What Is Holy Week?

We will soon enter Holy Week. In one sense, there is nothing special about “Holy Week.” For most people in the world, it is just another eight days each spring. But not for the faithful who are followers of Christ.

We have no mandate from Jesus or His apostles to mark these days for any particular observance. Celebrating Holy Week is not an obligation, but it is an opportunity. It is a chance to walk with Jesus down the Via Dolorosa (the way of sorrow and suffering) through the most important week in the history of the world. It is a chance to focus our minds on what gift was given to us and what was the price of that gift that we celebrate on Easter.

Holy Week and those events that happened in the life of our Savior are a major part of the New Testament. In fact, the final eight of Matthew’s 28 chapters are given to this one week, along with the last six of Mark’s and the final six of Luke’s. And in John’s Gospel, the essential half, ten of 21 chapters, focus on the final week of our Lord’s life, His betrayal, His trials, His crucifixion, and His triumphant resurrection.

So I would invite you to seize the possibilities of these last days of Lent. I ask you to consider how you might make the most of this week? These are some of the darkest and brightest days in the history of the world. In the chaos of our increasingly fast-paced and hectic society, Holy Week is a reminder to pause and ponder, to carefully mark each day, and not let this greatest of all weeks get lost like every other.

Perhaps pick a time each day — alone or with your family or small group — to slow down and savor what was happening during what we call the Passion week. Consider reading through a Holy Week devotional (there are many online and right at your fingertips on your phone) — or read one (or a couple) of the Passion narratives from the Gospels: Matthew 21–28, Mark 11–16, Luke 19–24, and John 12–21.

Block out several minutes. Find a comfortable place to sit. Seek to quiet your soul, and pray that God would meet you in the events and significance of this week. And spend a few moments in prayer after you read each one of these accounts. 

Then come out and join us for the start of Holy Week on April 10 with Palm/Passion Sunday when we begin the greatest story ever told once again. And later that week on April 14 for Maundy Thursday where we remember the Last Supper and the new commandment that Jesus gave to His disciples. And then on April 15 for one of the most powerful nights of the year: Good Friday and Tenebrae (a Service of Shadows).

One author suggests if you would like a specific biblical text to serve as a prayer focus for this week, try that God would make this prayer of Ephesians 3:16-9 increasingly true of us this Holy Week:

...that according to the riches of His glory He may grant you to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith — that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have the strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Jesus’s step-by-step journey to Golgotha is a glowing revelation of the extent of His love. And in going all the way to the cross with Him, with every bruise, every puncture, and throb and stab of pain it is that we see most profoundly how deep the Father’s love for us. Romans 5:8 reminds us “God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

May God use this week and beyond as an opportunity for you to be newly grounded in the love of Christ, remembering from the resolve of Palm Sunday to the goodbye and greatest commandment of Maundy Thursday, to the ultimate sacrifice of Good Friday, and finally to the triumph of Easter Sunday. And may you, as we are praying and focusing on Easter with Love Never Fails, know the love of Christ, in all its breadth and length and height and depth — and wonder upon wonder, be filled with all the fullness of God.

Blessings in Christ, 

Rev. Jeremy Squires

Our mission is to be a neighborhood church where people experience a life-changing relationship with Jesus in a welcoming church family empowered to go and serve the world.