Holy Week in the Christian calendar is the week before Easter or Christ’s resurrection. It begins on Palm Sunday, which commemorates the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem and follows the final week of His life leading up to His crucifixion and death during Passover, and burial during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. His death was predicted and foretold, plotted by man, planned by God, and fulfilled prophecy (John 11:49-53; Matthew 26:52-54; John 8:59; John 19:24, 28-30, 36-37; Acts 2:22-24; 1 Corinthians 2:6-8).
The final week of Jesus’ journey on earth was coming to an end. He and His disciples were going to Jerusalem for Passover. He stopped in Bethany first, at the house of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, where He had raised Lazarus from the dead. The next day when He came into Jerusalem, a great multitude took branches of palm trees and met Him declaring, “Hosanna, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.’” Later in the week, He would hear the words “Crucify Him, Crucify Him”! He had told His disciples about His suffering and His death on the cross for some time before those events happened, but they just didn’t understand (John 12:27-33; Matthew 16:21; 20:17-19; John 13:7, 19; John 2:22). He shared the Passover meal with them (Luke 22:14-20) and had a farewell discussion (John 13 – 17).
God instituted the Passover when He brought the children of Israel out from Pharaoh and the bondage of Egypt. They were to kill a male lamb without blemish, put some of the blood on the two doorposts and lintel of their houses, roast it in the fire, and eat it in haste, ready to leave. The blood was a sign for them on the houses so that when the Lord sees the blood, He will pass over them, and the plague will not be on them to destroy them when He strikes the land of Egypt (Exodus 12:1 – 14). It represented the work of the cross as a type and foreshadowed Jesus Christ. Jesus is the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29), slain before the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8), and put to death during Passover when He shed His blood on the cross (Matthew 26:2, 26-29; 1 Corinthians 5:7).
What are the benefits of the cross? What does the sacrifice, death, and burial of Jesus mean? God’s love sent Jesus to the cross. God sent Jesus to die for our sins and for all humanity to reconcile and redeem us to Himself. He created us, loves us (Romans 5:8), and wants to have our relationship and fellowship with Him restored (John 3:16; Romans 5:7-8; 2 Corinthians 5:18-19; Ephesians 2:16; Colossians 1:20). He is a Holy God, and we can’t be in a relationship with Him because our sin separates us from God ( Romans 3:23; 5:12; Isaiah 59:2). The penalty for sin is death (Romans 6:23). Jesus came to save us from our sins and bring salvation (Matthew 1:21; Luke 2:30; 19:10; Acts 4:12; Titus 2:11). He paid the price or penalty for our sins as a sinless, substitutionary sacrifice. The sacrifices of bulls and goats performed under the law could not take away sins (Hebrews 10:1-4) but only Jesus Christ, who died once and for all (Hebrews 10:5-10).
Jesus Christ is the only answer to this problem of separation from God (John 3:3-8; 14:6; Ephesians 1:13). He fulfilled God’s righteous requirement on the cross because He was sinless. He did no sin but became sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:15; 1 John 3:5; 1 Peter 1:18-19). God’s justice was satisfied because Jesus took all the righteous vengeance of God’s wrath for the punishment of our sin on Himself at the cross (Isaiah 53:4-12). He died the death we deserved and shed His blood for us to give us right standing with God. The remission or cancellation of our sins requires the shedding of blood (Hebrews 9:22). Jesus fulfilled the Old Covenant (John 19:30), There is a new blood covenant with God through Jesus that is forever (Hebrews 8:7-13; 9:12-15). Only the forgiveness purchased at the cross can heal and restore us to God so that we can have fellowship with Him. Jesus came to give His life a ransom for many. No one took His life from Him, but He freely gave His life for us (Matthew 20:28; John 19:10-11, 30).
Crucifixion is a gruesome way to die. Jesus was not only crucified (Mark 15), where His hands and feet were pierced with nails to hang on the cross (John 19:18; Psalm 22:16), but He sweat great drops of blood in the anguish of soul while praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, He took stripes upon His body (John 19:1; 1 Peter 2:24) and wore a crown of thorns (John 19:2). He shed His blood from His head to His feet. He became a curse for us (Galatians 3:13) and took upon Himself, our sin and shame, sickness and disease, and poverty and lack.
He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely He has borne our griefs (sicknesses) and carried our sorrows (pains); yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions; He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes, we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, everyone, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. Isaiah 53:3 – 6 (NKJV)
The blood of Jesus accomplishes the following benefits of salvation, i.e., the forgiveness of sins and healing (Hebrews 9:22; Isaiah 53:5; 1 Peter 2:24). It cleanses our conscience (Hebrews 9:14); redeems us (the action of saving); delivers us from the power of darkness, and conveys us into God’s kingdom (Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:13, 14). We are justified (made righteous), just as if we had never sinned (Isaiah 1:18; 43:25; Psalm 103:12; Hebrews 8:12), and we have His righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21). We are sanctified or set apart for God to walk with Him (John 17:15-18); have peace with God (Colossians 1:20); and access to His throne (Hebrews 4:16; 10:19).
The veil in the temple separated the Holy place from the Most Holy place and the Ark of the Testimony and the Mercy seat. (Exodus 26:31-33). Only one priest could enter the Most Holy place once each year after fulfilling specific requirements to minister before the LORD. We can approach God through Jesus Christ, who has given us access through His death and resurrection (Hebrews 4:16). The veil in the temple was torn in two from the top-down, signifying this access (Matthew 27:50-53; Luke 23:44-45).
The cross of Christ answers every problem we have. There is power in the blood of Jesus which provides everything we need to live a life of victory, i.e., redemption (Ephesians 1:7); fellowship with God (Hebrews 10:19); healing (Isaiah 53:4, 5); protection (Exodus 12:13); and authority over the devil. We are overcomers by the shed blood of the lamb (Revelation 12:11). It has the power to save, redeem, heal, protect, continually cleanse us, and and give us His favor. Every time we release His blood over our lives, we experience His love and His victory!
“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so, must the Son of man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved. John 3:14 – 17 (NKJV)
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1:18 (NKJV)
But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God – and righteousness and sanctification and redemption – that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the LORD.” 1 Corinthians 1:27 – 31 (NKJV)
After His death, His body was taken down from the cross, wrapped in linen, and placed in a rich man’s tomb, where no one had ever lain before. His burial followed neither the Jewish or Roman customs but was a fulfillment of prophecy (Isaiah 53:9; Matthew 27:57 – 66; Luke 23:50-56; John 19:38-42). Christianity is based on a buried and resurrected Lord!
How do we receive the benefits of His death on the cross and apply them to our lives? First, we accept these benefits by asking Jesus to be our Savior and Lord (Titus 2:12). Everything we receive from God comes from His grace by faith (Ephesians 2:8-9). The Bible says that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved and that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved (Romans 10:9 -10, 13). If you confess your sins, He is faithful and just to forgive you and cleanse you from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).
If you have never asked Jesus to forgive your sins and to be your Savior, you can do that right now. You can experience God’s love, peace, and reconciliation by the blood of Jesus and have a personal relationship with Him. Pray this suggested prayer out loud right now. You can also pray in your own words. Remember, it is not words or prayer alone that will save you. Prayer is a way to reach out to the Lord and must be done in faith (completely trusting in Him to save you). Christ will save you if you pray these or similar words in faith.
Your Word says that whoever calls on the Name of the Lord shall be saved. I ask You to forgive me for my sins. I want to turn from them and turn to You. I am calling on You and ask Jesus to come into my heart and be Lord over my life. I believe that Jesus died on the cross and shed His blood for me. I believe in my heart that You raised Him from the dead, and He is alive today. Thank you for forgiving my sins and giving me the Holy Spirit to live inside of me. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit and Your healing power in my life. I now belong to You. Help me to live for You and obey You all the days of my life.
In the name of Jesus, Amen.
If you prayed the prayer for salvation in faith, you are now a child of God and are in His family (John 1:12). Go to my website and check out some steps on how to grow in your relationship with Him! https://alexiscarucci.com/welcome-to-gods-family/
Next, we are to put off the old man and put on the new man in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 4:22-24). We have died to sin and made alive in Christ. We are to live for Christ (Luke 9:23-24; Philippians 1:21)!
And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Colossians 2:12 – 14 (NKJV)
“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20 (NKJV)
But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. Galatians 6:14 (NKJV)
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author, and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin. Hebrews 12:1 – 4 (NKJV)
Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been free from sin. Likewise, you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:6-7, 11 (NKJV)
This is a faithful saying: for if we died with Him, we shall also live with Him. 2Timothy 2:11 (NKJV)
His death would be meaningless without His resurrection. Our faith would be futile, and we would still be in our sins (1 Corinthians 15:12-19). Jesus Christ was victorious over sin (Romans 6:14), death (1 Corinthians 15:55 – 57), and the devil (Colossians 2:14, 15) through His death on the cross, by His shed blood, His sacrifice, His resurrection and His ascension into heaven where He is seated at the right hand of the Father (Ephesians 1:20). As a believer in Christ, He has obtained this victory for us as well (1 Corinthians 15:57; Romans 8:3). Next week, we will look at His resurrection!