A pandemic is the perfect backdrop for Holy Week. The first Holy Week followed a series of horrific plagues and began with God’s people fleeing in haste. On this Holy Week of 2020, let’s join Jesus at some of the pivotal moments of His week. Often in those passages, we see the burden on Jesus’ heart: He was troubled, anxious in heart. Emotions are part of the human experience. So, as we enter into this holy time with hearts made vulnerable by COVID-19, let us share in the ‘sufferings of Christ’ and yet rejoice knowing our passage to the Promised Land is paid!
Jesus’ friends at Bethany were an integral part of His Holy Week. There, he spent time with those who knew Him best: His disciples and Martha, Mary and Lazarus. In an act of love and deep understanding of Jesus’ assignment, Mary ‘prepared His body for burial.’ Her anointing of Jesus revealed a depth of understanding most missed. The miracle resurrection of her brother led Mary to a deep awareness of Jesus as the resurrection and the life. She understood that believing in Him was life itself. Her belief ‘filled the house’ with a sweet aroma.
In contrast to Mary’s understanding, the hardness of the Pharisees led them to another conclusion: ‘It is better one man die for the nation.’ Just as greed drove Judas, power and control dictated the hearts of the religious. The aroma of death emanates from hard hearts in the same circumstances where an aroma of life exudes from a faith-filled heart.
Mary’s understanding must have been a precious balm to Jesus. Receiving her loving sacrifice even as Judas’ greedy condemnation of Mary’s act pierced his ears: ‘What a waste!” Although, Jesus put no trust in humanity, He felt the warmth of shared love and the pain of betrayal.
As he descended the Mount of Olives on the way to Jerusalem, he paused and wept over the city below. He wept for the blindness that prevented true peace for the precious people below. He wept for the very people who, in just five short days, would be screaming, “Crucify Him!” On this day, though, Jesus came into a city singing His praises. A city hailing Him as King and welcoming Him.
They missed the significance of the donkey He chose to ride upon. Jesus announced Himself as a King who comes in peace. They saw in Jesus what they really wanted: a deliverer from Roman rule. An earthly focus blinded them to eternal victory. It is the danger we all face when looking at Jesus.
As this Holy Week begins, consider:
- Are you enjoying those closest to you on your journey through life? How has COVID-19 helped you appreciate loved ones more?
- When have you worshiped Jesus as something you wanted…and not necessarily for Who He is? How did Jesus heal your blindness in that time?
- Do you weep over the lost in your community? Do you weep over those who reject you?
Why note choose one of Bible passages to read aloud as a family?
Matthew 21:1–11, Mark 11:1–11, Luke 19:28–44, and John 12:12–19