It is the week right before we celebrate Easter or Resurrection Sunday. During this time many churches pause to remember the suffering and death of Jesus through various traditions and worship services.
The reason I chose to write this blog, is that it is easy to be so focused on the celebrations, the pageants and musicals etc. about the long awaited King on Palm Sunday and the resurrection of Jesus on Easter, that we totally miss the suffering, humiliation and death that are all part of Holy Week.
In fact, when was the last time you spent the week reading about the events that took place prior to Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection?
It is important that we place the hope of the Resurrection and the promise of new life, against the background of death. As you walk through the shadows and darkness of Holy Week and Good Friday, only then do you really grasp the horror and magnitude of sin and its consequences. Only then can you fully understand the light and hope of Sunday morning!
Riding a donkey Jesus began His journey to Jerusalem. Even in the midst of the praises of the crowds, He had His eye on the cross on which He would be crucified at the end of the week.
In the hope of fully grasping Jesus’ sacrifice at Calvary and to embrace the hope that belongs to all believers as a result, each day we will look at the events which led up to the His death.
To make it easier to find each blog, I have added links below for each day of Holy Week.
Daily blog readings
Sunday – The Journey Begins
Monday – Jesus Destroys the Robbers Den
Tuesday – Looking for the Safe Answer
Wednesday – Extravagant Love
Thursday – The Third Cup, Redemption
Friday – The Darkest Dark
Sunday – He is Risen!
He is risen! He is risen indeed!
As a young believer in a small “country church”, I was puzzled by the way the people greeted each other my first Easter as a Christian.
The atmosphere was pregnant with a sense of excitement that went beyond the sugar high of children who had spent the morning feasting on chocolate, jelly beans and marshmallow peeps.
Families began to gather in their Easter finery. Ladies wrapped in bright colors wearing millinery that rivaled the splendor of spring flowers dressed by their Maker. Gentlemen in freshly pressed shirts adorned with new ties. Children wearing their new Easter outfits accessorized with chocolate mustaches.
Suddenly the air gave birth to shouts of “He is risen!” and the reply shot back “He is risen indeed!”
What was this strange ritual that was taking place before my newborn eyes?
For as long as anyone knows, perhaps as long as we have celebrated the resurrection, the Paschal or Easter greeting has been “Christ is risen!” And the reply that follows is “He is risen indeed!” This greeting, in a very simple way sums up the core of Christianity.
We quickly adopted the tradition and taught it to our children. It warms my heart to hear, my now adult children, greeting others in the same manner. But as I heard one of my teenage grandsons respond “He is risen indeed”, my heart was full.
I have to admit though, it seems like the greeting is on the decline. As we greeted others in recent years, some looked quizzically as if to say “What did she say?” Others said, “Yeah isn’t that cool?” But there were still a remnant who responded with excitement, almost a shout “He is risen indeed!”
Crucifixion and Resurrection
On Good Friday we remembered the crucifixion of Christ, and we all know the crucifixion is vital to our salvation. But, on Easter we celebrate His resurrection. In fact many call this day Resurrection Sunday.
Yes, when we say resurrection we really mean that Jesus was actually physically dead. He was in the grave Friday evening, all day Saturday, and even part of Sunday. He was actually physically raised from the dead – His body became alive again!
But, why is that so important that it becomes the focus of the holiest day of the church calendar?
Even though leaders of other religions have died none can boast that they had been raised from the dead! That is what makes Christianity distinctly different from any other religion.
Why is the Resurrection such a big deal?
- The resurrection is the proof that Christ’s sacrifice was enough.
- It provides the power for us to live a life of surrender
- It give assurance that we have access to the throne room of heaven.
The Resurrection means that we will also be raised from the dead.
But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. – 1 Corinthians 15:20-22
Now the phrase “first fruits” means there will be second fruits. Jesus was first, but in Him we will all also be made alive. Jesus conquered sin, death, and the grave! We have nothing to fear! Death, the last great enemy is defeated.
“O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:55-57
Since Christ was raised from the dead we know that
- He was sinless.
- His sacrifice was accepted.
- our sins are forgiven.
- there is no reason to fear death, we will be resurrected just as Christ was resurrected.
Some things to think about
This may sound like a change of subject, but stay with me. What is it that you are afraid of? What is it that worries you and keeps you awake at night?
If Jesus has given us victory over death, isn’t everything else we worry and fret over much less of a big deal?
On Resurrection Sunday worship and celebrate the risen Lord! Each day rest in the fact that even death is conquered, so everything else is going to be ok. Because He lives, we can face tomorrow!
The Light of the world overcame even the darkest dark of Good Friday – giving us Hope for whatever today and every day holds!
Next year when you are greeted with “He is risen” shout out loud and proud “He is risen indeed!”
Hallelujah! What a Savior!
- Matthew 28
- Mark 16
- Luke 24
- John 20, 21
- 1 Corinthians 15
- Romans 6