Holy Week, more specifically the time from Good Friday through Easter Sunday, is such a rich time for Christians everywhere.
If you are anything like me, it can be easy to have one of two attitudes about it. You may have a “Holy Week Hangover”—meaning, you’re so tired from really celebrating all of Holy Week activities that it becomes hard to navigate how you feel or even how you should feel.
Or, maybe you’re part of the “Yep…Easter again” crowd—meaning, you already know that Jesus died for your sins and rose again. I mean, come on, you’ve celebrated Jesus’ resurrection every year…but now its over, so back to business as usual.
Here is one thing we all know for sure—we cannot downplay, or worse yet, ignore what these events mean for us today. These events are good news for us. We really should live in light of what happened on these days so many years ago. We celebrate the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus —this makes up what we call the Gospel. Paul says plainly in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4:
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. – 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 ESV
Even though its easy for us to get lost in the vast range of emotions and in the many implications of these great realities, we have to do something with them during Holy Week and all year round really. Personally, I love going to other scriptures and letting the truth dictate my emotions and guide my actions.
Let’s walk through these three main parts of the Gospel:
The first part we need to consider is the life that Jesus lived. The first part of the passage mentioned above says that “Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures.” What does “in accordance with the Scriptures” really mean? It means that He came and did what He was supposed to do—live a sinless life that we never could live!
God sent His Son to us in a very incarnational way. Jesus came down to us and lived like us. He is our prime example of missional life-on-life ministry. While He was on Earth He healed the sick and restored the broken. He sat with sinners and listened to the outcasts and the religious elite alike. He ate and drank quite a bit with all of those folks too (Luke 7:34). You see, He was bringing on the Kingdom. Remarkably, He was doing all of that to show us what a perfect sinless life was like.
God wanted a righteous people for Himself, so He sent Jesus—not only to be our example, but an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. – 2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV
What does this mean for us?
It means we need to understand that the substitutionary death and sacrifice of Jesus was possible because of His sinless life. We will not be sinless before we die or Christ returns, but we do have a call to live Holy lives through the power of the Holy Spirit. In John 14 Jesus even says it is better for Him to leave, and that we will do greater things than He did with the Holy Spirit’s power!
In the second part of that 1 Corinthians 15 passage, it says that “He was buried.” This is important because we need to know that Jesus really died. Someone had to. More specifically, someone righteous. Also, why did Jesus willingly lay down His life? It seems as though Jesus endured the cross for the joy that was set before him. That joy was pure obedience to the Fathers will—the Father’s will is that many be saved! Jesus knew that He was sent to seek and save the lost. He knew that everything He was doing was for the glory of God, and for our good.
…looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. – Hebrews 12:2 ESV
What does this mean for us?
This means we need to put to death our sin. We need to quit fooling around with it. We have to kill it and live the life that Jesus died for us to live. Honestly, it should be easy knowing that we never have to taste the sting of death. That’s right, though we will physically die, when we take our last breath, we will be with our Savior forever. Death does not have the final say. This remarkable sacrifice by Jesus means that we should also fearlessly lay down our lives for others so they can know Jesus. We may not ever take a bullet for someone but it is certainly possible to spend your life serving others instead of yourself.
The third part of the passage says, “He was raised on the third day, in accordance with the Scriptures.” Not only did Jesus rise, showing power over death–He did it in accordance with the Scriptures—by the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus made a way for all mankind to be made alive again and filled with that same power that raised Him from the dead.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. – 1 Peter 1:3 ESV
What does this mean for us?
This means that we are no longer dead in our sin—we can be born again to a living hope. We have the power of the Holy Spirit in us to do the good work that He has called us to. We can actually live a life worthy of the calling to which we’ve been called, and He has given us everything we need to do it (2 Peter 1:3).
I hope this was as helpful for you to read as it was for me to study and dissect. Our desire as Christians should be to live a life fully surrendered to the realities of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. This is our only reasonable response. It is our spiritual act of worship.
Friends, thanks for reading. Feel free to comment with any insight or wisdom that you have!
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