This weekend, the church marks Palm Sunday, the day we remember Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, when we traditionally begin our commemoration of the final week of Jesus’ earthly ministry and life.
Unless your church tradition is one that has services every day during Holy Week, it’s likely that you’re not hearing many of the accounts of the activities that took place during that week. Of course, you may be reading these gospel accounts at home, which is great! But there is much that happened during that final week of Jesus’ life between the waving of palms and the hammering of nails.
In Matthew, Mark and Luke, we read that Jesus cleared the temple, told many parables, taught about judgment, and was anointed for his death – all before the last supper. In the Gospel of John, the order is presented a little differently, since he had a different original audience. The clearing of the temple happens early in John’s Gospel, and much occurs between the triumphal entry and Jesus’ betrayal, including not the last supper, but the washing of the disciples’ feet.
Even between Jesus’ betrayal and death, there are accounts worth reading that may or may not be heard in church. So let me encourage you, this coming week, to carve out time to read the last half of one of the Gospel narratives. Don’t make it just another thing to do, though; take your time with it. Spread it out over the course of the week. Read the parts that happen after the crucifixion but before the resurrection on Saturday, before Easter.
Let the Word wash over you like the jar of expensive perfume that was poured over Jesus’ head while he ate in the home of Simon in Bethany. As Jesus said, “She has poured this perfume on me to prepare my body for burial. I tell you the truth, wherever the Good News is preached throughout the world, this woman’s deed will be remembered and discussed” (Matthew 26.12-13, NLT).
Perhaps this act will quicken your heart for the joy of the resurrection on Easter Sunday. Let the Word wash over you.