Monday began what we commonly call “Holy Week.” This is the week when Christians all over the world remember the final days of Jesus’ life and his crucifixion, and it culminates in that most wonderful day of the Christian year, Easter Sunday, when we celebrate the truth of the resurrection of our Lord and savior.
Think about the roller-coaster ride that the disciples took in this final week. On Sunday, they were with Jesus as he entered the city of Jerusalem to great pomp and fanfare. People laid down palm branches and their coats as a sort of “red carpet” for the Lord as they cried out “Hosanna” and praises to God. It was a wonderful day for the disciples as they watched others honor their great teacher.
But then on Monday morning, Jesus went to the temple. At first, they would not have been troubled by that, but Jesus made it a troubling experiencing. He saw the commotion in the temple on that day, and he chose to make a scene. He declared that his father’s house was not to be a den of thieves, but a house of prayer, and he made a whip and drove out those who were cheating the people. He overturned their tables. Quite frankly, the disciples were not ready for that.
By Thursday night, things had settled down, and they prepared to share the Passover meal with Jesus. But the words that he spoke were more somber than they were expecting. They came to realize that he was truly preparing them for his own departure, and they did not like it. Later that same evening they spent time in prayer, and those closest to him realized that he was in the deepest agony they had ever seen. They realized that he was doing battle with the very forces of evil as he prayed that night.
Soon after the prayer time, Jesus was arrested, and by the next day he was on trial. One thing piled up on the next, and before they knew it their teacher, their master, their friend was hanging from a cross. It only would be a few hours before he would be dead.
And that day has become known as Good Friday to us. I doubt Peter thought of it in that way. And the next day was Dark Saturday. Jesus was dead, and they did not know what to do. They did not know where to go. The roller coaster of the week had come to a crashing wreck. It was more than they could take.
But we know the story does not end there. Easter Sunday was coming. We’ll share about that next week. But the greatest news in human history was declared that day when the angel said, “He is not here. He is risen, just as he said.” And the world has never been the same! Praise the Lord! He is risen indeed!