Holy Week is upon us! Beginning Sunday, we will follow Jesus through his final days of triumph. On Palm Sunday, Jesus was lauded by the crowd in Jerusalem. They waved palm branches and shouted praises to the Lord. On Maundy Thursday, Jesus gathered his disciples in the upper room and proclaimed that his body and blood would not be broken and spilled in vain. They would be used by God as the final and complete sacrifice for the sins of the world. On Good Friday, Jesus showed that triumph over sin as he declared “It is finished!” The sacrifice was made. Satan was defeated. Finally, Jesus triumphed over our greatest enemy, death. On Easter Sunday, the women found the tomb empty. Jesus, who is Life itself, conquered death for himself as well as for all who would trust him as their Life!
What is particularly interesting about these days of triumph is how different they look. Palm Sunday looks like a victorious day, doesn’t it? Jesus is cheered on by the crowd and proclaimed King as he rode through Jerusalem on a colt. Easter Sunday certainly looks triumphant as Jesus overcame death and the grave. But what about Good Friday? On this side of Easter, we understand the victory of the cross. But in the moment, it looked like a complete and utter defeat. The Jews, the Romans, even Satan himself appeared to be the victors. But as it turns out, Jesus was in control the whole time. This was the plan. Even in the appearance of defeat, the Lord triumphed!
This truth is the reason we re-tell the Holy Week story every year! We need to understand that in Christ, the worst circumstance and the worst defeat can actually be turned into a great victory. No enemy – not even Satan himself – needs to have the final word. If we believe in Jesus, his triumph over sin and death can be our victory as well!
Jesus said, “In the world you will have tribulation.
But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33