Seeing the One who tasted death (Holy Week 2022)

“Holy Week” refers to the seven days before Easter Sunday. The word “holy” literally means “set apart.” For centuries, Christians all over the world have marked out a full week to contemplate the cross and the resurrection. At Awakening, we desire to “set apart” this week for the prayerful consideration of Jesus Christ’s final hours and his triumphant resurrection from the dead. Will you join us in making this week “holy” by setting apart time to reflect and pray?

Join us by reading and praying through Hebrews 2:8–9, where the writer says that after Jesus’ resurrection “everything’’ was put “under his feet” (Hebrews 2:8), in accordance with Old Testament prophecies. The writer continues,

“Now when it says ‘all things,’ it means nothing is left out. But we have not yet seen all things put under…authority. What we do see is Jesus, who for a little while was given a position ‘a little lower than the angels’; and because he suffered death for us, he is now ‘crowned with glory and honor.’ Yes, by God’s grace, Jesus tasted death for everyone.

-Hebrews 2:8–9 (NLT)

This passage shows us the dual reality Holy Week invites us to inspect: that we see Jesus suffering and simultaneously await the day when we see “all things…put under his authority.” The world is a painful place. It is common to look around and wonder, “is God in control?” We seem to see more evidence for chaos than kindness.

Our faith does not offer easy answers to this confusion, but a dynamic person from whom we receive comfort: “What we do see is Jesus…” the writer says. Yes, we see wars and injustice; yes, we see suffering. But we also (if we take the invitation to Holy Week) see Jesus Christ. During this week, we invite you to not only look upon the pain of the world, but look upon the person and work of Jesus for comfort, hope, and peace.

Holy Week provides a great revelation that God and suffering are not two opposing “ideas.” Instead, we see these two together: God is the One who suffers. Better yet, he is the one who suffers for us and with us, the one who takes on the sins of the world and “tasted death for everyone.”

Why set apart this week as “holy?” There are many reasons, but one is clear in this text of Scripture: so we might consider how very near God is to our own world, our own experience — our very life and death.

Holy Week and Easter emphatically reject the concept of a god who is far off, disinterested, or out of control as the world spins towards chaos. In Christ, we understand that God is more familiar with suffering than we are, because he is the only one who has tasted death and spit it out. He is the only one who has gone to the grave and come back. Even in all the chaos brought upon Jesus, there is not one element of suffering he did not endure and subsequently defeat through his divine power. Because of this, it’s pretty clear nothing is out of his control.

May we reflect upon and rest in the power of Jesus Christ this Holy Week.

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Chris Nye

Chris Nye

Living in Portland, Oregon with my wife and son. Doctoral candidate at Duke University. Author of a few books: chrisnye.co/books