Holy Week

March 29, 2010 at 4:45 am Leave a comment


The ABC network is currently airing a series called “Flash Forward.” The series kicks off portraying a global phenomenon that causes people to lose consciousness for 137 seconds, during which they see visions of what will take place six months into their futures.  Some people see visions of better lives while others see visions of tragedies, heartaches, and betrayals.  There are some who see nothing at all – and they fear that this means that they will die within six months.

Though it wasn’t a flash forward full of the kind of science fiction intrigue that marks the ABC series, Jesus has a “flash forward” of his own, rooted in his omniscience as the Son of God.  Over the course of his ministry, Jesus is fully aware that he has come to die.  Consider Jesus’ words to his disciples:  “We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled.  He will be handed over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him, spit on him, flog him and kill him.  On the third day he will rise again” (Luke 18:31-33).  Jesus knows precisely what will happen to him.  He even knows precisely where it will happen to him – at Jerusalem.

You can imagine how Jesus must have felt, then, at the beginning of this week – a week that the Church has traditionally called Holy Week.  Yesterday was Palm Sunday, they day on which Jesus is hailed as a king by an adoring throng.  But notice how the story of Palm Sunday begins: “Jesus went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem” (Luke 19:28).  Jesus is arriving at the city where he will soon be condemned to die.  And he knows it!  Yet, he rides into Jerusalem anyway.  Indeed, Jesus is determined to make it to Jerusalem in spite of his impending doom.  As Luke says: “When the days drew near for Jesus to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem” (Luke 9:51).  This phrase “set his face” is idiomatic, describing strong willed determination, and echoes an Isaianic prophecy where God’s Messiah says, “I have set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame” (Isaiah 50:7).

Why would Jesus be so willing and even determined to go to the place of his death?  According to his own admission, it is so that “everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled” (Luke 18:31).  In other words, Jesus is determined to orient his life around the Scriptures even when orienting his life around the Scriptures is difficult and even if it finally leads to his death.  Jesus will follow what the Scriptures say to and about him so that he can fulfill what the Scriptures have for him.

In what ways do you orient your life around the Scriptures, even when doing so is hard?  In what ways do you fall short?  As we begin Holy Week, it is important to orient our hearts, souls, and lives around God’s Word not simply so that we can obey what God’s Word instructs, but so that we can believe what God’s Word promises – that God has sent his Son to forgive our sins.  To that end, I would invite you this Holy Week to worship our Lord and to remember what he has done for you.  You can do so by joining us in any one of our Holy Week services at Concordia:

  • Maundy Thursday commemorates the institution of the Lord’s Supper.  Services are at noon and 7 pm.
  • Good Friday reflects on the price Jesus paid for the forgiveness of our sins.  Services are at noon and 7 pm.
  • Easter celebrates Jesus’ joyful resurrection from the dead and anticipates that we too will rise from death on the Last Day.  Services are Saturday at 6 pm and Sunday at 6:30, 8, 9:30, and 11 am.

If you can’t make it to our services in person, you can also stream them live at www.ConcordiaLutheranChurch.com.

I would also encourage you, over the course of this week, to read the gospel accounts of Jesus’ death and resurrection.  This will help you focus on God’s work of salvation in Christ.  The accounts are found in Matthew 26:1-28:10, Mark 14:1-16:8, Luke 22:1-24:12, and John 18:1-20:18.  You can also learn more about the history and theology of this week by downloading a free booklet on Holy Week, available here.

May Holy Week be a time of blessing for you as you fix your eyes on Christ and ponder again the wonder of how his death means your salvation!

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Entry filed under: Devotional Thoughts.

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