give us the good life; He came to bring us eternal life!Jesus didn't come to give us the good life; He came to bring us eternal life! - Kimberly Sutor Click To Tweet
So often, we are short-sighted when we think about our future. In our ignorance, we want what we want right now. But God had a longer view. On that first Palm Sunday, the Jews were looking to Jesus to be their new King; to save them from Roman rule. But Jesus knew what He was coming to do wouldn’t “fix” their current state of affairs; actually, it would only make believers’ lives more difficult. In fact, a few days later He would warn them, “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me.” – Matthew 24:9 Doesn’t really seem cause for celebration, does it?
Oh, but it was! Palm Sunday is just one more example of prophecy fulfilled through Jesus. Over 500 years earlier, it was prophesied,
Say to the Daughter of Zion, “See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” – Zechariah 9:9 (NIV, c1978)
I’m sure Jesus’ heart was breaking as He heard the Jews crying out, “Hosanna!” (“save us,” Hebrew) He could have chosen to “save the day” and given the people what they wanted by declaring Himself their king. Instead, He chose the path His heavenly Father had set out before Him. He chose the dark journey. He chose to have the sins of all mankind nailed to Him on the cross.
so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people… – Hebrews 9:28 (NIV, c1978)
Jesus didn’t hold back; He walked into Jerusalem in obedience. He chose to be the once-for-all sacrifice so that – through His physical death and resurrection – we might have spiritual life.
Thank You, Jesus.
A Prayer for Palm Sunday
Father God….thank You for the reminder the first Palm Sunday gives: of what it truly means to walk in obedience to You. Reveal to me the sins I refuse to die to every day that keep me from living the life You created me for. Help me let go of any conditions I have set on how I am willing to submit my life to Christ. I don’t want to hide out in my comfort zone anymore! I want to step out in obedience like Jesus did as He began His journey to the cross. I lay my sins at Your feet, Father, and I choose a new path today; a path free from the bondage of sin. Thank You for sending Your Son to die for me. I am not worthy, but I gladly claim Jesus’ gift of salvation. Use this Holy Week grow in me a Jesus heart that only wants to walk in Your will. Show me each next step, for I trust Your will. May Your will be done. In Jesus’ Name…..amen.
* There is some difference of opinion as to the exact order of events, but based on the teachings I’ve heard, and personal research, I will be referencing the following timeline as we review the last week of Jesus’ life on Earth, and meditate on theses events’ impact on our lives:
- Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem
- Jesus cleanses the Temple
- The widow’s mite
- Jesus predicts the end of the age
- Woman annoints Jesus
- Judas agrees to betray Jesus
- Jesus washes His disciples’ feet
- The Last Supper (Passover dinner)
- Jesus prays at Gethsemane
- Judas betrays Jesus. Jesus arrested
- The disciples flea
- Jesus’ trials
- Peter’s denial
- Jesus’ crucifixion, death, burial
- Jesus laid in tomb
- Jesus’ resurrection
- Jesus appears to over 500