by Pastor Mike Lueken
Holy Week is so called because the events that occurred have cosmic implications that have emphatically altered the course of history. For starters, it was the last week of Jesus’ earthy life. On Sunday, He rode into Jerusalem to the cheers and adoration of the crowd. His stay in Jerusalem began by clearing out the Temple. Each day, He went and taught on the kingdom in the Temple courts. He confronted the religious power brokers. On Thursday, He shared the last supper with His followers in the upper room. Late Thursday night, He was arrested. On Friday, He was tried and sentenced to die a criminal’s death. The sentence was carried out Friday afternoon. He was placed in a new tomb. And then on Sunday, the tomb was empty for the King had arisen! It started with the crowd cheering for Jesus the King. “Hosanna in the highest.” It ended with Jesus the King conquering death. “Hosanna in the highest.” It was a holy week indeed.
As we approach Holy Week 2011, we face the same temptation followers of Jesus have faced for two thousand years. The Sunday crowd that lined the streets leading into Jerusalem, who waved palm branches and cheered for Jesus, were, by and large, fans of His. They admired His teaching. They found Him unique. Perhaps they were intrigued by the fascinating way He put things. But many of those same people stood outside Pilate’s palace a few days later and shouted, “Crucify Him!” On Sunday they were fans, but by Friday, for a variety of reasons, they had become enemies. But they weren’t His followers.
There is a vast difference between admiring and following. Admirers, or fans, are detached from that which they admire. It has no real claim on them. Their admiration does not bind them in any sustaining way. Their loyalty can change in the course of a few days. But followers are invested in what they follow. They seek to become more like the thing or person they follow. They are students who are diligently working to become like their teacher.
Followers, then, fully enter into the Holy Week experience because it is what their teacher did. They walk “with Him” from the anticipation of Palm Sunday, to the betrayal of Maundy Thursday to the agony of Good Friday to the celebration of Easter Sunday.
We have many opportunities at Oak Hills this week (beginning April 18) to be with Jesus on His unforgettable journey: (1) walk through our Art Gallery in the lobby entitled “Way of the Cross,” (2) join us for a guided prayer time Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday at 7:30am in the Prayer Room (M-208), (3) participate in our Maundy Thursday 7pm service, (4) our Good Friday noon service, and then, (5) celebrate with us on Easter Sunday!
I invite you to seize the opportunity of this Holy Week to spend ample and unhurried time with our Savior on His history-changing journey.