Holy week is one of the most important weeks in the church. It marks the passion of Jesus Christ and his last days on earth. Holy week begins on Palm Sunday and concludes on Easter. The events that transpired in between still resonate today.
As we go through a brief Holy Week timeline, take time for your own reflection about Holy Week. How did Christ’s actions change the course of human history and what do they mean to you personally? This is also an important time for our fourth graders who will experience their first communion.
Palm Sunday is the day Jesus’ triumphantly entered into Jerusalem. As Jesus rode into the city on a donkey – a symbol of humility – his followers waved palm branches and laid them across the road in front of him as a sign of respect honor and victory.
Today, we wave palm branches and display them in our homes to remember this celebratory time when Jesus was so lovingly embraced.
Several Key Events
While in Jerusalem, Jesus took a series of actions that cause us to pause and to reflect. The first were the cursing of the fig tree and the cleansing of the temple.
Hungry from his travels, Jesus sought a fig tree for nourishment but found all its fruit had been taken. In frustration, Jesus cursed the tree. Why did Jesus curse the tree? The absent fruit is a metaphor for the spiritual withering he sensed in Israel.
Jesus then went to the Temple where he found merchants selling their wares within. He became very upset and expelled them with the famous words ““It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers.” He restores the Temple to its true purpose and reminds his followers of the power of prayer.
During this week, Jesus avoided a series of “traps” that the religious leaders had set to implicate him as a false teacher/prophet. These leaders had already condemned Jesus to death, now they sought justification. However, Jesus deftly outsmarted each of their questions and concluded the trial with a universal message to love God and love others.
It was also during Holy Week that Judas decided he would betray Jesus.
Maundy means command and it’s here that Jesus washes the disciple’s feet as a gesture of humility and giving them an example of service. It is during this time that Jesus would also celebrate his final meal with his disciples before he was arrested and executed.
Jesus announced that one of them would betray him and then blessed the bread and wine. He said that the bread represented his body and that the wine represented his blood which he would sacrifice for sins. He requested that his disciples would continue to celebrate this meal in remembrance of him.
Today we take communion to remind us of Jesus’ sacrifice for our sin. It is also an exciting tradition at King of Kings to welcome our 4th grade students who will be celebrating their first communion.
Friday is the day Jesus was arrested, stripped and forced to carry the cross he would be crucified on. It is said that after Jesus died, the earth went dark for several hours.
If these terrible things happened on Friday, why do we call it “Good?” There are many theories on where “good” came from but the most widely accepted is that it is a synonym for “holy”.
There is irony and comfort to be found in the name but think of how significantly the world changed on the original Good Friday. Christ died for our sins and through his death we have received new life. Take time for your own, personal Holy Week reflections on this day and what Jesus’ actions mean to you.
Jesus was buried on Saturday and after three days was resurrected.
Jesus’ resurrection represents the promise of eternal life for all who follow him. It proves that he was more than just teacher or controversial figure, he was indeed the son of God. As St. Paul says in Corinthians 15:14:
“And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.”
Celebrate Holy Week at King of Kings
Holy week is filled with important events that forever shaped the course of humanity. There is terrible darkness and brilliant light. Join us to reflect upon the significance of this and discover once again, the significance of Holy Week.