Dear brothers and sisters!
We began Holy, or Passion Week, a special time of commemoration of the Holy Passions and death of our Lord Jesus Christ. Every day of this week is called “Holy and Great”. Every day has its significance and tells us about the events of our Lord’s last days before His death, as well as teaches us the important ideas of our salvation.
Here is a concise description of the chronological events of this week, the events we commemorate:
Holy and Great Monday – following Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem, He spent Sunday night in Bethany, the village at the foot of Mount of Olives (Matthew 21:7). As Jesus returned on Monday to Jerusalem, He noticed a fig tree that had produced leaves ahead of season. But since the fig tree bore leaves, He expected to find figs, yet it was fruitless. Jesus cursed the tree and it withered the next day. Another event of Holy Monday is the Temple cleaning. As part of prophesy, Jesus pronounced a symbolic judgment upon the irreverence for the Lord’s house of prayer (Isaiah 56:7; Jeremiah 7:11).
Holy and Great Tuesday – On Holy Tuesday, the conspiracies to trap Jesus escalated. Israel’s religious leaders had one goal: to get rid of Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus warned the crowds and disciples about the hypocrisy and unbelief of the nation’s religious leaders. Jesus pronounced seven condemnations (“Woes”) addressing the false religion that was abhorrent to God (Matthew 23:13-33).
Holy and Great Wednesday – On Wednesday, Christians remember the day Judas Iscariot first conspired with the Sanhedrin to betray Jesus.
Holy and Great Thursday – On Thursday, also called the Maundy Thursday, believers remember the last meal Jesus Christ had with His disciples prior to His arrest and crucifixion. It is often called The Last Supper, or Mystical Supper. First, Jesus predicts what will happen on the next day. Second, Jesus gives His followers symbols of remembrance for His body and His blood sacrificed on behalf of all mankind. ”And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them saying, ‘This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me’” (Luke 22:19). Third, Jesus provides a very important principle for living a Christian life: the greatest are those who serve others, not those who expect to be served (Luke 22:26).
Prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane – Then Jesus went to the garden of Gethsemane to pray as He waited for His hour to come. It was here that Jesus, having been betrayed by Judas, was arrested and taken to several sham trials before the chief priests, Pontius Pilate, and Herod (Luke 22:54–23:25).
Jesus endured six trials. Three of the trials were by Jewish leaders and three by the Romans (John 18:12-14, Mark 14:53-65, Mark 15:1-5, Luke 23:6-12, Mark 15:6-15). During this time, Jesus survived painful beating, whipping, and mocking (Mark 15:16-20). Pilate tried to compromise with the religious leaders by having Jesus beaten, but this act didn’t satisfy them, so Pilate handed Jesus over to be crucified (Mark 15:6-15). Jesus was mocked by the soldiers as they dressed Him in a purple robe and a crown of thorns (John 19:1-3).
Holy and Great Friday, also known as Good Friday – Jesus was crucified on Golgatha, which means the Place of the Skull (Mark 15:22) The sky turned dark for three hours (Mark 15:33). Jesus cried, “Father! Into your hands I commit my spirit!” and He died (Luke 23:46). The disciple Peter wrote in 1 Peter 1:18-19, “For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And the ransom he paid was not mere gold or silver. He paid for you with the precious lifeblood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God.” The blood of Jesus Christ is absolutely the most precious thing God has offered us.
Holy and Great Saturday – On Saturday of Passion week, we remember the time Jesus spent in the tomb. “So they sealed the tomb and posted guards to protect it” (Matthew 27:66). The Resurrection of Jesus ends Passion week with a victorious celebration! “…he appeared to Peter, then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also…” (1 Corinthians 15:5-7).