Weekly Devotional 032524

A Holy Week Reflection

by Amy Ruiz

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” –John 11:25-26

Since we started Holy Week with Palm Sunday yesterday, I thought we should spend some time thinking ahead to these coming days and especially this coming weekend.

We remember Jesus’ dying on Good Friday, and of course we remember His rising on Resurrection Sunday, but not many people pause on Holy Saturday to remember the waiting or the preparation that happened on Maundy Thursday. However, this pattern—preparation, dying, waiting, and rising—seems to be all around us in nature as well as in our own lives. With that in mind, let’s take a moment to reflect on these concepts as we live out this Holy Week.

First, we will consider what Jesus was doing on what we now call Maundy Thursday. He was washing feet.

Maundy Thursday was a day of preparation. Jesus said that He came to be the servant of all. He washed the disciples’ feet as one of His last acts before His crucifixion. He left no doubt in the minds of His followers that we are to take on His example of humble servanthood. Cleaning stinky, dirty feet was one of the lowliest tasks a person could do. Thus on Maundy Thursday we remember Jesus as the humble servant.

The reality is that throughout the Gospels, Jesus was showing us His way that went contrary to the culture: eating with the “wrong” people; healing on the “wrong” day; serving instead of being served. Jesus shows us how to be humble rather than seekers of power, prestige, fame, or control.⁠

As we go through this week, can we each find ways to “wash the feet” of those around us and display love and humility?⁠

Next we come to Good Friday when we remember Jesus’ death on the cross.⁠

When we focus on what Jesus did for us on the cross, the New Testament uses terms such as “redemption,” “wages,” “price,” “redeem,” “propitiation,” and “ransom.” But what it all comes down to is this: Jesus proved His ultimate and non-negotiable love for us.⁠ On this day we remember that death is cruel and grievous. The disciples didn’t have our hindsight. They only knew that it…was…OVER.⁠

I can get overwhelmed to tears when I think about the agony and more that Jesus went through to have a relationship with me. The fact is that He went as far as death, showing us His willingness to partake in the fullness of the human experience. But as He does with everything else, Jesus turns death on its head and rises from the grave (but we’ll save that for Sunday).⁠

Where in your life right now does it seem like “it’s over”? Let the crucified Christ be with you in that place.

On this Good Friday, take time to reflect on the death before the resurrection.⁠ Take time to soak in the reality of this deepest kind of love.

Holy Saturday is a day often overlooked as most of us spend this day with food prep, dying Easter eggs, and overall preparation for Easter Sunday. However, this is a day for all of us who are waiting for something. Sometimes in life we don’t have the answers, we have no evidence; we simply wait…and hope.

Imagine you are one of Jesus’ disciples. Yesterday you saw Him crucified and buried. This doesn’t make any sense. Your teacher—your friend—is gone. This can’t be right! The grief and loss are despairing, and you ask yourself, “What will I do?”

If you are in deep pain and in a place of waiting through that process, Holy Saturday is the day on the church calendar when you are deeply, lovingly recognized. You are seen by your Heavenly Father, who acknowledges that the loss and waiting are real.

The disciples did not understand about the resurrection that would come the next day. They only knew their grief and loss. However, we are in the here and now. We know how the story concludes and that the resurrection did happen. But for today we will sit in the unknown, the loss, and the confusion.

Let yourself be seen in this place. Give yourself permission to grieve and don’t miss the beauty of the waiting period.

And finally, the day we all look forward to…Resurrection Sunday! Here, I’ll simply share some inspiring Scripture; truths that are now ours because of the resurrection.

“We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” –Romans 6:4

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” –Romans 8:38-39

“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.” –Colossians 3:1-4

We look forward to hearing the words on Easter Sunday: He is risen! He is risen indeed!

Now consider which day of Holy Week resonates with you with the most:

  • Are you in a time of preparation? Are you working toward your goals?
  • Are you in a time of suffering? Is something within you or around you dying?
  • Are you in a season of waiting? In the in-between?
  • Is this a time of resurrection and coming alive?

Wherever you find yourself, remember this: Jesus knows firsthand what it feels like to be in your situation, whether preparing, dying, waiting, or rising.

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