I don’t want to waste Holy Week. I don’t want this particular Sunday to Sunday to pass without any special consideration of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. I don’t want to rush past the significance of the, both, the little and big details recorded by the Gospel writers. I don’t want to waste Holy Week. And maybe you’re like me. Below are four things I’m doing to make the most out of this week.
Have a Clear ‘Why’
If your ‘why’ for not wasting Holy Week amounts to, “I think I’m supposed to do special stuff this week” then this week will be a drag. What’s an alternative ‘why’? Paul says that the most important part of His Apostolic message he passed on to the Corinthians was, “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 Cor. 15:3-4) All of the Christian life (our growth in holiness, our evangelism, everything!) hinges on Holy Week. More specifically, hinges on Holy Week being formed in us. If I am going to live the life Jesus has for me, I also must join Him in his death (Rom. 6:5). And if I’m going to join Jesus in His death, I need to be buoyed by the promise of eternal resurrection glory (2 Cor. 4:17).
The ‘why’ of Holy Week is transformation. But you and I both know, there are a lot of hucksters selling transformation these days. Transformation by diet. Transformation by accumulating stuff. Transformation by good deeds. These modes and means all seem very logical and agreeable to us. And that is precisely why we need to sit under and learn from the illogical and disagreeable cross, what Paul called, “a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles” (1 Cor. 1:23). The Christian life is inescapably cruciform, or cross-shaped. Any attempt to know the life of Easter Sunday without the death of Good Friday, will ultimately fail.
Meet with Him
Our ‘why’ established, how should we now go about doing this process of Holy Week transformation? Let me begin by stating the obvious, if we want to learn with Jesus, we need to spend time with Jesus. Let’s push pause. If you grew up in the church you likely heard what I just wrote as, “Wake up early, grab your Bible, read it, and then pray.” Now, there is nothing wrong with meeting Jesus in this way. Not at all. My wife finds a time of sitting, reading, and praying to be very fruitful. The problem is that not all of us are wired the same. Frustrated by my devotional life lately, on Monday morning I went to the local high school and walked around the track, praying and listening to worship music the whole way. And it was amazing! I even took time to pray with a friend over the phone. I’m planning on walking through (get it?) a book of the Bible tomorrow.
My point is this: we all need to engage in spiritual disciplines that challenge us in ways we are not inherently wired. It’s good for extroverts to experience silence and solitude. If we don’t, we begin to look, spiritually, like that guy at the gym who loves chest day but always skips leg day. But we should not be afraid to encounter the living God in the way He has designed us. Below is a list of Holy Week texts to speak into your time with God this week; whatever that looks like:
Monday – Matthew 21:12-27
Tuesday – John 12:20-33
Wednesday – Mark 14:1-11
Thursday – Luke 22:7-23
Friday – Luke 22:47-23:49
Saturday – Matthew 27:57-66
Fast from Other Voices
Realistically, if we are to have “ears to hear” this Holy Week, we will likely need to intentionally stop up our ears to other voices for a season. I’m not advocating ‘blissful ignorance’ for as long as Coronavirus continues to be a thing. Instead, think of this week as a time of intense re-storying. Where you and I hit the ‘re-set’ button on what we believe to be fundamentally true about God, ourselves, and the world. For me, this will look like abstaining from mindless YouTube videos.
We have an opportunity to encounter our loving Father in a transforming way this week. Let’s not waste it. Instead, let us, weak and feeble as we are, “with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Heb. 4:16)