Sunday, April 17, 2011

Walking with Jesus through Holy Week

Story carries with it an innate ability to impact us as human beings, especially when we tap into the potential of our imagination. I am coming to have an increased appreciation for the place of imagination in our spirituality as part of the means by which we connect with God. The gospels are essentially story-telling (with a purpose) and they each devote the largest share to telling the story of Holy Week, the last week plus one day of Jesus' life.

Today we begin that week with the events of Palm Sunday, most notably Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem riding on a colt. It is a powerful image that certainly feeds the imagination, especially so with young children, maybe even the 'child' within each of us. But I want to encourage you to use the whole of this week as a way of reconnecting with Jesus and hopefully coming to a profound appreciation for what he accomplished for us. I've laid out the events of the week day by day to help in this process (thanks to Michael Wilkins for this). I would invite you to use this template to re-tell and reconnect with the story in your families and friendships each day. Us your own words or the words of Scripture provided. Let it lead to contemplation, commiseration and celebration at different times.

Events of Holy Week

Arrival in Bethany (John 12:1)

  • Evening celebration, Mary anoints Jesus (John 12:2-8; cf. Matt 26:6-13)
  • 'Silent Wednesday' - Jesus and disciples remain in Bethany for last time of fellowship
  • Judas returns alone to Jerusalem to make arrangements for the betrayal (Matt 26:14-16; Mark 14:10-11)
After sundown:
Sometime perhaps after midnight:
  1. Annas (John 18:13-24)
  2. Caiaphas and partial Sanhedrin (Matt 26:57-75;Mark 14:53-65)
  3. Sanhedrin fully assembled (perhaps after sunrise) (Matt 27:1-2; Mark 15:1)
  • Roman trial-Jesus appears in three phases before:
  1. Pilate (Matt 27:2-14; Mark 15:2-5)
  2. Herod Antipas (Luke 23:6-12)
  3. Pilate (Matt 27:15-26; Mark 15:6-15)
Wilkins talks about how the practice of walking with Jesus through Holy Week serves five important functions in his life:
  1. It solidifies the historical foundation of our Christian worldview
  2. We understand the disciples more clearly
  3. We are held under conviction of our responsibilities as Jesus' disciples
  4. The experience of these events impels us to more sincere worship
  5. We are drawn into a more intimate relationship with Jesus
I hope you can join me on the 'walk' this week . . .

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