Holy Week thoughts…

By Alex Russon / March 25, 2024

Stonehaven’s churches lead their congregations into Holy Week on Sunday, the annual intro into Easter, the lessons therefore all about ‘the triumphal entry’ with Jesus entering Jerusalem on the back of a colt. He wasn’t just welcomed but heralded, folk spreading their cloaks out on the road before him, fawning in their adoration, lauding him as the chosen messiah. He generated a passion in people who were caught up in enthusiasm, admiration and wonder.

Once in the city, things turned a little less convivial. Jesus seeing a fig tree which yielded no fruit and commanding it to wither and blossom no more. He also overturned tables in the temple when discovering his Father’s house was being used as a venue for money trading and he made vehement enemies of the day’s church rulers. By the end of the week the people wanted him killed, and got their wish. It was a tumultuous few days indeed.

Knowing what we know now about the events of Jesus’ entry to Jerusalem days before he was executed, how do we mark this Holy Week? What’s our attitude towards him here and now, two thousand years later?

First we’re reminded of his sovereignty. In a world of chaos the ultimate ruler walked in and demonstrated his complete authority (withering a tree, driving people from the holy temple, asserting his presence as God’s son). He stamped his authority and wasn’t slow in doing so. Do we acknowledge this or are we like the people of the time, recognising him for a spell but then spurning him? It wouldn’t be unusual, we don’t like authority do we, fighting and opposing it at every turn, despite often having no laudable alternative of our own. But surely when we meet the ultimate ruler of the world we’d be well placed to revere him and bow down, awestruck, rather than mocking and ridiculing him before sending him to a torturous death?

Second, Holy Week evidences to us how God has an absolute attention to detail, he doesn’t miss a thing and wants to be involved in the micro not just the macro. The little things in life are of importance to him as well as the big, yes he created the world but equally he’s interested in every aspect of our individual lives. He notices things, nothing’s beyond his ken or attention. This can be a daunting prospect however, since we may find ourselves convicted and having to prepare for his invasive surgery.

Bad stuff needs removing from our lives; wrong relationships, poor habits, divisive attitudes, whatever it might be. We all have flaws and tendencies which aren’t entirely wholesome. Deny this and we’re surely deluded. Such shortcomings can be minor or major, or both, but regardless, each of us needs a good spring clean of mind, body and soul, unless we’re blinded by our own arrogance. God gives us that.

Such Spring cleaning is performed by God only when we swallow our pride and open ourselves up to him. Perhaps this Easter season is the first time, or hundredth time, it doesn’t matter given every day is a new day, that we get on our knees and seek his forgiveness and direction. He knows what’s best for us, what needs eradicating from our lives and what needs inserting, but he can only act when we’re in communication with him. Like a frightened child needing help from a parent, we can’t be helped until making our discomfort known to our loving God. He loves us and wants the best for us, we just need to reach out.

His remedial work can be abrupt, stark and painful, but God only corrects us for our own benefit. Sometimes we need urgent surgery, just as a beautiful flower bed can only reveal its full glory when the weeds have been pulled out and destroyed.

Palm Sunday is the pre-cursor to the Easter story . Maybe during this Holy Week we can all examine our relationship, or otherwise, with this man Jesus? We can choose to accept or deny him, but choose we must.

Mark 11 NIV – Jesus Comes to Jerusalem as King – As – Bible Gateway