My absolute favorite week of the whole year is HERE!!!! I love everything about it. I love Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, riding on a colt, the foal of a donkey. I love the image of the people lying down their cloaks and palm branches to carpet his path, of them proclaiming "Hosannah!" to the king that they didn't really understand. I love that Jesus spent the week teaching in parables in the temple, that he cleared the temple of the crooked moneychangers and merchants, that the woman anointed him in Bethany.
How beautiful that Jesus celebrated the Passover seder with His disciples on the night before He was betrayed by Judas. He showed His disciples the full extent of His love by washing their feet, He instituted His last will and testament, which we believers still receive, receiving not only the bread and wine, but the body and blood of our Lord as He promised we would, whenever we eat it.
Jesus prayed that night for His disciples, for those who would believe in Him in coming generations, and for Himself, that if it would be possible for the cup He was about to drink (of death) to pass from Him. It wasn't possible. In spite of His intense duress, He was still full of grace when His captors came to arrest Him in the middle of the night, full of love for those who mistreated Him, which He showed when He restored the ear to the high priest's servant after brash Peter sliced it off with his sword.
Like a sheep before His shearers, He was silent when He was subjected to His unjust trials, blindfolded and abused, mocked by the guards. The people demanded His blood, crying to Pilate "Crucify him!" and He underwent flogging, being crowned with thorns, and carrying His cross up the hill to Golgotha. By that time, exhausted and nearly physically destroyed, He couldn't muster the strength to continue carrying the cross Himself, and so Simon of Cyrene was forced to carry the cross for Him.
Once on the top of the hill, His hands and feet were pierced, nailed into the cross, and His body was lifted up and He hung there for three hours, enduring the concentrated, entire wrath of God the Father, and completing the payment for the whole of human sin throughout all of time, past, present and future. And after suffering on the cross for three hours, He breathed His last and gave up His spirit, having put an end to the necessity for sons and daughters of Adam to try to make restitution of their own sin.
On the third day, He rose again from the dead, conquering the grave once and for all.
Because of Jesus' perfect life, death and resurrection, we no longer have to fear sin, death, and the devil. Because of Jesus' life, death and resurrection, we are no longer in slave to our sin, no longer objects of God's wrath. We have been reconciled to Him and we have the promise of our own resurrection to eternal life with our God in the new heavens and earth.
As a Christian, how could I not be so excited about this week?
"But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus." Romans 3:21-26
image: "The Crucifixion" by Gustave Doré