Sunday March 28 marked the beginning of Holy Week. The holiest of all weeks in the Christian faith.
It is tradition on Easter Sunday for Christians to greet each other with the words; “He is risen!” The appropriate response is; “He is risen indeed!” Which comes from Luke 24:34; “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!”
However, this week was much more than Palm Sunday, The Last Supper, Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Here is a review of Jesus’ last 8 days from different biblical sources.
Palm Sunday was the day that many in Jerusalem rejoiced Christ’s entry into town for the Passover celebration as their savior over Roman occupation.
The citizens of Jerusalem laid down their coats and palm tree fronds across the path in front of Christ while shouting hosanna. The word hosanna means ‘save now,’ proclaiming him as the savior.
Most know that the local Jewish citizens will turn on Jesus as the week wears on. Why? They were looking for a political or military leader to save them from the Romans. Jesus’ intention to be a spiritual savior was not accepted well by the rank and file and more importantly not by Judas Iscariot who was furious with Jesus for not taking to arms in leading the people of Israel into freedom.
In his rage and disappointment Judas offered to give Jesus up to the chief priests for 30 silver pieces who would then turn Jesus over to the mob and Roman governor of Judea, Pontius Pilot. As the story goes, Jesus would be identified by the kiss of Judas. Thus the saying; “Betrayed by a kiss.”
The Monday after Palm Sunday is the day that Jesus angrily entered the temple knocking over tables where people were buying and selling goods. He proclaimed; “My house will be called a house of prayer, not a den of robbers!”
The Tuesday before Easter was the day that the disciples tested his authority by setting four hypothetical traps for him. This day brought us three parables: The Parable of the Two Sons, The Parable of the Tenants, and The Parable of the Wedding Banquet.
Wednesday prior to Easter is the day the Judas scolded Jesus for allowing a woman to anoint his feet with perfume. Judas argued that proceeds from the perfume could’ve fed many poor people. Judas handled money for Jesus and the disciples. It is believed that his motivation was pure greed, he had the reputation of frequently stealing from the group’s money bag which he carried.
Maundy Thursday, April 1st is the day that is more widely known as The Last Supper. In that famous upper room, Jesus assembles his disciples to, among other things, observe the Passover feast, announce his knowledge that one of the disciples will betray him, and conduct the first communion feast of the Christian era.
The word maundy means to command. In John 13:34 Jesus said; “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another” Jesus proved his love to them by washing each of their feet in an act of humility. He also commanded them to wash each others feet as an act of love.
In John 13:22 Jesus is quoted saying; “Truly, truly, I say to you,one of you will betray me.” Upon saying this all disciples ask; “Is it me Lord? Surly it is not me.” In some retelling of the story, Christ points out Judas as the betrayer.
On Good Friday, while in the garden of Gethsemane Judas will betray Jesus who is praying to God to be spared from his eventual torture and death at the hands of the Romans. It is in the Garden that the infamous kiss occurs.
From there the Passion of Christ begins with Jesus being drug through the streets after a Kangaroo Court, was forced to carry his own cross to the hill where he will eventually be crucified. (Where another saying “Carrying your own cross” is born.)
While the term Good Friday seems like a misnomer, the day is important and ‘good’ because this is the day that Jesus died for the sins of man.
Saturday between Good Friday and Easter Sunday is the day that Jesus’ body was placed in the tomb. Joseph wrapped Jesus’ body in linen then rolled a rock against the tomb to keep robbers out. Mary Magdalene and the mother Mary were witness to this event.
Easter Sunday is the day that Mary Magdalene and other women went to the tomb early, before sun rise, to find that the stone had been rolled away from the tomb. They were greeted by angels who told them that Jesus had risen from the grave just as he foretold.
Mary ran from the tomb to tell Peter and John the news. At this time, Jesus appeared before the women who were trailing Mary. Eventually, Jesus will appear to all of the disciples except Judas who so guilt ridden that he took his own life.
This was Jesus way of proving to his disciples that he had risen, he had risen indeed!