Lenten Devotional 2024 – Holy Week (Group 4)

Designated Readings for Holy Week:

Zechariah 9:9-10

Psalm 31:1-5,9-16

Philippians 2:5-11

Mark 14:1-15:47

Collect (Prayer of the Day):

Almighty God, you sent your son, our Savior Jesus Christ, to take our flesh upon him and to suffer death on the cross. Grant that we share in his obedience to your will and in the glorious victory of his resurrection; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Education by McKenzie Miller:

 Palm Sunday marks the final stretch of Lent and begins Holy Week with Jesus riding into Jerusalem and the events that eventually lead up to Jesus’ crucifixion on Good Friday and Resurrection on Easter Sunday. Palm Sunday is also known as Passion Sunday. Passion, which also means suffering, is the beginning of Holy Week and can be thought of as a way to remember the suffering of Christ on the cross for our sins. For each week there is a Collect and a lectionary reading. A collect is a short general prayer that brings together the prayers of the people and offers up a prayer that reflects the theme of the day or time, and the lectionary is a collection of scripture readings that share a thematic focus.  Through the Collect and the lectionary this week there is a theme of humility, of Christ humbling himself for us. There is also a sense of hope that because of the passion or suffering of Christ we can live eternally with the Father in heaven. 

Encouraging Devotional by Reily Ellis:

Palm Sunday represents the final piece of the Lenten season, and thus it often becomes the most melancholy of an already solemn period. However, despite the somber nature of Jesus’s sacrifice, the climax of Lent represents the ultimate victory of Christianity as a whole. Both the weekly prayer and our Biblical readings instill this fateful day with a more thankful, joyous tone. First, the prophet Zechariah gives his audience the hope of a coming king of Zion, of the holy place. A king “righteous and having salvation… humble and mounted on a donkey”. Psalms 31 then provides a deep dive into the lowly state of humanity, our author cries out” my eye is wasted from grief, my body and soul also. For my life is spent with sorrow, and my years with sighing”. There remains a hope however, a hope found in the strength of God and the safety of his hands. Paul’s letter to the Philippians hits from the opposite angle, showing a God so great, yet still so willing to humble himself, to bleed so that each child of his can continue to smile. This Sunday, when you read through His sacrificial journey, try to hold on to the hope and joy Jesus died for.

Encouraging Devotional by Maddie Keeling:

A major theme we see throughout this week, and in Jesus himself, is a contradiction. This week rehearses the events that lead up to Jesus’ death on the cross, which look from our worldly vantage as the ultimate humiliation. Being crucified was reserved for criminals, and Jesus was to be further humiliated by crucifixion between two ACTUAL criminals. However, where we see a total defeat of the spirit, the bible teaches ultimate victory. Jesus was a walking contradiction from the start of his life up until victory on the cross. Though he was God, he humbled himself in obedience to his father. This can be very confusing for us. After all, how can one rule in complete obedience? What victory can possibly come from death? That question is answered for us in Philippians 2:9 when Paul shows us how “ God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth.” Even the criminals he was killed alongside played a part in this reversal of roles. Though this was meant to lower the son of God to the status of a criminal, it instead allowed the sinful to rise to eternal life alongside him.  Because Jesus humbled himself on the cross for our sins, he won over death. His humility leads us to humble ourselves before God in acknowledgement of our sin, so that through Him, we might also overcome our own deaths as well.

Come Exodus with Us by Matt Faulkner

Holy Week, the week leading up to the crucifixion, is an eventful time in the church calendar. This week is similar to Advent in the sense that all churches, even the ones who do not practice Lent, recognize this time. In such a spiritually important season, one spiritual practice is highlighted, the common practice of prayer. Following the Passover meal, Jesus went up with his disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane where he prayed for the last time before being taken into Roman custody. During this time, Jesus invited his disciples to come and pray with him for another hour, but as we all know, they fell asleep instead. Likewise, Christians today are being called to enter into a season of prayer and reflection during this time of sacrifice and redemption. Finding prayers for Holy Week, however, can be an intimidating task for Christians who are participating in Lent for the first time, such as myself. The themes and reflections listed below can help serve as a guide for you.

Passion Sunday is a day defined by the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem and the fulfillment of the Messianic prophecy found in Zechariah 9:9-10. Our prayers for this day should be defined by celebrating the coming of the King and the Savior of our lives.

Holy Monday is the day when Jesus chased the moneylenders out of the temple. Our prayers should be spent in reflection on where in our own lives we see the temples of the Holy Spirit, ourselves, being defiled and disrespected by our idolatry of material things.

Holy Tuesday is when Jesus gave his last couple of public messages where he alluded to what was to come over the next couple of days. The prayers we pray on this day should be in preparation for the redemption of our sins, and they should reflect our giving up of self in order to submit ourselves to Christ.

Holy Wednesday is the day where we remember how Judas sold out Jesus to the Pharisees. Our prayers need to touch on where we too have betrayed Christ for cheap and temporary things of this world.

Maundy Thursday is the day of the Passover meal between Jesus and his disciples followed by the time of prayer spent in the Garden of Gethsemane. The word “maundy” stems from the latin word “mandātum” which means mandate or command. We should pray for a humility that reflects Christ’s on this day and for the awareness to see where we can follow Jesus’ command to  love one another as he has loved us.

Good Friday is the day of Jesus’s arrest, trial, abandonment, and crucifixion. Our prayers today should honor Christ’s sacrifice for us in spite of our betrayal of him.