As some of you may be aware Sunday has two names on the church calendar. Most know it by its more common name, Palm Sunday. It’s a day were it not for the Corona Virus, we would process into the church, waving palm branches and we as a congregation, singing “Hosanna,” remembering the cries of that first Palm Sunday crowd. The cry “Hosanna,” meaning, “Save us now!” It’s a picture of victory, of Joy! A procession fit for a king!
Yet Sunday is also called Passion Sunday. Quite a change from the Palm Sunday parade. As you will notice in our readings for Sunday, the events of that weak in Jerusalem take a strange, unexpected turn. Who in that crowd on that first Palm Sunday would imagine that just 5 days later, the crowds that were crying out “Hosanna, blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” who welcomed Jesus into their city with palm branches and laid their coats on the road, would turn into a vicious, bloodthirsty mob. The shouts by Friday would turn to “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” As far as the claims of him being a king, they claim, “We have no king but Caesar!” Indeed, quite a change from the beginning of the week.
In addition to Sunday being Palm/Passion Sunday, it also marks the beginning of Holy Week. The week of the church year where we focus on Jesus’ last week in Jerusalem. Through the scripture readings next week, which I encourage all to read, you’ll be transported back to Jerusalem, 2000 years ago, and you’ll be going various places.
As the week progresses, you will go with Jesus to the upper room, see Him institute the sacrament of Holy Communion, pray in the Garden, be betrayed by one of his disciples, arrested, tried, beaten and crucified. We’ll see a Lot of evil go on in these events. People at their worst moments.
As you go through Holy week this year, I’m going to encourage you to see yourself in each of the places you will visit. As you do you’ll realize that at times, we’re all a part of that fickle crowd in Jerusalem. We’ll also find that because of our sin, we also abandon Jesus. We don’t always speak up for our faith when we should. We don’t always acknowledge that we’re children of God by the things we say, do, or think.
As we read and picture in our minds the events of the week, we know that the ugly sights, horrific sounds, the undeniable pain that our Savior suffers, is not for himself, but it’s for us and for our sins. Let us remember the cross on Good Friday, and the road that leads us there, we’ll see that Jesus walked that road for you and for me. He did it so that we can be sinless, spotless before our God.
While we will not be together in church as a family this year during Holy Week, I encourage you to walk the road to the cross with Jesus. Ponder what He has done for you.
May this Holy Week be more than just another week for you, may it be a week where you journey with our Savior and understand that all He experienced during that week was done for you and me.