From Palm Sunday through Passion Week (24 Mar 2013)

Most of us would perhaps be familiar with ‘The Passion of the Christ’, a 2004 American drama film directed by Mel Gibson, which by and large depicted the week just prior to the resurrection of Jesus.  Critics had a field day, either giving support or throwing punches as to its accuracy.  What is certain is that the director based his film on the historicity of Jesus’ journey into Jerusalem, thereby paving the way for His own death.  What could have prompted the director in using ‘Passion’ to describe Jesus’ state of mind?

Reading through the gospel writings, we are made aware that what contributed to the death of Jesus included the betrayal of Judas; the jealousy of the Sanhedrin; the ‘people-pleaser’ Pilate; the rowdy Jews (who preferred to have a convicted murderer released), etc.  However, lest we be led to think of our Lord’s death as a result of such unfortunate circumstances, Scripture is clear that it was Jesus Himself who passionately opened Himself to be abused, flogged, spat upon and crucified.  He knew all these to be what He was getting into.  For Jesus said to his disciples in Luke 18:31,32, “. . . , “We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled.  He will be delivered over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him and spit on him; 33 they will flog him and kill him. On the third day he will rise again.”

And so it was that on Palm Sunday (the Sunday before the Resurrection, which this year falls on today 24th March 2013), Jesus rode triumphantly into Jerusalem.[1]  So passionate was Jesus in fulfilling what He set out to do (to die for the sin of the whole world), that the Bible records in Lk. 9:51, As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely (KJV: stedfastly) set out for Jerusalem.’ 

That journey into Jerusalem (on Palm Sunday), began the week commonly described as ‘Passion Week’, which culminated in the resurrection of Jesus.[2]  It is called Passion Week (for this year, beginning today 24th March till next week, 31st March, Easter Sunday) because Jesus passionately, resolutely and steadfastly went through that momentous week.

It is good and appropriate at such a time as this to take stock of our passion (or lack of it for Jesus).  Jesus took us seriously, demonstrating his passionate love for us by willingly being nailed to the cross.  To what degree of resoluteness am I demonstrating my commitment to Him?

Elder Richard Lai

[1] It is called Palm Sunday because Scripture tells us that in fulfillment of Zech 9:9, Mt. 21:7-9 records, 7 They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. 8 A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

[2] Also known as Holy Week.