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Summary: By starting with Palm Sunday, we journey through the significant days of Holy Week that lead to the victory on Easter Sunday.

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THERE IS A CERTAIN TIME OF YEAR THAT HAS ALWAYS PERPLEXED ME AS A PASTOR. IT IS A TIME THAT SHOULDN’T. I AM SPEAKING OF THE WEEKS OF LENT AND THE HOLY WEEK.

FOR SOME STRANGE REASON, I HAVE HAD TO ADDRESS AND DEFEND THE FACT THAT THESE ARE NOT OBSERVANCES RESERVED ONLY FOR THE CATHOLIC FAITH. THE REMEMBRANCES ARE FOR ALL CHRISTIANS TO REFLECT ON WHAT CHRIST HAS DONE FOR US.

I WANT TO FOCUS TODAY ON THE EIGHT DAYS THAT ARE COMPRISED OF TODAY AND THIS FOLLOWING WEEK. THE DAYS THAT FULLY EMBRACE PALM SUNDAY, MAUNDY THURSDAY, GOOD FRIDAY, HOLY SATURDAY AND EASTER DAY. THE DAYS THAT CAN BE SUMMARIZED INTO TWO WORDS: HOLY WEEK.

CHRISTIANS EVERYWHERE GATHER TO REMEMBER WHAT JESUS CHRIST HAS DONE FOR THEM THAT THEY COULD NEVER HAVE DONE FOR THEMSELVES! SO WHAT DOES EACH DAY MEAN?

PALM SUNDAY: THE MOST DRAMATIC OF DAYS AS IT CELEBRATES BOTH THE JOY OF JESUS’ TRIUMPHAL ENTRY INTO JERUSALEM AND HIS REJECTION AND CRUCIFIXION.

JESUS COMES RIDING ON A DONKEY AS IF TO SAY, "HERE I AM, THE LAMB OF GOD, ON MY WAY TO THE THRONE BY WAY OF THE CROSS. WILL YOU CHOOSE ME AS YOUR LAMB, AS YOUR SACRIFICE, AND THROUGH THAT SACRIFICE, AS YOUR KING?"

BUT UNFORTUNATELY, THEY DIDN’T QUITE GET THAT MESSAGE. THEY BEGIN STRIPPING PALM BRANCHES OFF THE TREES AND BEGAN LAYING THEM IN THE PATHWAY OF JESUS.

THIS IS A SIGNIFICANT POINT BECAUSE PALM BRANCHES WERE TO THE JEWS OF THAT DAY WHAT OUR FLAG MEANS TO US TODAY. JUST LIKE WE WOULD WAVE OUR FLAG IN THE FESTIVE OCCASION OF THE FOURTH OF JULY, THE JEWS WAVED THEIR "FLAG" (PALM BRANCHES) SHOUTING "HOSANNA" WHICH MEANS "SAVE US NOW!"

THEY WANTED JESUS TO BE THEIR POLITICAL LEADER INSTEAD OF A SPIRITUAL SAVIOR. THEY WANTED TO BE SAVED POLITICALLY FROM ROME. THEY WANTED JESUS TO BE A MILITARY LEADER TO KNOCK THE WEIGHT OF ROMAN RULE OFF THEIR SHOULDERS.

THIS ONE MISCONCEPTION OF WHO JESUS REALLY WAS IS WHY, IN LUKE 19:41, JESUS WEPT OVER JERUSALEM BECAUSE THEY JUST DIDN’T GET IT. THEY MISSED THE WHOLE POINT ENTIRELY. WE CELEBRATE PALM SUNDAY TODAY BECAUSE WE "GET IT" AND ACCEPT JESUS CHRIST BECAUSE HE IS THE MESSIAH.

WE KNOW THAT JESUS IS TRULY THE SACRIFICIAL LAMB THAT TOOK AWAY OUR SINS AND THE SINS OF THE WORLD. WE REJOICE AND SHOUT "HOSANNA" BECAUSE HE SAVES US SPIRITUALLY.

MAUNDY THURSDAY (HOLY THURSDAY): THE TITLE OF MAUNDY THURSDAY IS DERIVED FROM LATIN AND FRENCH WORDS MEANING "A NEW COMMANDMENT."

MAUNDY THURSDAY IS A DAY OF REMEMBRANCE AND CELEBRATION OF THE FINAL SUPPER JESUS SHARED WITH HIS DISCIPLES IN THE CONTEXT OF PASSOVER.

THIS IS THE LIFE-ALTERING EVENT THAT TOOK PLACE BECAUSE IT INSTITUTED FOR US A NEW COVENANT THAT WOULD PROVIDE REDEMPTION. JESUS ESTABLISHED THIS FOR US AND WE CALL IT HOLY COMMUNION, THE LORD’S SUPPER OR THE EUCHARIST.

BECAUSE OF WHAT TOOK PLACE THIS NIGHT IN THE UPPER ROOM WE CAN CELEBRATE THIS PASSOVER MEAL AS A MEMORIAL OF THE SUFFERINGS AND DEATH OF CHRIST.

WE THEREFORE USE BREAD AND GRAPE JUICE AS SYMBOLS OF CHRIST’S BODY AND BLOOD. THESE SYMBOLS OF BREAD AND JUICE ARE REPRESENTATIONS OF OUR REDEMPTION AND A TOKEN OF LOVE AND UNION THAT CHRISTIANS HAVE WITH CHRIST AND WITH ONE ANOTHER AS THE BODY OF CHRIST.


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