Don’t Hide the Cross Behind Holy Week

Jeremey Johnson

Every year Christians are told to take a week off from preaching the cross to reenact events that happened before anyone understood it. They call this week Holy Week.

You are told to be part of the kingdom palm waving crowd on Palm Sunday, but were not those the same people who consented to his death later in the week?

On Holy Monday and Tuesday you are told to place yourself in the sandals of the disciples listening to Jesus’ ministry to the circumcision (Rom 15:8), but the disciples did not understand the cross and were afraid to ask him about it.

On Spy Wednesday many participate in processions reenacting the events of Judas betrayal by wearing capirotes and carrying around religious statues and icons, but wouldn’t we not want to reenact that dark night of betrayal?

Even though Christians are called children of light and ought not hide the gospel (2 Cor 4:3-4), Maundy Thursday is the beginning of three holy days of darkness called Tenebrae where the Eucharist is hidden under a blanket, crosses and Bibles are hidden in churches, and God’s love expressed in the cross is hidden behind the ritual of foot washing and symbolic candles.

You are told that Good Friday is the day for sorrowful reflection, fasting, and mourning over the death of Jesus, but isn’t that contrary to glorying in the cross as Paul does (Gal 6:14)? Perhaps reflection ought to be spent on how three days fit between Friday and the end of Black Saturday.

Holy Week ends with Sunday sunrise services talking about the climax of the empty tomb and resurrection putting an end to the darkness of the week before, that is, until next year.

Children often ask the important question the apostles asked as well, “why did Jesus have to die?”, but Holy Week is over and resurrection is the end. There is no explanation from the traditionalists except that is what happened according to scripture.

Two thousand years ago no one understood the good news of the cross at any time during that week (John 20:8-9; Luke 18:33-34), but that doesn’t stop religious persons from telling you to follow Jesus through Holy Week which comes and goes leaving more questions than answers.

The reason why is found in the revealed mystery, the gospel of the grace of God, given by the resurrected Lord when he returned after the Easter pageants end and shined light on the apostle Paul for you and me to understand his will.

“Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel:” – 2 Timothy 2:8

Every year people forget what this scripture says.

The annual religious recreation of a week of ignorance of the cross, darkness, and sorrowful morning has worked to undermine the grace ministry of understanding, light, and rejoicing in the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The gospel of the grace of God does not end with the death and resurrection, it begins there. Our gospel of Christ should never be hid in darkness, behind symbols, or expressed in religious rituals.

Never take a week off from preaching the glory of the cross, not even for religious holy days.

“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” – 1 Corinthians 1:18

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Published: March 31, 2017
Last Modified: September 15, 2019
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