We praise God that are able once again together with Christians everywhere to celebrate and commemorate the Holy Week of Easter and we who live in Israel are conscious of the privilege we have to be able to do so in Jerusalem, the city of God, where all the momentous and life changing events of the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus, the Messiah took place.
The Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday, which this year falls on March 25, 2018, and we can join multitudes of Christians from around the world to walk in the Palm Sunday procession singing praises and waving palm fronds just as it was 2000 years ago when Jesus made his triumphal entrance into the city of Jerusalem riding on a colt, the foal of a donkey. We can follow in his steps down the “Palm Sunday Road” from the Mount of Olives into the Old City of Jerusalem.
Maundy Thursday marks especially the event when Jesus humbled himself and took upon himself the task of the lowest servant by washing the feet of the disciples saying to them, “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.” (John 13:14). The Garden of Gethsemane is the place where Christ prayed the night of his betrayal (Mark 14:32-50) and in the Church of All Nations, also known as the Church of the Agony there is a section of bedrock where Jesus is believed to have prayed before his arrest. In the garden there are some very old Olive Trees some of which are believed to have been there 2000 years ago.
Good Friday gives you the opportunity to walk along the Via Dolorosa, stopping at the 14 Stations of the Cross, 5 of which are within the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The Via Dolorosa is believed to be the route Jesus had to take from the Place of Judgement before Pontius Pilate to the place of his crucifixion at Golgotha. A procession takes place every Friday at 3pm starting from the Church of the Flagellation to the Holy Sepulchre.
On Resurrection Sunday, pilgrims and visitors have the opportunity to start the day with an English sunrise service at the Garden Tomb, the site outside the walls of the city which many believe is the actual place of his burial and resurrection. On the door of the tomb it is written “He is not here, for he is risen”. Whichever maybe the actual site, whether the Holy Sepulchre or the Garden Tomb is not so important. Important is that he died so that we might be redeemed and that he rose again on the 3rd day and now sits at the right hand of God making intercession for us. He is alive and is coming back to take us to be where he is. Hallelujah!
Wherever you are, we hope you will take part in celebrating the wonder of God’s love and Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection!
He is Risen!