The Beginning of Holy Week

In the Christian year, Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday and concludes on Easter. The week encompasses extreme highs and extreme lows.

Yesterday was Palm Sunday, which celebrates Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Here’s how the event is recorded in Matthew 21 (Common English Bible) …

1 When they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus gave two disciples a task. 2 He said to them, “Go into the village over there. As soon as you enter, you will find a donkey tied up and a colt with it. Untie them and bring them to me. 3 If anybody says anything to you, say that the Lord needs it.” He sent them off right away. 4 Now this happened to fulfill what the prophet said, 5 Say to Daughter Zion, “Look, your king is coming to you, humble and riding on a donkey, and on a colt the donkey’s offspring.” 6 The disciples went and did just as Jesus had ordered them. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt and laid their clothes on them. Then he sat on them.

8 Now a large crowd spread their clothes on the road. Others cut palm branches off the trees and spread them on the road. 9 The crowds in front of him and behind him shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” 10 And when Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up. “Who is this?” they asked. 11 The crowds answered, “It’s the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.”

Wow, “the whole city was stirred up.”

If that was the only part of the story we knew, we’d have no idea that before the week was over, Jesus would be betrayed by one of his disciples, denied by another one, and abandoned by all of them. If we only knew about Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, how surprised we’d be to discover that by week’s end, Jesus was brutally executed on a cross and placed in a tomb!

I’m struck by how quickly the atmosphere around the city changed, all within a few days. It’s a reminder to stay close to Jesus because we never know where the journey will take us. But wherever it takes us, we want to be where Jesus is!

(This post is part of the Common English Bible Tour.)

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