Reflections... Re. Holy week
Some important items concerning Holy Week:
(1)—Thursday is our annual Maundy Thursday dinner and worship event (6pm dinner, 7pm worship). Maundy is derived from the Latin mandare or mandatum, meaning "to command." It refers to the two commandments given by Jesus on the first Maundy Thursday as He shared the Passover meal with His disciples: "Do this in remembrance of me," and "Love one another as I have loved you.”
(2)—Israelites celebrated the feast of Passover annually, and it was the goal of every Israelite to at least once in their life commemorate Passover in the great city of Jerusalem. Passover Pilgrims traveled from the farthest reaches of the Roman Empire for this ancient and significant remembrance. The Passover culminates the story of Moses and the 10 plagues found in Exodus chapters 1-12. The powerful theme of liberation and reversal in these chapters finds its ultimate fulfillment in Jesus Christ’s reversal of death and liberation from sin through His Resurrection.
(3)—Women played key roles (and more enviable ones) in the events of Holy Week. While the male followers of Jesus were mired in misunderstanding, betrayal, denial, fear, and flight, women anointed Jesus at Bethany, uncovered Peter’s pretense and denial, warned Pilate that Jesus was innocent, accompanied Jesus as he carried his cross to the crucifixion, stood loyally by the cross until the end, and were the first witnesses to the risen Christ. This last fact may have been a bit of an embarrassment for the disciples - not out of jealousy, but because women were considered unreliable witnesses in Jewish court, and were not even allowed to testify. In fact, if the Gospel message of Jesus’ Resurrection had been a fabrication, or if the Gospel writings had been altered to any significant degree, women probably would have been removed as the first witnesses, and replaced with more reliable male witnesses. Likewise, the uncertainty and confusion often displayed by the disciples also likely would have been “cleaned up.” So when Luke writes that he has, “carefully investigated everything from the beginning / just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses” (1:1-3), we have good reason to take his account very seriously.
Wishing you a memorable Holy Week,
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