The Odessa Record -

Pastor's Corner; Christ Lutheran Church

 


This coming Sunday begins the week that Christians call "Holy Week". From the gospel accounts of Jesus' ministry we begin Holy Week with Palm Sunday where Jesus' entry into Jerusalem is described as a joyous event where the people hailed Jesus as King! (Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:28-40; John 12:12-19) As one reads the gospel accounts of the events surrounding Jesus in and around Jerusalem after his royal entry, we read of the beginning of the sacrament of Holy Communion as Jesus celebrates the Passover Meal with his disciples. Commentaries call this meal the "Last Supper". From here, the gospel accounts tell us, Jesus and his disciples went out to the garden of Gethsemene. Here Jesus is found to be in deep prayer and distress over what was coming. What was coming you may ask? Jesus will be arrested, rejected, put on trial and then executed by crucifixion. In the garden Jesus prayed, "Father if this cup may pass from me, but not my will, your will be done." This event, as recorded in the gospels, we remember on Thursday of this Holy Week. It is called Holy Thursday or Maundy Thursday.

As the gospel accounts continue, Jesus was arrested by a mob, sent to bring him in, that was lead to the garden by one of Jesus own disciples, Judas Iscariot. Jesus was taken to the high priest for questioning and was then sent to the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate. The gospel according to Luke notes that Pilate sent Jesus to Herod when he found out that Jesus was a Galilean. Galilee was back to Pilate. Luke included the cryptic note that Herod and Pilate had been enemies until that day, when through this event with Jesus, they became friends. (Luke 23:6-12) Pilate then handed Jesus over to be crucified, and so he was. These events are remembered on Friday of Holy Week. This worship service is ironically called Good Friday. In the context of the horror of a Roman death by crucifixion, the Christian faith proclaims that the power of sin and death are defeated once and for all by the shed sacrificial blood of Jesus Christ.

The exclamation point of Holy Week is the following Sunday after Palm Sunday when the faithful gather in their houses of worship to sing and proclaim "He is Risen!!" Jesus was crucified, dead and buried, but was raised to life on the third day. This is the victory that Christians proclaim and invite, even beckon, others to come and be part of. Through Jesus we are offered forgiveness of sin and the promise of new life in that forgiveness and mercy from God. This new life is given now in this life and is also a sure promise for the life that is yet to be beyond the grave. As Jesus told Mary and Martha just before he raised Lazarus from the dead, (see John 11), "I am the resurrection and the life". And so he is, because his tomb is empty come Easter morning!

 

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