Much significance to today, this week
Thursday, April 17, 2014 12:00 AM
Today is Maundy Thursday, a significant day among Christians during what is called Holy Week, a week that is as significant in the life of the Christian Church as Christmas.
This is a time of sadness and reflection. Today is the day Jesus Christ shared the Last Supper with the disciples before His crucifixion, death and burial.
But Holy Week departs from its deep sadness as it relates to the eventual death of the head of the Christian Church and gives cause for the celebration Easter Sunday brings. Christians believe God lived an earthly life through Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who then had to die to bear the sins of the world in order for all who confess their sins and give their lives to Christ to enter the kingdom of Heaven and have everlasting life. And that would not have been possible had Holy Week simply ended with Jesus’ death and entombment.
Had Jesus not gone to the cross and instead saved His own life, Christianity would have ended then and there and Jesus would have been viewed as little more than a great man, a great philosopher and teacher, a person whose life should be modeled.
What makes Jesus stand out among great teachers and philosophers in the world is the story of His resurrection and return to be at the side of God the Father in Heaven. It was not enough that Jesus was born and walked the Earth. It was not enough that he made disciples of regular people who spread his Word and shared His teachings. It was not enough that he bore ridicule and was whipped and beaten on his way to the cross. And it was not enough that he hung on the cross and died. No, for the Christian faith to have survived and thrived, Jesus had to exit the tomb and be seen as having risen from the dead, thus fulfilling prophecy.
Today and throughout Holy Week there will be various activities and celebrations taking place, many of which are purely secular in nature. There will be the cute outfits worn by children, Easter Egg hunts on Saturday. Special meals will be prepared and shared. Just as with Christmas, many non-Christians will join in. They will buy outfits in pastels, participate in Easter activities at schools and day cares and enjoy gathering with family at the dinner table.
The Christian, however, will have a different outlook on Easter and all its trappings. He will look beyond the chocolate eggs and shiny grass adorning brightly colored baskets. He will look beyond the pretty dresses and bright shirts and ties. Most especially beginning this evening, on Maundy Thursday, he will look down in quiet prayer of adoration and supplication. In turn, on Sunday, he will look up in grateful celebration.