With Easter approaching, it’s time to learn and understand the meaning of Holy Week and how it interacts with the Christian Faith.
What is the meaning of Holy Week and why do Christians celebrate it? Holy Week is recognized by many faiths in many countries. During this sacred week, Christians reflect on the Passion of Jesus Christ, who was crucified on Good Friday and rose from the dead on Easter Sunday to give new life to all who believe.
Holy Week is also the week leading up to the joy of Easter Sunday, a recognition of God’s goodness in sending His Son to die for our sins.
This simple guide to understanding Holy Week is a biblical journey through the week leading to the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. Begin each day with a prayer for clarity and understanding of the reading.
Prayers for Every Day During Holy Week
Ask the Lord to reveal Himself to you through your reading and quiet time. Read each of the scriptures slowly. Take a few minutes to process what you have read. Reflect on what it teaches you about the character of God as revealed through His son, Jesus Christ.
On Palm Sunday, Jesus entered Jerusalem with his disciples riding a borrowed donkey. When Jesus arrived, He was greeted with celebration and shouts of Hosanna. This was the beginning of the end of his human life. Read and reflect on each of the accounts of this day.
(if it helps to have a journal and take notes, do so! This is for you to explore and understand more of your faith in any way that you choose.
On Holy Monday, as Jesus was leaving he cursed a fig tree for not bearing fruit. It is important to reflect on this passage and how this relates to your faith.
Jesus then enters the temple and asserts his authority by throwing everyone out who was doing business inside the temple complex. The Jewish leaders began plotting how to kill Jesus because of this display of power. Jesus was ruining their racket.
On Holy Tuesday, the chief priest, temple leaders and elders challenged Jesus by putting him to the test. They raised a number of theological debates with him and questioned both his teaching and by which authority he has to teach his followers. Jesus responds in parables and directly warns his disciples against the teachers of the law.
On Spy Wednesday, Jesus continued his teaching. He spoke of the destruction of the temple and of the end times. He shared more parables and spoke of the withered fig tree. This continued to greatly upset the Jewish leaders.
Their anger continued to grow once they heard of the woman who honored Jesus by anointing him with really expensive oil. This also angered Judas and he went straight to the religious authorities and offered to deliver Jesus into their hands.
On Maundy Thursday, Jesus celebrated the Passover, which is also known as the Last Supper, with his disciples. After they finished supper, Jesus went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray and instructed the disciples to also pray that they do not fall into temptation.
This is where Judas finds Jesus and betrays him by bringing the chief priest, temple leaders and elders. Jesus was arrested and tortured while Peter denied him just as Jesus said he would.
On Good Friday, the Jewish leaders, with the help of Pilate, presented Jesus to a crowd and held a mock trial that resulted in a death sentence for the one who would be called the King of the Jews. Jesus was crucified on the cross and one of Jesus’ disciples requested his body to properly prepare for burial.
On Holy Saturday, since it was the day before the Sabbath, Jesus’ body was placed in a nearby tomb. The chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate requesting an order for the tomb to be made secure with a guard until the third day. They went and made the tomb secure by placing a large stone in front of the entrance and posting a guard outside.
On Easter Sunday, a couple of women went to the tomb where Jesus’ body was kept to anoint him with oil for burial. But when they arrived, he wasn’t there.
The tomb was empty and an angel greeted them with the news that Jesus was alive. The women hurried back to tell the others and Jesus surprised his grieving disciples by showing up in their midst.
After reading through each of the scriptures walking you through Holy Week, what did you learn about God? What did you learn about yourself?
Just by slowing yourself down and really diving into the scriptures in your Bible, you may find a whole new reason for understanding Easter Sunday. While it’s known for the resurrection of Jesus, there are so many wonderful scriptures that you can read and explore yourself.
You can even make this a family gathering to sit and worship together. Take turns reading from the scriptures to truly experience an understanding of the Holy Week and the upcoming Easter holiday.