This is the time of year that we normally associate with Easter, the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus.  You see, His resurrection shows that He is exactly who He claimed to be…the Messiah, the Christ, the one and only Son of God.

However, we tend to ignore all of the amazing stories that happened in the week leading up to Easter, the week many Christians refer to as Holy Week.  Here is a short breakdown of Holy Week.

Palm Sunday – The Sunday before Easter is recognized as the day that Jesus triumphantly entered Jerusalem for the last time.  Churches often celebrate this day by passing out palm branches to the congregation.  This represents the branches that many of Christ’s followers laid in front of Him for his donkey to walk on as he entered Jerusalem.

Turning over tables – This is a very well known story from the gospels, but we often leave out the fact that it was during Holy Week.  This was not a random event in Jesus’ ministry.  Busting up the crooked money changers was a big enough deal that Jesus took time out of His last few days to make this statement.  That seems to add a bit of importance to this action, in my opinion.

Teaching – Jesus did a great deal of teaching during his last excursion through the big city.  Many of your favorite parables can be found in the scriptures during Holy Week.  Also, you will find that Jesus poured it to the Pharisees during this time.  He really turned it up a notch.

The Last Supper – Of course, it was the night before his arrest when Jesus gathered His disciples together for food and fellowship.  He washed their feet and tried to help them understand, one last time, what was about to happen.  As far as Holy Week celebrations go, Christians often observe this event on Maundy Thursday.  But you may recognize the scripture as The Lord’s Supper or Communion that we often celebrate throughout the year.

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”

Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of thecovenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”  (Matthew 26:26-29 NIV)

Good Friday – Many know this day as the observance of Jesus’ death by crucifixion.  But while I know it was necessary for the reconciliation of our relationship with God, I still feel odd calling it Good Friday.  It is also known as Black Friday, Easter Friday, Holy Friday, and Great Friday.  I’ll stick with Good Friday.

Easter – Of course, this is the headliner of Holy Week.  The day when we celebrate Jesus’ triumph over death and His return to His disciples.  While we tend to mix in baskets of eggs and chocolate bunnies (man, I love chocolate bunnies), it is of the utmost importance that we make the true meaning of this holiday (holy-day) known. 

To be honest, I feel like Easter is the most important holiday for Christians to celebrate.  We all tend to put a great deal of emphasis on Christmas.  Yet, without the death and resurrection, Jesus’ miracle birth would mean very little for our relationship with God.  Without the sacrifice that Jesus made and his victories over sin and death, reconciliation with God through Jesus would not have been impossible. 

As we all head into Holy Week, please make it clear the real reason for this season.  Let us celebrate our salvation that comes from the cross and the empty tomb.  Let us tell everyone we know that JESUS IS ALIVE!