From Hard to Hallelujah!

Mar 30, 2024 | Writer's Blog | 0 comments

Holy Week is a hard week.

It’s hard to imagine how one of Jesus’ own dear friends, who lived with him for three years, experienced His love and witnessed His miracles, could betray his Teacher.

It’s difficult to join in the processions of Palm Sunday, realizing that many of the same people who joyfully waved palm branches in the air to welcome Jesus into Jerusalem would soon angrily wave their fists in the air and call for His crucifixion.

It’s impossible to comprehend Jesus’ emotional agony in the Garden of Gethsemane where He spent some of His last hours interceding on His disciples’ behalf — and on behalf of all believers who would join their ranks throughout the ages.

And it’s agonizing to remember the terrible ways that He was tortured that week: beaten until He was nearly unrecognizable, forced to carry His own cross to Golgotha, nailed to that very cross, and lifted high for everyone to see His shame and humiliation.

It’s easy to want to turn away from the unbelievable things Jesus endured. It’s hard to face the details of all that He went through on our behalf as He bore the weight of our sin so that we wouldn’t have to. But a remarkable realization occurred to me this year during a careful reading of John’s gospel account of our Lord’s final week.

Although we might turn away, Jesus didn’t! He didn’t shrink back from what awaited Him; He willingly faced it. He surrendered Himself because He knew that the final outcome would be eternal victory over sin and death. For all believers. For all time.

And as the first day of the new week dawned, so did the initial inklings of hope for His devastated followers — hope which soon turned to ecstatic joy.

Mary, Peter, and John first witnessed the miracle of the empty tomb. Jesus’ followers were overjoyed when He appeared to them, breathed on them, and told them to receive the Holy Spirit. And soon, thereafter, they were filled with the Holy Spirit and preached powerfully in Jerusalem, resulting in the salvation of thousands. And the ripple effects of that are still felt to this day.

Yes, Holy Week is a hard week. But then a new week dawns! Because of that empty tomb, we can celebrate Jesus’ resurrection and the eternal victory He has won for us.

He is risen! He is risen indeed!

~ Janet Willig, writer
~ What Our Lord Saw from the Cross by James Tissot, artist

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