Holy week is over but the story is not. Many spiritual leaders are posting about the aftermaths of this Holy day. Expectations met or not met, criticisms of the services, what could have been done differently, who showed (new and faithful) or who did not show. The voice in our head that says “job well done” or the polar opposite of “you were not good enough for them to show.” Regardless of the storm of thoughts or emotions that flood the day after Easter, we can reflect that the story is still not over. Our story of faith is still not over. I wanted to put all the reflections this humble small-town pastor had each day of Holy Week with a thought or two for what is next.
Holy Week Monday is often remembered as the day Jesus cleansed the temple. For those that like to justify anger, it wasn’t. He had arts and craft time as He assembled a whip. Before that scene, He cursed a fig tree for not producing fruit. It’s purpose is to produce fig. We produce fruit too. Or are supposed to. Is the tree of your spirit producing fruit? If not, why not? Connected to the vine? Receiving spiritual nourishment?
Father, please fill me with a thirst and hunger for Your nourishment so that Your fruit will continue to be harvested for Your kingdom. Amen.
Tuesday Jesus is questioned. He is questioned on authority, money (don’t we all love to hear about this in church… spoiler alert, its all God’s), relationships, and legalism. I would challenge us to look at all of these. Jesus is more than a prophet, all we have is His, our priority in relationships should be the one we have with Him and the law balances on the very relationship we have with Him. He is relational. If we place Him first in our lives, we would not look to progress Biblical truths, we would admit that all we have (includes our finances with tithes) is His, and our relationships all balance on the one we have with the Father. Jesus triumphs in a huge way in each of these confrontations. Jesus did not give up. He fought he fight and ran His race to the very end.
Father, give me the wisdom and courage to place you first in my life. Take all I have from talents, to time, to finances for all I have is yours alone. Help my love for you to be so pure, the Biblical truths I learn are taken and applied in my practical life regardless of society’s norms. Give me the desire to make my relationship with you the priority. Jesus, help me run my race as You did Yours. Amen.
Wednesday Jesus is betrayed. For silver. Wonder where the love of money or things comes from? Well… Four months’ wages. A third of the year’s pay to betray someone who has done nothing but good, nothing but healing, and had just confirmed his mere existence to the most religious of the time yesterday.
The mean salary where I live is in the lower 40,000s. So for close to $14K of today’s money, Jesus was sold out. I know most of you order more than that amount on Amazon yearly! The thing about this act was it did bring remorse to Judas. He was truly and sincerely sorry. That was not enough. He was not repentant. Peter turned his back on Jesus too. The difference? Repentance. We are called to repent. It is a few steps further than feeling sorry.
I wonder what it is God is calling you and me to repent?
Father, I repent for my sin. I desire a closer relationship with you and know that the sin in my life restricts that from happening. You have called me to repent and turn from my evil ways. Help me make that a reality, regardless of what society says is okay or acceptable or good. I only desire to do what is good in your eyes, on your standard. Help me oh Lord to turn from my ways and walk in Your way of holiness. Amen
Holy Week Thursday or Maundy Thursday.
Today is the last day of ministry Jesus will have this side of His earthly death. Maundy comes from the Latin term that means commandment. “Love one another as I have loved you.” He wants our unity. Unified in His love. He just washed their feet, including the one that has already decided to betray. He commands them to take bread and wine in communion on remembrance of what He has done and will do and to expect His return one day. We will be observing communion this week as He had commanded. He desires unity – especially within His family! Where do we lack in that unity?
Father, bring us together. We thank you for your sacrifice and the ritual we practice to symbolize that unity. Give us a desire to draw close to you and one another in the very unity You originally created us for. Help soften our hearts of hurt, revenge and spite. Give us Your eyes to see others the way you see them – as people you died for. Give us the heart for those that are difficult as you had for those when you cried out “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” Create in us a love that is pure and holy for those you created in your image. Amen.
Warning: long post ahead. Could a post on this day of Holy Week be short?
Good Friday of Holy Week. Good. I still have a hard time wrapping my head around the “good” part. I do understand the theological stance of the good. Hard to see the good in the blood spilled. Hard to see good in the thorns as they pierce the scalp of a man that did nothing but good. Hard to see the good in those that spat, gambled over his clothes and mocked him. Hard to see the good in the tears of a mother and disciple that looked on the pain and blood soaked body hanging on a cross. Hard to see the good in a darkness that fell for three hours in the middle of the day. Hard to see good in the swollen eyes and bruised body on display like a trophy to his enemies.
I do know there was good in His words. “Surely I will see you on paradise” to the thief on the cross. “Father, forgive them for they know not” to those that imposed and carried out this sentence. I do see the good that had to happen in order for the great to take place on Sunday.
The more I love my God, the more I have a hard time seeing the good in this day of Holy Week. The more I love Jesus, the more today hurts. He endured all that because He loves me. Because He loves you. I was part of the “them” he asked forgiveness for. I “was” because I have been forgiven. Where do you sit in this process? Do you know that your face, your name, your life was on His mind as He pleaded for your forgiveness, as He writhed with the physical pain in our place?
Good Friday. It was all for you. Because you are seen as more than good in His eyes.
Holy Week Saturday.
It’s quiet. It’s grief. It’s confusion. Disciples scatter and hide and question their next move. I imagine some are overcome with grief. Maybe the women at the tomb (tune into Washington Nazarene to hear about them tomorrow at 10:30 if you have no church home) start to mentally prepare to care for the body.
There was something that Jesus did this day. While we are encouraged to count the cost of Good Friday, let us not forget the work Jesus did on Saturday. He was defeating death. Where the enemy thinks victory is claimed, the battle has yet to be determined. When we believe it is over, He works when we think it’s all over.
It’s not over. Sunday isn’t here yet.
My thoughts can be found here in the Easter message titled “Plans” on our church YouTube page. It will be available Tuesday morning or you can view the live stream on our Facebook page here.
“For I know the plans I have for you says the LORD….
The story still is not finished. Jesus goes on to spend time with His disciples and brothers and prepare them further for the road ahead. Pentecost is coming. Tomorrow is coming. See, the purpose for their (The eleven and all those with Him after His resurrection) lives still has not been actuated. They have Kingdom work to do. We all have Kingdom work to do. We may not all be preachers or singers or even players of instruments, but we all have a divine purpose in our lives. We are all called to do something. That something is God’s plan for your life. What is that plan? Are you running from it or running towards it?
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit … and surely I am with you always!”