The word sacred has lost its meaning in our world today. Human lives aren’t held sacred as we defile life by dehumanizing it. Homes aren’t deemed sacred as families are splitting exponentially. God certainly isn’t considered sacred as our choices reflect a lack of respect and fear.
This week leading up to Easter or Resurrection Sunday, has become the least sacred of all. Holy Week should be the most sacred week of the year in the Christian faith, yet seems to annually lose its meaning as we spend our money on chocolates and toys to fill Easter baskets and get dressed in our fanciest new clothes. We have forgotten the holiness of the week that is the foundation of the Christian faith.
So what makes Holy Week so Holy? Doesn’t this week lead to the death of Jesus? What could be Holy about that? If Holiness is something deemed sacred, dedicated to God, what is holy about the torture and death of an innocent man?
If you head back to the Old Testament, when the Israelites were settling into the wilderness. God gave Moses specific directions on creating a tabernacle, so that his Holy Presence could reside among His people. The Israelites would bring sin offerings to the tabernacle for the priests to allow for their sins to be forgiven. In the back of the tabernacle was the one area where the high priest was allowed. The “Holy of Holies” was a room where the high priest would only enter once a year to atone for his sins and the sins of the people. Atone means to reconcile, to make the relationship between man and God “right” again.
This week in the Christian faith is the “Holy of Holies” of our year. This week our high priest, Jesus, enters Jerusalem to become the ultimate sacrifice making our relationship with God, right again. No longer do we have to rely on anyone else to atone our sins for us. Jesus took care of that by allowing himself to be arrested, ridiculed, beaten beyond recognition, and dying a criminal’s death on a cross.
While that act alone is sacred for us to remember each year, God in His kindness and Holiness, didn’t end the story with a burial of His Son. Death did not hold him as a prisoner and He came back to life on Resurrection Sunday. Each person Jesus encounters after He is risen, He resurrects their hope. On Friday, their hope is buried in the tomb of their Master. On Sunday hope is resurrected with the risen Lord.
Just as God takes our sins, as we confess them, and buries them, He doesn’t leave us buried with our sin. We too can live a resurrected life without our sins to hold us down in the grave. No longer do we need to be hopeless and buried with our fears, our worries, our gossip, and our disobedience. No longer does a failed marriage, disobedient past, or muddled life have to keep us bound without hope. Jesus’ resurrection can bring each of us back to life too.
Don’t let this week pass by not observing the Holiness of Holy week, our Holy of Holies of the year. We can not allow something so sacred to go unobserved as if it is unholy. Take time to read through scripture, placing yourself in Jerusalem almost 2000 years ago. Below is a guide to read through passages to help you follow and reflect on the events of Holy Week.
Palm Sunday, April 14: Matthew 21:1-11 How often do you welcome the presence of God into your life? Ask Him to come into your life today and show Himself to you.
Monday, April 15: Matthew 26:1-16 Do you sacrifice your time and energy on spending time with God? Find time today to get quiet with God.
Tuesday, April 16: John 12:36-50 Do you see with your eyes and perceive with your heart who God is? Ask God to open your eyes to His work in your life.
Wednesday, April 17: How often do you serve as Jesus modeled servant-hood for us? Serve someone today, even if it is difficult.John 13:1-17
Sabbath Saturday, April 20: Psalm 31:1-5 Make these yummy Resurrection Rolls with your kids!
Resurrection Sunday, April 21: John 20:1-18 What hope has been resurrected in you today?
I pray as you focus on the Holiness of this week, you see and feel God like you never have before!