O Death, Where is Your Sting?
At one of our restaurants here in Bainbridge there is a very lovely lady who always asks me about this column. She is gracious in her compliments and asks, “What are you writing about this week?”
I told her that this particular week takes care of the subject. It’s Holy Week and there is no other subject that is as appropriate as the amazingly lovely, true story of our Lord’s resurrection. Easter Sunday is the climax of the most significant week in world history.
There was a post on Facebook that caught my eye a week ago. It was a rectangular box with four symbols and a short phrase written underneath.
The first symbol was that of a palm frond, a branch to remind us of this past Sunday, Palm Sunday. Palm Sunday began this Holy Week and, as you know, was the unique day when Jesus allowed the crowd to proclaim Him as the messianic King of Israel.
I say it is unique because up until that moment Jesus had intentionally hidden His identity as the One who was to come. As referenced in Zechariah, He came riding “on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” It was, as if, Jesus was giving the crowd what they wanted, except He wasn’t.
They wanted a conquering heroic figure to take them out their misery of living under the thumb of Roman rule. Instead, our Lord was entering the holy city to conquer a much greater enemy…death!
The next symbol was a crown of thorns. The Son of God deserved a crown of earth’s most beautiful and valuable jewels, but instead received a crown of suffering. Between Palm Sunday and the miraculous Easter Sunday, the Savior would enjoy one last supper with His disciples.
Then, he would walk to a Beautiful Garden of Prayer where He would ask His Father, as he sweated drops of blood, if there might be another way? The answer was an unspoken “No,” and then Jesus said, “Not my will, but thine.”
The betrayer would kiss Him on the cheek and Jesus would be taken away for a mock trial, a scourging, and a sentence of death. He Never Said a Mumblin’ Word.
The third symbol in the box was an Old Rugged Cross. There, the innocent and sinless Son of God would die for the sin of the world, yours and mine.
This happened on the day of the Jewish Passover. It’s impossible to know just how many lambs were slain before the altar of the Temple. Estimations range as high as 20,000 or more. Imagine the blood and gore of all that carnage and the irony that “On a hill far away,” a hill called Mount Calvary, the lamb that truly takes away the sin of the world was slain.
There’s another irony; the day of the crucifixion of our Lord became known as Good Friday. What could be “good” about the day our Savior died, except for the truth that without a crucifixion, there could not have been a resurrection?
The final of the four symbols was an empty tomb. We read in Matthew 8 that the ‘Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” Neither did he have a tomb in which to be buried. It was borrowed from Joseph of Arimathea, but Jesus didn’t need a tomb, He wouldn’t be there long.
I mentioned that there was a short phrase written underneath the four symbols. Written were these words, “A lot can happen in seven days.” There have been some important weeks in history, but there will never be a more significant week in all of history than the week we celebrate this week. Happy Easter, friends!