Celebration to Crucifixion
Devotional

Celebration to Crucifixion

March 25, 2024

Celebration to Crucifixion

“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5

Yesterday marked the beginning of “Holy Week”, the time between Palm Sunday and Easter. This week is designated to remember the events that led to Jesus’ death and resurrection. For some of us, these events may be so familiar that we forget their significance. So this week I invite us to look at Holy Week through fresh eyes. Imagine it is the first time you are hearing the story.

On Palm Sunday, Jesus enters Jerusalem humbly, on a donkey. He is surrounded by his disciples and met by adoring fans. An entire crowd greets him and sings his praise. His arrival seems to set the stage for positive things to come, but that’s not what happens. A few days later, as he enjoys dinner with his friends, he reveals troubling news. Jesus announces that one of them will betray him, and within hours, he is right. Everything turns sideways, as Judas gives up Jesus to his enemies.

But Jesus doesn’t fight the arrest. He calmly allows himself to be taken and falsely accused by religious leaders who should have seen the truth. Finally, Jesus, the perfect man, who has committed no sin, is sentenced to death on a cross. And the crowd, who days earlier was singing his praise, now hurls insults and demands his death. Talk about a 180! Holy Week is full of drastic shifts. It goes from celebration to crucifixion in a manner no one could predict, except God himself.

On their own the events of Holy Week appear shocking and tragic. But when we consider them with all of Scripture, we see they are exactly the opposite. None of what took place was a surprise. It was carefully planned from the start. Jesus was not a tragic victim, rather he willingly, and obediently gave his life out of love. It was all a part of God’s perfect plan, which he made clear in Scripture.

The events of Holy Week fulfill many prophecies. From the arrival on a donkey (Zechariah 9:9), and betrayal by a friend (Psalm 41:9), to casting lots for his clothes (Psalm 22:18), it was all prophesied and fulfilled in Jesus. The completion of these prophecies and numerous others is proof that God was always in control. From the moment sin entered the world, God had a plan to draw us to himself, and that plan was Jesus. Jesus is the way we are united with our Heavenly Father. Through him alone are we forgiven. He is the reason we do not stand condemned but rather are extended love and grace.

Holy Week shouldn’t be ordinary or shocking. Jesus’ death and the events that led to it are the most incredible and life altering things to happen, but they were not a surprise. Every single moment was carefully ordained. Jesus’ arrest was no shock and his death was not a tragedy; it was a sacrifice Jesus willingly made to save and redeem us. That is the extraordinary news that should ignite our hearts with gratitude as we ponder it this week.

Take a moment to reflect. Have the events surrounding Easter become common and ordinary to you? How can you step back this week and recognize the significance of Jesus’ sacrifice? Who in your life needs to hear the extraordinary news that Jesus died for them?

Prayer

Heavenly Father, We stand in awe of you and your sovereignty. Only you could have orchestrated the events that led to the cross. We praise and thank you for Jesus, who willingly chose to die for each of us. May the truth of his sacrifice not become ordinary but ignite our hearts to worship and deeper love for you. It is in his name we pray, Amen.

Makalah Scholten
Spiritual Care Coordinator

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