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Holy Week 2016

Written on March 21st, 2016

nail and crown

The Death of Jesus—-from Matthew 27

“From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”) When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.” Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink.  The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.” And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.

At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people. When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”

 

Returning from our March break hiatus, our attention turns to things of the upcoming week. School begins yet again with a flurry of the opening days activities, stories of the travels over March Break and a certain degree of nervous energy that accompanies the start of school after any sort of school vacation.

In the midst of this comes the reminder that this is the beginning of what is known as Holy Week. In memory of the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, our churches celebrated the start to Holy Week with joyous songs as children (and adults) waved palm branches—a great start to a week which remembers the death and resurrection of our Lord and Saviour.

The story is always emotionally stirring. Each day in Holy Week brings us something new, something memorable to focus on in the journey to the cross:

…our Saviour’s final supper with his disciples
…the rejection he felt by his closest followers
…being betrayed by the religious leaders and crowds.
…experiencing torture and crucifixion at the hands of the Roman soldiers
…suffering a horrible death on the cross,
…silently bearing the unrelenting mocking of the onlookers

Our Lord suffered terribly in those last few hours. And then, added to the physical pain of this event, our Lord takes on the sins of the world. The world, for three hours on that Friday, becomes a dark and bitter place. In agony, Jesus cries out and then dies, carrying the sins of the world to the grave with him.

But you know the rest of the story… He rises from the grave. His is the victory over death and Satan and hell. He paid the ransom for our sin and now he lives once again as our Savior.

Remember his suffering and death, and celebrate his victory this week. Join with all of Christendom as we acknowledge his sacrifice, and praise him for the salvation we find in him.