Today’s reflection comes from Charlotte Holliday, one of the sweetest souls to walk the TCU Campus. Charlotte works in the Luther King Capital Management Center for Financial Studies in the Neeley School of Business. She is a TCU graduate currently pursuing her MLA at TCU, and her oldest daughter is a junior on campus (it’s a true Frog Family!). Her commitment to TCU, to her family, and to her faith is evident in the way she treats her community with kindness and care.
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
I want to know Christ-yes, to know the power of His resurrection and participation in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death.
When I was a little girl I loved the week leading up to Easter. My mom would take me to the mall and buy me a new dress in a beautiful pastel color, new shoes, and a bow to match my dress. I loved getting all dressed up! There was always a different feeling at church on Easter than any other Sunday. There was an energy, an excitement, a joyful atmosphere. I knew then that Easter was the celebration of Jesus’s resurrection and I loved everything about that beautiful, bright Sunday.
But it wasn’t until I became an adult that I truly understood what Jesus went through the week leading up to Easter, making the day more bright and beautiful than ever before. To fully experience the joy and gratefulness of Easter Sunday, one must know the events that led up to it.
One week before His resurrection, on Palm Sunday, Jesus triumphantly entered Jerusalem. It was a joyful day for crowds waving their palm branches as Jesus passed them on the donkey. As they shouted, “Hosanna in the highest”, Jesus knew what the coming days would bring…. On Monday, seeing money being changed at the Temple, Jesus began overturning the tables saying, “My Temple will be a house of prayer, but you have turned it into a den of thieves.” On Tuesday, Jesus and his disciples went to the Mount of Olives and he gave the Olivet Discourse, a prophecy about the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the age. On Wednesday, Judas negotiated with the Sanhedrin to betray Jesus. On Thursday, Jesus washed the feet of his disciples as they prepared to share in the Last Supper. During this meal, Jesus established communion, instructing his followers to remember his sacrifice by sharing in the elements. He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.” After supper, Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane. Sweating drops of blood, he prayed, “Father, take this cup from me, but not my will, but yours be done.” Late Thursday night, Jesus was betrayed by Judas’s kiss and arrested by the Sanhedrin. Peter denied knowing Jesus three times before the rooster crowed, just as Jesus had told him. On Friday, Jesus endured the shame of false accusations, condemnation, mockery, brutal beatings, and abandonment. He was pierced with a crown of thorns. After being beaten to near death, Jesus was exhausted, but was made to carry his own cross to Calvary. Jesus spoke few words while nailed to the cross, among them were, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing, Father, into your hands I commit my Spirit, it is done.” On Saturday, Jesus lay in the tomb and his body was ceremonially treated for burial with spices. On Sunday, Jesus’s mother and Mary Magdalene found Jesus’s tomb empty. An angel appeared saying, “Do not be afraid! I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen.”
Jesus suffered so much the week leading up to his death, but he shows us how to keep an eternal perspective while suffering in our broken world. It’s difficult for me to think about what Jesus endured the week before his resurrection, but it’s necessary to fully appreciate the joy, wonder, awe, and undeniable hope that Easter Sunday brings!
Dear Jesus, Thank you for everything that you went through for us. Thank you for loving us so much that you were willing to endure such mental, emotional, and physical anguish so that we may be forgiven of our sins and have eternal life with you in Heaven. As we reflect on the events of the week leading up to your death, burial and resurrection may we feel the somberness that comes with knowing what you suffered so that we may rejoice and feel the full effect of your resurrection on Easter Sunday. AMEN