Yesterday marked the start of Holy Week, the week of observance in the Church leading up to Easter. I admit that previously Holy Week has been a week that I have “observed” in the loosest sense of the word. I know what it means and its importance to my faith, but I have never really seriously considered its importance. We all know the story of the week that begins with Palm Sunday and Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem. However, when I think about what Jesus goes through from that point on, I am humbled because I know that He did that for me – and for all of us. This week, our Savior will subject himself to ridicule, alienation, derision, loss, separation, hate, scorn, the very worst of human emotions, and finally immeasurable pain. Pain that will include physical pain of scourging, the act of whipping someone with a whip that has multiple tails on it and included material designed to literally tear the victim’s flesh. He will have a thick crown of thorns pressed into his head. He will have large nails hammered through his wrists and ankles. He will be hung on a cross to literally cause him to suffocate as his body cannot bear his own weight. His death will take hours. During this period, his thirst will be “quenched” with vinegar mixed with gall – a bitter substance. I know that I am not alone when I say that if I am thirsty, the bottle of vinegar is not the first thing that I reach for. In other words, my Savior truly and fully suffered for you and for me. I can never repay him for what He did for me. None of us can. However, we can honor his sacrifice by giving this week more than simple lip service. This is not just another week. It certainly was not just another week for Jesus. But, He loves us that much. He loves us enough to put himself through a physical and emotional hell that we cannot even try to fathom. Because of this I hope that you will join me in taking time every day throughout this week to remember what Jesus went through so that we wouldn’t have to pay that price for our sin.
G. Grant Greenwood