Last Sunday began our remembrance of Passion Week. The “Passion” part isn’t referring to a strong emotion, it comes from the Latin word passio meaning suffering. Isaiah foretold that He would be “despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3). This is the Suffering (Servant’s) Week.
On Sunday Jesus entered Jerusalem on a borrowed donkey and many hailed Him as the Messiah. On Monday Jesus cursed the fig tree and cleansed His Father’s house for the second time. On Tuesday He taught on Mt. Olivet and Judas agreed on a price for betrayal. On Wednesday we don’t know exactly what Jesus did. On Thursday Jesus washed the feet of His disciples and ate the Passover Meal with them, prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, was betrayed by Judas, and tried. On Friday Jesus was tried again and again, beaten over and over, crucified, and buried. There is no record of events on the Sabbath, but by early the following Sunday the tomb was empty.
Jesus entered Jerusalem to pageantry and praise. On the day we call Palm Sunday, the crowd was eager to crown their King (according to the prophecy in Zechariah 9:9). They cried out, “Hosanna!” “Save us, we pray!” They laid their clothes and palm branches on the road in front of Him.
He was their Messiah, but not the One they wanted. He offered them life, but not the kind they wanted. He came to defeat their greatest enemy, their death-deserving sin, and to offer Himself as a sacrifice for sin. They just wanted Him to defeat the Romans.
And Jesus did, all that and more, though not as the people had imagined. Through His suffering we are free. Through His sacrifice we are forgiven. Through His wounds we are healed. He bore the sins of many, and the will of the Lord will prosper in His hand (Isiah 53:10-12).