HOLY WEEK: SATURDAY
It’s Saturday on Holy Week. Jesus’ body has been buried. His followers have mourned and are still mourning. They are out of sight – hidden and grieving. this day is often called “Silent Saturday” because we know little that happens physically on this day, but…
…there is a spiritual roar taking place. It’s the deafening sound of death being ripped out of it’s foundation – sin. You see, with sin comes death. Sin is always attached to death and death is always attached to sin. To defeat death, one has to defeat sin, and none of us can do that. No on on earth can do that – no one has ever done that – until Silent Saturday.
On Silent Saturday, Jesus went and “made proclamation to the spirits now in prison…” (1 Peter 3:19) This is the roar. This is the startling sound that breaks the law of sin and death and rips the power of death from satan himself. This is what strikes fear in every demon of darkness and what banishes satan to the bottomless pit. And it’s what brings hope to every one of us who hates sin and death. It’s the roar of victory. The roar of resurrection. Jesus. Has. Overcome.
If death could have held Him, sin would have won. But it didn’t. It didn’t hold Jesus, and it can’t hold us – so long as we are IN Jesus. The resurrection is the trump card over the finality and hopelessness of death, and Jesus continues to shout life for us because of what happened on Silent Saturday.
It may be Silent Saturday, but what happens there should cause the believer to shout and sing and praise and worship the God who destroyed sin and death!
HOLY WEEK: FRIDAY
Good Friday. What a name.
When you and I wake up in the morning on Good Friday, we should remember that Jesus has been going through a series of rigged and brutal trials that will lead to His crucifixion later in this day, 2000 years ago. He will be accused, beaten, spat upon, ridiculed and insulted – all before being stripped naked and scourged to within an inch of His physical life.
He’ll be further mocked, then condemned by the crowd. Then, it becomes an unbearable walk to a hill outside of Jerusalem where Roman soldiers are waiting to take this grief to another level. He’s carrying the cross beam, and He is weakened by blood loss, sleeplessness and the awareness that He’s been deserted by nearly all. But He presses on. There’s a purpose to this.
He lays down. His arms are stretched out. The spikes create unrelenting pain as they force their way through His, bones and sinews into the wood, where they impale Him there. He’s lifted up on the cross, and it slides into the hole in the ground that will keep it upright. The jarring force of this creates an excruciating (the word means “out of the cross”) existence to the very end.
Before He dies…He forgives those who put Him there. He takes care of His mother. He allows the sin of mankind to be placed on His shoulders. He cries out with a loud voice, “Why has Thou forsaken Me?” and “IT IS FINISHED!”
There is a purpose to this. At that very moment, the wrath of God was satisfied. Appeased. The onrushing flow of judgment and condemnation of sin stemmed by the single greatest act of sacrifice the world has known. The just for the unjust. The innocent for the guilty.
HOLY WEEK: THURSDAY
Do you know what was happening on what many call “Maundy Thursday”? In the life of Jesus, the cross and tomb are now nearer than ever.
But this is no meaningless death – and no permanent tomb. But first, He prepares His disciples and then prepares Himself for the sacrifice of “the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.”
The Last SUPPER takes place in an upper room. The disciples are there, but thinking of a Passover meal. Jesus is thinking about THE Passover. THE sacrifice. “This bread is my body which is broken for you.” And then…”this cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is shed for you.” This makes little sense to the disciples at the moment – but after all is said and done, it comes rushing back to their minds and it’s crystal clear. Jesus IS the Lamb.
At the Last Supper they observe Him SERVE them. On His knees, Jesus washes their feet and gives them the command to love one another. They cannot fathom this kind of leadership – the kind that is humble, the kind that serves and loves. It’s so distinctly different from what they’ve seen before Jesus – but here He is telling them, “YOU do this.”
Then, the SURRENDER in the Garden of Gethsemane. Can you imagine sweating drops of blood? Can you grasp knowing the decision you were about to make would justify (or condemn) the sinfulness of mankind? Imagine knowing you were chosen to satisfy the WRATH of God on behalf of every person who ever existed. Jesus said, “Not My will, but Thy will be done.” Then, they came to take Him away.
HOLY WEEK: WEDNESDAY
Wednesday of Holy Week is often called the “Silent Day.” Two days before His crucifixion…the clock is ticking toward the tomb…and we find nearly nothing from Scripture about the activities of Jesus. However, if we look at what has already transpired, and what is about to happen, we can deduce that some critical things are happening.
Silence is what happens outwardly when people scheme and plan inwardly. Jesus was about to be betrayed by a kiss from Judas. He was about to be conspired against by the scribes and Pharisees, in conjunction with the Romans who occupied Jerusalem. While silence was taking place outwardly, hatred and resentment were building in the hearts of the residents of the city. Jesus will soon be lied about, beaten horribly and sentenced to death. He will be betrayed by one of his followers, denied by another three times. His followers will soon flee from his presence.
I sometimes wonder how Jesus could be so forgiving of those who hated and denied him so absolutely. Usually, I think about this when I am needing to forgive someone who wounds or betrays me. It happens to all of us at some time or another. What HE is going through on Wednesday identifies with what we sometimes go through. Is HIS forgiveness of those who plotted against him our inspiration for forgiving others? Because of what He is about to go through, we can forgive those who sin against us.
I believe silence also happens when people pray. We KNOW Jesus was a man of prayer. We KNOW He often went away to be alone. Two days before the day that will forever be known as the day of the redemption of sinful man – I have no doubt Jesus is praying. He’s burdened by what is about to happen. His character, integrity and physical health will be shredded to the max. He will bear the sin of mankind on His shoulders.
The Silent Day should remind us of the importance and the power of prayer. Whatever we must endure, we do it through prayer – just as He did. Prayer steals the will to carry out the tasks we’ve been assigned. He’s praying on Wednesday. Are you?
HOLY WEEK: TUESDAY
On Tuesday of the last week of Jesus’ earthly life, He’s focused on faith – and the future.
You can see it on the video blog here: https://vimeo.com/123657717
Passing by the fig tree He had cursed the day before, Jesus hears the comments from His disciples who seem surprised that the tree has withered – and He challenges their faith. It’s as though He’s wondering aloud – “do you even know Who I am?” Do WE? Do we realize the power of Jesus Christ and His very words that heaven and earth respond to? Do we grasp His greatness, and the privilege of knowing and following Him?
Tuesday is the day Jesus speaks on the future – and you find His “Olivet Discourse” in Matthew 24. It’s the most extensive prophecy of the end times we ever hear from Jesus. He foretells the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 and simultaneously teaches of His return at the end of time. As Jesus moves quickly towards His death, He’s focusing on the end of the world. He’s revealing that we’re ALL heading toward the end of this earthly life – and ultimately the end of this earth!
He moves towards death on Tuesday, and we’re a day closer every day to our own. Are we ready? Have we lived life with purpose? Do we know the God we will one day meet?
HOLY WEEK: MONDAY
Have you ever contemplated the unfolding of the events of Holy Week? What was Jesus doing in days leading up to the Cross? What was happening around Him that impacted the incredible significance of this event of the crucifixion?
See the video here: Monday of Holy Week
Jesus seemed concerned about three things on Monday: 1) The failure of religion to bring men near to God. Calling the Pharisees “white-washed tombs” on the week leading up to Jesus being placed in a tomb is key. He’s reminding us that man can take any religion – even one established by God Himself – and turn it into a self-serving, prideful exercise that is more characterized by deadness than life. Is YOUR worship dead, or is it alive? Is it Christ-focused, or man-focused?
2) Jesus is also concerned about FRUIT in the lives of His followers. This is the day that Jesus curses the fig tree because it has no fruit on it. The disciples who saw this were perplexed by why Jesus did it – but His purpose is to point out distaste for fruitlessness. It’s an indictment on Israel and her rejection of Jesus Himself. Today, it stands as an indictment upon unfruitful believers in Christ. Look on the tree of your own life? Is there spiritual fruit? Should Jesus expect to see fruit in your life as He examines under the leaves – or are there “nothing but leaves”?
3) Jesus cleanses the temple on this day – a strong testimony of His heart for PURE WORSHIP and His authority to purify worship. It’s clear Jesus had a passion for pure worship and a passion for prayer. “My house shall be called a house of prayer.” Reconsider your worship this week in light of Jesus’ actions on Monday. Is it pure, or selfish? Is it about God, or about you?
On Monday, Jesus breaks down what is not worth keeping, and sets straight the path to the ultimate sacrifice – death on the Cross for mankind.
Thoughts from John Meador and insights from God's Word.