It seems that most people today are not interested in the significance of time. Special days and weeks are more about having fun and spending money. For followers of Jesus this is not true, especially as we get ready for the beginning of Holy Week this coming Sunday, March 29, 2015. Why is Holy Week an important time of remembrance for Christians?
Holy Week is the week between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday. For the year 2015 the dates are: Palm Sunday – March 29 and Easter Sunday – April 5. Since at least the fourth century Christians have set aside this week to remember the events of Jesus as he walked to the cross and arose from the dead. It is the most important and holiest of weeks for our Christ centered beliefs and faith. The following days of Holy Week are still celebrated by Christians around the world.
Palm Sunday: On this day we remember Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a young donkey. As Jesus entered the city the people waved palm branches and shouted:
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
Blessed is the King of Israel!
The word hosanna, now considered a word of praise, is a Hebrew expression meaning “save.” But very quickly these shouts of “Hosanna” turned to shouts of “crucify Him.” Jesus death on the cross was coming very soon.
Maundy Thursday: On this day Jesus gathered in the upper room to celebrate the Passover Meal with his disciples. During this meal Jesus took bread and wine and asked his disciples to eat and drink in remembrance of Him. These acts of remembering around a table would become our Lord’s Supper. According to Robert Webber Maundy Thursday “gets its name from the Latin mandatum novum (a new commandment, John 13:34), which became the French mande and the English maunde.” Robert E. Webber, Rediscovering the Christian Feasts: A Study in the Services of the Christian Year (Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, 1998), 66. Maundy Thursday worship remembers the events recorded in John chapter 13, particularly Jesus giving the new commandment “to love one another, as I have loved you.”
Good Friday: What is good about Good Friday? Jesus’ death on the cross is full of evil, torture, and blood. How can this be good? It is best to remember that this is God’s Friday. God was in control. This was God’s plan. Human beings had and continue to have a sin problem. Some One had to pay the penalty for our sin. God choose His Son Jesus to be that sacrifice. Hallelujah for the cross! Our sins are forgiven. Shout it once again: Hallelujah for the cross! But guess what? We know how the story ends. Sunday is coming.
Holy Week ends on the Saturday before Resurrection Sunday. In the ancient church Saturday was a day of preparation for the new Christians that would be baptized on Easter Sunday. Hallelujah! Jesus is alive.
For followers of Jesus time is important. During Holy Week we remember and walk with Jesus to the cross and prepare for the celebration on Resurrection Sunday.