As we journey through this year’s Holy Week, with our eyes looking toward Easter, our time takes us through a week of mixed emotions. We see the events of what happened in those few days through a 2000-plus-year lens. We know that Sunday is coming. But each year, we are invited to relive the days that forever transformed what it means to be in relationship with our Lord.
Throughout the Old Testament, God declared how precious we are and how much He loves us. After the flood, God came to Noah and showed him a rainbow, to remind all of us of God’s presence in our world and in our lives (Genesis 9: 12-17). When the descendants of Abraham were released from slavery and began their exodus from Egypt, God, who had visited 10 plagues upon the Egyptians, opened a way through the water to lead the children of Abraham to freedom (Exodus 14: 21-22).
During the time of Jeremiah, as the Israelites were exiled from their homeland, the prophet offered hope in the midst of despair. God continued to renew the covenant He made with our ancestors. In Jeremiah 31: 31-34, the Lord promises to write the new covenant upon each of our hearts. Time and again, our Lord reached out to us in new ways to help us know what it meant and what it means to be in a covenantal relationship with our Creator.
In each of the 4 Gospels, as Jesus is celebrating the Passover meal with the disciples, remembering how God saved those in Egypt from slavery, he made with them a new covenant (Luke 22: 14-20), an everlasting covenant for our salvation. As we know, on that night, what began as a time of joy and celebration quickly turned into an unjust trial, which led to our Savior’s suffering and death on the cross.
The Seven Last Words of our Lord and Savior, from the cross, magnify and affirm how much our Lord loved and loves us. Jesus asks God to forgive us because we don’t know what we’re doing (Luke 23:34), He blesses a thief (Luke 23:43), seeks care for His mother (John 19:26-27), cries out in anguish to our Lord (Matthew 27: 46), expresses a very human need for water (John 19:28), and pronounces that God’s mission for the world is accomplished (John 19:30 and Luke 23:46).
But that was not the end. On Easter morning, when the women discovered that the tomb of our Lord and Savior was empty, the words that Jesus spoke during the Passover meal became the foundation of the new covenant we remember each time we break bread and drink from the cup. May we rejoice in the meaning of the empty tomb as once again, we offer our humble thanks for God’s everlasting love and grace. He Is Risen, He Is Risen, Indeed!
I share this song with you as you journey through Holy Week. And Amen.