It’s Holy Week
Holy Week (sometimes also known as Passion Week) is the time from Palm Sunday through to Easter Sunday (Resurrection Sunday). It is the week during which Christians particularly remember the last week of Jesus’ life. It’s sometimes called the Passion Week because of the passion with which Jesus allowed Judas to betray Him, knowing that it would ultimately lead to Him dying for our sins. Holy Week is described in the below chapters and begins with the ‘triumphal entry’ on Palm Sunday on the back of a donkey as prophesied in Zechariah 9:9:
So what significance do each of the days have in Holy Week?
Palm Sunday is the day we celebrate the ‘triumphal entry’ of Jesus into Jerusalem, one week before His resurrection (Matthew 21:1–11)
Holy Monday is the last Monday before Easter Sunday; some denominations celebrate it, while others do not. The Eastern Orthodox Church observes the day, typically marking it with Bible readings and certain hymns.
According to tradition, Holy Monday is the day following Palm Sunday, when Jesus came to Jerusalem, on which Jesus cleansed the temple, was praised by local children, and cursed the fig tree (Matthew 21:12–22).
Holy Tuesday is the last Tuesday before Easter Sunday and is the third day of Holy Week. Some denominations celebrate it, while others do not. The Eastern Orthodox Church observes the day, typically marking it with readings of particular passages of Scriptures and the singing of relevant hymns.
It’s when Jesus was issued various challenges by the Pharisees and Sadducees over subjects such as marriage in Heaven, paying taxes to Caesar, and the source of His authority (Matthew 21:23—23:39; Mark 11:27—12:44; Luke 20:1—21:4). By this same interpretation, this is also the day Jesus commented on the widow’s donation (Mark 12; Luke 21) and was approached by a number of God-fearing Greeks (John 12:20–36). Holy Tuesday would also be the day Jesus spoke His seven “woes” against the Pharisees (Matthew 23:13–36) and the evening where He delivered the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24—25; Mark 13; Luke 21:5–36).
Holy / Spy Wednesday
Holy Wednesday or Spy Wednesday is the last Wednesday before Easter Sunday and is the fourth day of Holy Week. Some denominations celebrate it, while others do not. The Eastern Orthodox Church observes the day, typically marking it with readings of Scripture and the singing of relevant hymns.
The day is sometimes called “Spy Wednesday” since it is traditionally thought of as the day Judas conspired with local authorities to betray Jesus (Matthew 26:14–16).
Maundy Thursday, also known as ‘Holy Thursday’, is the Thursday of Holy Week, the day before Good Friday. Two important events are the focus of Maundy Thursday:
- Jesus celebrated the Last Supper with His disciples and this is where we get the idea of the Lord’s Supper, which we call Communion (Luke 22:19-20). Some Christian churches observe a special Communion service on Maundy Thursday in memory of Jesus’ Last Supper with His disciples.
- Jesus washed the disciples’ feet as an act of humility and service, setting an example that we should love and serve one another in humility (John 13:3-17). Some Christian churches observe a foot-washing ceremony on Maundy Thursday to commemorate Jesus’ washing the feet of the disciples.
Good Friday, also known as “Holy Friday,” is the Friday before Easter Sunday. It is celebrated traditionally as the day that Jesus was crucified. Many Christian churches celebrate Good Friday with a more sombre service, in which Christ’s death is remembered with solemn hymns, prayers of thanksgiving, a message centred on Christ’s suffering for our sins, and the observance of the Lord’s Supper.
Why is Good Friday referred to as ‘good’? What Jesus went through at the time, was definitely not good, however, the results of Christ’s death are very good:
“But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”Romans 5:8
Whether or not Christians choose to ‘celebrate’ Good Friday, the events of that day should always be on our minds because the death of Christ on the cross is arguably the most important event of the Christian faith.
Holy Saturday is the name given to the day between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Some Christians recognise Holy Saturday, the seventh day of Holy Week, as the day on which Jesus ‘rested’ from His work of providing salvation. As Jesus died, He called out, “It is finished!”; there was no further price to pay; sin had been atoned for.
After His crucifixion, Jesus was laid in a nearby tomb, and His body remained there for the whole of Holy Saturday (Matthew 27:59-60; Mark 15:46; Luke 23:53-54; John 19:39-42). Churches that celebrate Holy Saturday traditionally do so by observing a day of sombre reflection as they contemplate the world of darkness that would exist without the hope of Christ’s resurrection.
The only biblical reference to what happened on Holy Saturday is found in Matthew 27:62-66. After sundown on Friday, the chief priests and Pharisees visited Pontius Pilate. They asked Pilate for a guard for Jesus’ tomb. They remembered Jesus saying that He would rise again in three days (John 2:19-21) and wanted to do everything they could to prevent that. As we know, the Roman guards were inadequate to prevent the resurrection, and the women who returned to the tomb on Sunday morning, found it empty – the Lord had risen!
The day Jesus resurrected from the dead, as it was written and saved us all from our sins!
“…He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.'”Luke 24:6-7
Though I was raised Christian and therefore have celebrated Easter every year for over 30 years, I had never really taken into account all of the things that happened between Palm Sunday and Maundy Thursday so it’s been great to go through each day and read the relevant passages. It really hits home just how willingly Jesus went to His death so He could essentially save each and every one of us from ourselves. It blows my mind and makes me that much prouder of my faith: one of pure and genuine love. For that was Jesus’ most important, and ‘new’ commandment (John 13:34-35).
For all our Easter events and activities, check our our Easter page. We hope to see you at one, or all of these services/events and pray you have a blessed Easter weekend with your loved ones!