The Upper Room Part 2: The Promise of Forgiveness (Christ Cathedral; Kampala, Uganda)
Contemplating the Mighty Acts – Palm Sunday and Holy Week (Holy Cross Anglican Cathedral; Loganville, GA)
To understand Holy Week and Palm Sunday, we look to the beginnings of Passover and how it had evolved until Jesus’ time.
While we were still sinners, Jesus died for us. It is through Jesus’ death and Resurrection that we are able realize God’s Grace of Salvation from our sins and to gain our Eternal Life. Holy Week is all about God’s Grace; Jesus’ death on the cross; Jesus Resurrection; and our Salvation. All sinners need what Jesus did on the cross for us.
The message of Palm Sunday, of Holy Week, is that the Passover Lamb, Jesus, has entered the city of Jerusalem, just as prophesied in Zachariah 9:9 more than five hundred years before Jesus’ birth: “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.". The lambs brought into the city for Passover would be inspected, for any blemishes, by the Levites so that the perfect lambs for the celebration of Passover could be selected. At the same time, Jesus was being “inspected” by the various Jewish and Roman “inspectors”, including the Levites and Pharisees, during the week leading up to the Jewish Passover celebration. As prophesied, Jesus was the perfect Passover Lamb, the Lamb of God, to be sacrificed for the sins of the world for all time.
On the Monday of Holy Week, Jesus reentered Jerusalem and cleansed the Temple. As told in Mark 11:17, Jesus drove from the Temple the sacrificial animal vendors who had booths in Temple’s Courtyard. This Courtyard was set aside, when God had established the Temple, for the Gentiles to pray so that the Temple was the place for all to worship: “And he was teaching them and saying to them, ‘Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.’”.
Tuesday and Wednesday, of Holy Week, were days of both doctrinal challenges and teaching for Jesus – further “inspections” for the perfect Passover Lamb, Jesus.
Thursday, of Holy Week, is the day which Jesus washes the Apostles’ feet and eats the Passover meal, which is when Jesus institutes our Sacrament of the Communion. Also, this is the day that Jesus gives the new commandment of “Love one another”. The Apostle John expresses Jesus’ love and His role on our behalf in John 15:12-14: “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you.".
Also on Thursday, Jesus has His agony in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus prayed, in the Garden to God, to have the responsibility of His Crucifixion, death, and His separation from God, as Jesus took on the sins of the world, be taken from Him. However, Jesus prayed to God (Matthew 26:39): “And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, ‘My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.’”. Additionally, Judas betrays Jesus; and Jesus is arrested – we refer to this Thursday, of Holy Week, as Mundey Thursday. On Mundey Thursday, we begin a period of prayer and mourning.
On the Friday of Holy Week, we come to Jesus’ Crucifixion and death on the cross. On Friday, the Apostle Peter denies Jesus three times; and Jesus has three trials. After His death, Jesus was buried; and His tomb was sealed and guarded by the Roman soldiers.
On the Saturday of Holy Week – the day of rest, the Jewish Sabbath – Jesus is bound by death and in the grave – Jesus is dead.
On the Sunday of Holy Week – the day of Jesus’ Resurrection, Jesus arises from death as the Passover Lamb, “the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world!”.
TODAY’S AFFIRMATION: I affirm that because of what God has done for me in His Son, Jesus, I AM FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT. If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him! (Luke 11:13).
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SCRIPTURE REFERENCE (ESV): Exodus 12:1-25; Zechariah 9:9; Luke 19:30; Matthew 24:1-2; Luke 19:41-44; Mark 11:20-25; Matthew 21:33-46; John 15:12-17.