So I know that in the last post I used the nice fancy graphic above and then launched into a nice little blurb (If I saw so myself) about Palm Sunday. Notice no palms in the fancy graphic above. So today, and in this post, I want to start walking us through each of the icons above.
- The Blood of Christ
- The Sword
- The Mark of Judas
- The Rooster
- The Hammer
- The Crown of Thorns
- The Cross
- The Empty Tomb
Now to be fair I am not going to go through each one today, I would rather not give spoilers on one of the greatest stories of history as its being celebrated. So why don’t we take the first three; The Blood of Christ, The Sword, The Mark of Judas, and the Rooster.
It is important to know that not only did Holy Week start with Palm Sunday but it also starts with the Jewish festival of Passover. let us not pass over the history here…see what I did there? Told you I love puns.
Passover was instituted when Israel was in captivity in Egypt. Moses had come back to Pharoah and sang a jaunty little tune of “Let my People Go” and the heart of Pharoh was hardened. If you have never heard said jaunty little tune, then please listen here. Not going to lie, there is a frozen parody based off of this song that was tempting for me to push. ANYWAY! So once the plagues had messed Egypt up a bit God had only one option left since Pharoh didn’t listen. He instructed the people of Israel to find a lamb that was spotless and without defect and to kill it and eat. But they needed to take the blood and put it on their door frames. That way the Angel of Death would pass over that home and they would be safe. All homes without this protection would experience a painful outcome, the death of the firstborn son.
So when Jesus sit with His disciples and eats the Passover meal with them, He institutes a new Passover tradition to take place of the old one. He took bread and wine and said, “in remembrance of me take and eat/drink.” This way judgment of our sins would pass over us.
So now lets deal with the next two but together since they happen pretty much at the same time. The Sword and the Mark of Judas (or betrayal of Judas). When Christ is in the garden we see Judas walk up to Him. Jesus tells him to do what he must, knowing that with a kiss He would be betrayed. Isn’t it awesome to see that Christ took it all while still loving everyone around him. As Judas came with a kiss and betrayed Christ still said, “Friend, why have you come?” Then the soldiers burst from the bushes and grab Jesus. Please enter The Sword stage left.
One of the people with Jesus takes out his sword and cuts the ear off of one of the High Priests men. WHOA, literally went Van Gogh on the soldier. Would think that at this point a huge fight would have broken out. To be fair the tensions between Jews and Romans were extremely high at this moment of time. But instead we see Jesus reach out and take the ear from the ground place it back on the head of the soldier and it is healed. Yet still, they didn’t believe that this was the Son of God? I find that hard to fathom.
It goes on by the way in Matthew chapter 26 to describe how Jesus dealt with the people gathered in the garden. I think it appropriate to end these two icons with His words.
55 In that hour Jesus said to the multitudes, “Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs to take Me? I sat daily with you, teaching in the temple, and you did not seize Me. 56 But all this was done that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.”
Then all the disciples forsook Him and fled.
Now let’s talk about the rooster. Why is this rooster so important to Holy Week? You see before hand at the Passover meal Jesus said to Peter that he would deny the Christ three times before the rooster crowed. Peter passionately defended the fact that he would never dream of doing such a thing, and Jesus just smiled and said yes, you will. Look at the following scripture of the denial.
69 Now Peter sat outside in the courtyard. And a servant girl came to him, saying, “You also were with Jesus of Galilee.”
70 But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you are saying.”
71 And when he had gone out to the gateway, another girl saw him and said to those who were there, “This fellow also was with Jesus of Nazareth.”
72 But again he denied with an oath, “I do not know the Man!”
73 And a little later those who stood by came up and said to Peter, “Surely you also are one of them, for your speech betrays you.”
74 Then he began to curse and swear, saying, “I do not know the Man!”
Immediately a rooster crowed. 75 And Peter remembered the word of Jesus who had said to him, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” So he went out and wept bitterly.
I want to linger on that last bit. Peter wept bitterly. Why did he do so bitterly? After the denial, we see in Luke a different side of the story.
60 But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are saying!”
Immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster[g] crowed. 61 And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said to him, “Before the rooster crows,[h] you will deny Me three times.” 62 So Peter went out and wept bitterly.
After Peter had denied the Christ three times Jesus turned and looked, and I mean looked, at him. What did Peter see in those eyes? Was it anger, displeasure, disappointment, or was it love? Did Peter look into the eyes and did he see the fact that Jesus still loved him? That would make sense since he went out and wept bitterly. But that’s us as well. How many times have we denied Christ because of what we want in the world? How many times did you act as if you did not know the man named Christ? I know that I have done it before and still fall short of what is needed. But Christ looks at us and says, I still love you. I still want you to experience freedom and joy. As we will see in the post to come, Jesus has a lot more to say than just a look at Peter.
Join me Friday to go over the rest of our Holy Week Icons.