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Renew a Right Spirit within Me

Journeying to Easter during Holy Week

Gary M. Burge

Holy Week is one of the oldest Christian observances we know. The first recorded celebration of it comes from a woman named Egeria who traveled to Jerusalem as a pilgrim in the 4th century A.D. There she witnessed Holy Week ceremonies and recorded them in her diary (see Egeria's Travels, 1999), which means Holy Week observances are at least 1,700 years old.

In the days between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday, we see the final week of Jesus' life on earth. This week was so important that the Gospel of Mark devotes about 40 percent of its pages to this one week. This was the great climax of our Lord's ministry on earth, when He came to Jerusalem to reveal His most crucial teachings. And in the ensuing conflict with Jerusalem's leaders, He was crucified. But on the third day, God raised Him from death. Holy Week begins with Jesus' entry into Jerusalem (Palm Sunday) and ends with Jesus' resurrection (Easter).

Take time this week to reflect on these great events. Read the assigned passages each day. Pay attention to where God may be leading your thoughts. Turn this week into "uncommon time"—time that is not ordinary or common; time that is set apart, and time that anticipates the church's great celebration of Easter. Our preparation during the week can completely change our celebration next Sunday.

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Dr. Gary M. Burge

Dr. Gary M. Burge is Professor of New Testament at Wheaton College and Graduate School, the author of more than 15 books, and a recurring teacher at Willow Creek’s Midweek Experience.