SUNDAY— Matthew 21: 1-11, Isaiah 50: 6-9a
Look again at the passages we were exploring for the service, both the Isaiah prophecy, and the Triumphal Entry. How does that clash between the image of Suffering Servant and King Triumphant set the stage for what Jesus’ Passion Week brings to mind?
MONDAY— John 12:1-11, Hebrews 9:11-15—
The passage in John depicts part of what was happening leading up to that first Holy Week. The Hebrews passage, written a generation or two later, is reflecting on what Jesus’ death and resurrection had come to MEAN for the budding new community of Christians. How do these two passages together help us understand what “salvation” might mean for confusing times?
TUESDAY— John 12:20-36, 1 Corinthians 1:18-31—
Again, the reading in John depicts events leading to Holy Week, and the Epistle lesson is a window into the early Church’s trying to understand what it all means. Focus on John 12: 24-26 as you are reading through the 1 Cor. 1: 1: 18-25. How do you see the insights from Corinthians helping you understand and apply Jesus’ words in this passage in your life?
WEDNESDAY— John 13:21-32, Hebrews 12:1-3—
When this Hebrews passage about “the Great Cloud of Witnesses” is usually used for encouragement, why do you think the Lectionary (the tool that intentionally selects these passages) would have put these two passages together, when Jesus’ “cloud of witnesses” in the John passage are not so great, and will soon all run away when Jesus needs them most? Yet they DO come back. How does this passage help Jesus perfect our faith?
MAUNDY THURSDAY— John 13:1-17, 31b-35, 1 Corinthians 11:23-26
This John passage includes several main themes—Jesus recognizing that He will be betrayed (yet NOT running away), Jesus washing disciples’ feet, disciples recognizing Jesus as teacher and master, and setting the example, His NEW commandment to love one another. Why do you think the Holy Spirit led this Gospel writer to include all these various facets in this short, but climactic passage?
GOOD FRIDAY— Isaiah 53: 3-9, John 18: 28-19: 8—
This Isaiah passage is often thought of as a key prophecy fulfilled in the trial and crucifixion of Jesus. It cites the Jesus “by a perversion of justice.” We certainly read about a “perversion of justice” in the John passage, and though Pilate repeatedly says he find no wrongdoing in Jesus, Pilate gives in to those who would crucify Jesus out of fear. Reflect on times you have made a mockery of your faith due to fear.
And yet, just as with Judas, with Peter and the others who ran away when Jesus needed them most, Jesus still died for them, and for us, saying “forgive them, for they know not what they do.” This depth of grace is immortalized in a great hymn proclaiming “Amazing love! How can it be? That Thou, my God, would die for me?” How might you put into words what this “amazing love” means to you?
HOLY SATURDAY— Matthew 27:57-66, Psalm 31:1-4, 15-16
Being sealed in a tomb hardly seems a place of victory. Yet it was from this place of darkness that Jesus would come back in victory. This passage in the Psalms, like so many others, ends with an affirmation of faith in God’s steadfast love, even in a place of deep darkness. What can we do in our places of deep darkness, to hold onto the faith and trust of knowing that the darkness is just a precursor to the dawning of God’s Light and Life?