What we Christians today call “holy week” was for Jesus and his disciples a roller coaster. Days full of wild “ups” and difficult, sobering “downs.”
Day 1 (Sunday) — TRIUMPH! ↑ Jesus rides into Jerusalem midst singing, shouting throngs of people
Day 2 (Monday) — HOUSE CLEANING! ↓ Jesus angrily clears the temple of gouging vendors
Day 3 (Tuesday) — REBUKES! ↓ Jesus’ pointed teaching exposes temple leaders’ hypocrisy
Day 4 (Wednesday) — CALM ←→ A day of quiet rest, preparing for Passover
Day 5 (Thursday) — SUPPER↑ the ARREST↓ — Eating with His disciples, praying, betrayed, arrested late at night
Day 6 (Friday) — TRIAL↓ & EXECUTION↓ & BURIAL — a difficult, dark day of death
Day 7 (Saturday) — CONFUSION←→ — disciples, in hiding, sorting out the agonizing loss
Day 8 (Sunday) — SURPRISING HOPE ↑ — an empty tomb, a series of appearances…HOPE!
Just yesterday morning, I set two newspapers side-by-side on a flat surface in our kitchen. One dated February 20, trumpeting the roaring economy with just a side piece on the coronavirus. The other dated April 9, saturated with news of death statistics and shut down businesses.
What a roller coaster! Who in these days hasn’t been sobered by developments that feel out of control?
GOD’S PLAN OF HOPE
2000 years removed from the original Holy Week, we know the real story. All of the events – every one of them -- were being shepherded by God the Father’s purposeful hand. Peter would tell an astonished Jerusalem, “this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified by the hands of lawless men. God (however) raised Him up, loosing the pangs of death” (Acts 2:23-24, ESV).
What had looked and felt like a miserable, tragic event was incredibly the prelude to a stunning, pre-planned, overcoming victory. Jesus’ awful death was God’s plan – He finished the payment by His blood for all our sins. But Jesus’ surprising resurrection was also God’s plan – He disarmed Satan by conquering death through his resurrection.
Jesus’ disciples would later say that their Passover weekend was the worst…and it was the best. God gave a true, lasting hope that nothing on this earth can rob or diminish.
1 Peter 1:3 According to his great mercy, God the Father has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
In God’s surprising plan, Jesus awful death finished the full payment for my sin. His surprising resurrection disarmed Satan by conquering death with life. A true hope is ours that nothing can diminish.
EMBRACE THIS WEEKEND OF HOPE
I was reminded this week that in roller coaster times, the Spirit of God would have us stay calm, look up to the God who has redeemed us through His Son, and offer hope to one another. As a Jesus’ body here in central Iowa, let’s take advantage of:
- worshipping together (online) this evening at our 7:00 PM Good Friday service (have your communion elements ready!)
- worshipping together (online) on Resurrection Sunday morning (9:00 and 10:45 AM)
- participating in our CCC Easter Sunday “Drive Thru” (11:00-11:30 AM) at our Carver Avenue campus—and get a packet of fun material for your family. Pack the truck or car…and come!