W.I.S.H. – Weekly Insights for Spiritual Health
Read: John 20:30-31
“30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. 31 But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.”
It’s Holy Week and I’m pausing our Old Testament study of Moses and the Exodus from Egypt to acknowledge the most important event in the Bible, and the most important week in all of history. It’s to remember the events of Holy Week because they are inextricably linked, and flow with purpose. It culminates with the resurrection is the point; it brings into focus how it all matters and makes sense.
On some level Christ’s whole life is seamless and connected. There is an ancient tradition that the date of Mary conceiving Jesus in the womb is the same date that He would die on the cross. (Side note: we know Jesus was crucified in the spring during the Passover festival, so if that was the time of His conception it would mean that Jesus was born 9 months later in late December). The idea is that God’s decision to send Christ, the miracle of the incarnation, was itself a sacrificial act on God’s part, 33 years before the cross on Calvary.
There are two traditional ways of observing the Sunday before Easter. A Palm Sunday observance is historically accurate and remembers Jesus triumphant arrival to Jerusalem. Then there’s “Passion Sunday” and the focus is on Jesus crucifixion, several days early. Since Jesus was crucified on Friday, if we follow the historical events we could worship the triumphant Jesus on Palm Sunday and come back a week later to celebrate the risen Christ, victorious on Easter Sunday; if we did that we would overlook the profound events of Holy Week: Jesus’ prayers, His giving of Holy Communion, His arrest, trial, and crucifixion. This year we will hold special services during Holy Week to remember the passion week of our Lord. Those services will be “in-person” and broadcast online and radio. Let’s “walk with Jesus” through these powerful events – so that the bright glory of the resurrection will be experienced in contrast to the dark, agonizing passion of the cross.
Pastor Rob Nystrom