Here we are at the beginning of another recognition of Holy Week. This week begins with Palm Sunday and ends with Easter: two joyful bookends that surround some troublesome events. The days between those two Sundays are marred with confusion, conflict and – ultimately – crucifixion.
The confusion begins when Jesus cleanses the temple. Most people seem confused by these actions. Isn’t this “gentle Jesus, meek and mild?” What is He doing upsetting the tables and driving out the moneychangers? Isn’t one of the main tenants of Christianity to say, “Can’t we all just get along?”
I believe that Jesus is acting prophetically in the temple and pronouncing God’s judgment upon that corrupt system. By His words, in saying, “My house shall be a house of prayer, but you have turned it into a den of robbers,” and through His actions, upturning the tables and driving the merchants out, Jesus is pronouncing and enacting judgment upon that system. This is a system which is nearing an end. This method of sacrifice is soon to find its fulfillment and reach its end in Jesus Christ.
Next there is the conflict of that week. Not only that conflict initiated by Jesus in the cleansing of the temple, but more so that received by Jesus in the barbs and taunts of the Scribes, Pharisees and other leaders. Ultimately resulting in the conflict of the arrest, inquiry and beatings of Jesus. And yet, spiritually speaking, all of those things were outward manifestations of the unseen spiritual battle which was waging for the salvation of Mankind. Evidence of that battle is witnessed in Christ at the Garden of Gathesemine.
Finally, the depth of the darkness of Holy Week is found on Friday. At the crucifixion sin and sacrifice meet. Grace sublimates the curse, and forgiveness freely flows from Golgatha’s hill. Jesus’ words, “It is finished!” echo throughout eternity.
Next comes Easter with the blatant question, “Why are you looking for the living among the dead?” Yes. Why, indeed?
May the Spirit of Easter live in and through you all,