We are in the midst of Holy Week, and for all Christian believers this is the most important week of the year as we remember the most important week in human history. This is the week when Jesus fulfilled all of the prophecies and offered his life as a sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. This is the week when we remember that humanity went from proclaiming “Hosanna, come Lord save us” to shouting “Crucify him!” when Jesus would not be the kind of king so many expected both then and now. This is the week which ends in triumph and victory on Easter Sunday with the Resurrection of Christ and the launching of the movement which became known as Christianity.
Years ago there was a television show named “That Was the Week That Was.” The show was a combination news show and commentary on the events of the prior week. It always ended with the quote, “That was the week that was.”
Perhaps that title would be a good title for Holy Week. That week, and this week as we remember it, is the focal point of the Christ event. Everything else about the life of Jesus was preparation for his passion, death, and resurrection. Many scholars have noted that the Gospels are essentially the story of that final week, with a long introduction to help the reader see the importance of Holy Week. That week causes us to deal with Jesus as the Christ, and not just as a teacher, example, good leader, or even a prophet. Holy Week confronts us with the question, “Who is Jesus?” And Holy Week confronts us with Jesus’ own answer that he is God’s Son, the Christ, and the one way to the Father. Some people who call themselves Christians say they believe in Jesus, but Holy Week forces them to answer, “Yes, you believe in Jesus, but do you believe Jesus and what he said about his sacrifice?”
Those who do not believe in Jesus as the Christ still must explain Holy Week, because it was truly the hinge point of human history. For example: even from a totally non-believing, pragmatic perspective, one must try to explain how a bunch of Jews with hundreds of years of Sabbath history as a Friday night to Saturday night experience, and thousands of Sabbath rules, suddenly changed and started worshipping God on Sunday and calling it “the Lord’s day.” Even from a sociological, psychological perspective, it is apparent that SOMETHING HAPPENED, something dramatic, life-changing, history-changing happened to cause those Jews to switch to Sunday worship. What happened? We believe that Easter happened. Those who don’t believe must try to find some other explanation, but no one has ever done so.
That was the week that was, it was the week that changed history, it was the week which caused us literally to date our years from the birth of Christ. That was the week. This is the week. This is Holy Week, as we remember “That Was the Week that Was.”