Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off every encumbrance and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with endurance the race set out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2
Jesus never asked us to remember His birth. But most of us do an amazing job during the Christmas season prepping to celebrate it. He did however ask us to remember His death, burial and resurrection. Jesus gave us two ordinances, baptism and communion, to symbolize and remember the sacrifice He made for our salvation. Participating in communion, being baptized and celebrating other believers’ baptisms are tangible ways to help, “us fix our eyes on Jesus.” The word “fix” in this verse means to look away from all else, to be intent with a singular focus. God knew for us to run the race of life with endurance, persevering through often-difficult realities, we would need a singular focal point of hope to guide us to the finish line. The secret to the race is Jesus.
Passion week, also known as Holy Week, presents us with another opportunity for us to pause and focus our attentions on Christ. The week leading up to the crucifixion contains numerous significant moments in the life and ministry of Jesus. Beginning with the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, then His cleansing of the Temple in Luke 19:45-46, the Olivet discourse and his discussion with the disciples about the signs of His second coming (Matthew 24 and 25), and the Last Supper are a few of the significant moments leading to the crucifixion and glorious resurrection. Walking with Jesus to the cross through scripture allows us to prepare our hearts and minds to celebrate the unbelievable gift of salvation on Easter Sunday.
Here are some suggestions as you journey with Jesus during Passion Week.
Slow down to create space to remember
To best experience the beauty and significance of Passion Week you and I must have uninterrupted time with Jesus. This might include intentionallity and potentially saying “no” to certain activities in order to say “yes” to spending time remembering and reflecting on the cross. An idea for your time: read the gospel accounts of Jesus’ week leading to the crucifixion. We’ve listed some of the bible references in this post but there are many more. Consider taking communion on Good Friday as a family. Ponder these words in your quiet time throughout the week, “who for the joy set before Him endured the cross.” These precious words reveal the Father’s heart towards you. Jesus, with joy in his heart went to the cross. I encourage you to set aside space for these truths permeate your mind and heart.
There are variety of tools available on online to help guide you through the Passion Week. One tool is from our friends at MinistrySafe. They put together a wonderful free app called EasterNow that will lead you step by step through the final week of Jesus’ life before he endured the cross. Download it here https://easternow.com/ .
Celebrate with other believers
I remember vividly the first time I stepped foot back in church 7 months into the COVID shutdown. Restrictions were lifted where we lived and churches re-opened. Sometimes you don’t appreciate what you have until it is taken away from you. Walking into service felt like coming home. I cried through worship, soaked in deeply the words the pastor spoke, prayed gratefully, breathed in deeply the fellowship of being with other believers. As many churches across the country are opening their doors for the first time in over a year for Easter service, it’s time to Celebrate corporately our risen King. Respectfully and understandably, everyone has different comfort levels with crowds of people due to COVID, so do what you feel and believe is safe and responsible for you.
Eagerly pray for the Return of the King
Jesus, the resurrected King is the author and perfecter of our faith is sitting at the right hand of the throne of God. What started in Genesis, leading to Calvary and the resurrection will one day culminate with the return of King Jesus. Our hope is made possible because of the resurrection and finds its fulfillment when Jesus comes back to restore all things.
Many have suffered tremendous loss and heartbreak during this last year. Their lives will never be the same. The world seems more broken and divided at every level. It feels as if we have more questions than answers. Our footing feels shaky as we look to an unclear future. Perhaps this is some of what the disciples were experiencing as their friend and Messiah was being crucified. Their worlds shattered. Hearts broken. The future uncertain. Life would certainly never be the same! But Sunday was coming. Hope was just around the corner.
We celebrate Easter Sunday because “He is Risen” and we long and pray for the day when we can joyfully shout, “He has Returned!” And He makes all things new. What a day that will be! – Happy Easter.