Holy Week is the week between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday. Also called Passion Week, which indicates the passion with which Jesus willingly went to the cross. The week marks the culmination of Jesus’ earthly ministry, beginning with His triumphal entrance to Jerusalem and ending with his crucifixion and resurrection.
Part 2- Good Friday and Easter Sunday.
The Friday of Passion Week is the day of the crucifixion and death of Jesus the Christ. Having been unjustly tried and cruelly whipped, He carried His cross to a hill called Golgotha (Aramaic for “Skull). ‘And they brought him to the place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull)’. (Mark 15:22) Jesus hung on the Cross for a total of six hours. During that time, He spoke seven times:
● Father, forgive them for they know not what they do. Forgiveness
● Truly I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise. Salvation
● Woman, behold your son… Son, behold your mother. Relationship
● I thirst. Distress
● My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Abandonment
● Father, into your hands I commit my spirit. Reunion
● It is finished. Triumph
How did this day come to be called Good Friday? (It should be noted some faith traditions call it “Holy” or “Great” Friday) The Oxford Dictionary distinguishes one meaning of the word “good” to mean holy. To quote: From good, in the sense ‘holy, observed as a holy day’.
Another thought: Jesus’ worst day can be our best day because of His last words- words of triumph- ”It is finished!” He willingly placed Himself on that cross and died to pay the full penalty of the sin of mankind. In fact, the Greek word that is translated “It is finished” is also used as a commercial term- ”Paid in full.” As the Apostle Paul states: ‘For our sake, he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God’. (2 Corinthians 5:21) He died in our place.
Easter | Resurrection Sunday
The day Christians celebrate Jesus’ resurrection out from among the dead. He truly died and truly came to life. Jesus was buried and the site of His burial secured. ‘The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate and said, “Sir, we remember how that impostor said, while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise.’ Therefore order the tomb to be made secure until the third day, lest his disciples go and steal him away and tell the people, ‘He has risen from the dead,’ and the last fraud will be worse than the first.” Pilate said to them, “You have a guard of soldiers. Go, make it as secure as you can.” So they went and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone and setting a guard’. (Matthew 27:62-66)
Death could not hold him. Nor the guards. His resurrection is the central event of Christianity. As the Apostle Paul wrote: ‘And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins’. (1 Corinthians 15:17)
Indeed, He has been raised and over the next forty days appeared in a physical body on many occasions- once to more than 500 people. He ate with them, invited them to touch Him to know that He was truly there in human flesh. The resurrection is an historical fact. But it is more. The continuing benefit of Jesus’ resurrection- ‘We serve a living God. Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us’. (Romans 8:34)
May God richly bless you as you celebrate these events of Passion Week: Good Friday and Easter Sunday.
-Pastor Mike O’Connor
Read Part 1 of What You Need to Know About Holy Week, here.