The newspaper, thank you Lord, is considered essential so Kristi and I have been working and doing what we can to keep going. Ms. Caroline, because of her age, is at home with her daughter. Many meetings have been cancelled so there has been less for us to cover, but some have not and we are covering those.
During this time we need to choose faith over fear and that’s what I’m doing. There are many things I’d like to say about people’s reactions but I won’t this week, because this week is Holy Week. Sunday was Palm Sunday.
Holy Week is eight days which allow us an opportunity to reflect upon Jesus; sacrifice on the cross. Reflecting on his sacrifice shows up the deep love He has for us. I feel so undeserving but He says that I am.
Palm Sunday commemorates Jesus entering Jerusalem triumphantly. Palm branches, symbolizing victory, were strewn in His path as he rode into town on a donkey. This fulfilled the prophecy in Zechariah 9:9.
The crowds before him and those who followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
The long promised and awaited new covenant God promised was about to produce a new salvation through Jesus’ death on the cross.
The next day, Monday, after cursing a fig tree with no fruit, he went to the temple and confronted those making a profit off worshippers. He overturned the tables of the moneychangers and benches of those selling doves. “My house will be called a house of prayer, but you are making it a den of robbers”, he told them. (Matthew 21:12-13.)
Those who heard and witnessed this began singing praises to Him. This caused the authorities to begin looking for a way to kill him.
Tuesday, Peter noticed the fully withered fig tree which Jesus had cursed. Jesus used it as a lesson to have faith in God. The priests had set traps for Jesus, first questioning His authority. He answered and then used the Parable of the Two Sons, the Parable of the Tenants and the Parable of the Wedding Banquet to teach them.
Next they tried to challenge His allegiance and then tried to ridicule Jesus’ belief in resurrection. He answered the last challenge noting God’s greatest command of “Love”. It’s amazing to me how in control Jesus was as he responded with grace and truth. He knows what’s coming but still responds calmly.
Jesus and the disciples stopped at the Mount of Olives to rest and spend the night on the way back from Bethany. He told his disciples about what was about to happen and the trials for His followers. They didn’t seem to get it. But aren’t we a lot like that too in that His sacrifice doesn’t totally penetrate our hearts.
It’s now Wednesday and some call it “spy Wednesday”. The plot of the high priest and the authorities to kill Him is now in full swing. Because of Judas’greed, Satan seized the opportunity and entered him. Judas’ went to the priests and authorities and fromt hat time on sought a chance to betray Him. He would receive 30 pieces of silver, the price of a slave, for his betrayal.
Jesus rests in Bethany at the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus, knowing full well what lied ahead of Him. As the time draws nearer, this is something He will have to bear alone. The disciples would soon scatter and none of them would be found at the foot of the cross, other than John.
It’s now Maundy Thursday and in an upper room, Jesus and His disciples would share the Last Supper. Jesus washed the feet of the disciples and broke bread with them for the last time. Just as we continue to celebrate communion today, the broken bread represents Christ’s body and the grape juice His blood. His body would be broken for us and His blood shed.
During this time Christ told them one of them would betray Him. Peter could not fathom that notion at all.
Following the meal they went into the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus would pray in agony. An angel came to strengthen Him in the garden. He taught His disciples and us, what we need to come when we come to the end of our own strength – ask God to help us press onward. On that Thursday Jesus gave them a new commandment. Maundy is a Latin root meaning commandment or mandate.
Before the cross, no one knew love like the sacrificial and selfless love of Jesus.
Good Friday was the last day of Jesus life on earth prior to His resurrection. He was betrayed by Judas and denied by Peter, just as had been predicted. The disciples scattered. He was arrested and falsely accused. They condemned Him, beat and mocked Him, then had to carry His own cross to where He would be crucified.
Soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and placed it on His head. He refused anything to dull the pain. They stripped Him of his clothing and cast lots for them, which fulled another prophecy.
One of the two prisoners cruxified alongside Him mocked Him but the other did not. He asked to be remembered and Jesus told Him that he would be with in paradise (Luke 23:39-43). I cannot imagine the pain but through it He still responded with grace.
He even asked His Father to forgive them because they did not know what they had done.
Around noon He cried out and commit his spirit to His Father and died. Darkness came over the whole land until about 3 p.m. The curtain of the temple was town in half.
Joseph from Arimathea asked Pilate for Jesus’ body. He was taken down and wrapped in linens and placed in a tomb. Our ways are not God’s ways and it’s hard for us to understand how God could let His only Son suffer so much. He gave Him up for us, to save us.
The next day, Saturday is known as Black Saturday. Jesus’ body was in the tomb of a rich man. Because of what was being said about Him and that He would be resurrected, the Tomb was sealed and soldiers stationed there.
When Mary and the other women went to visit Sunday bringing perfumes and spices with them for the body, they found the stone rolled away and an angel sitting where Jesus’ body had lain. They were informed He was not there but alive. What joy!
He appeared to Mary Magdalene and others who didn’t believe at first. He sent his Holy Spirit to help and empower us. He’s alive and we are forgiven, we just have to accept Him insto our hearts and we can commune directly with Him through prayer.
During this time of confinement this is what we should be focusing on first and foremost. Easter has not been cancelled in the purest sense, because Christ lives. Blessings.
VICTORIA SIMMONS Is a columnist, author, motivational speaker, minister and publisher of The Georgia Post/Byron Buzz. Contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org