Holy Week 101

Holy Week is here, so what is it exactly?

This Sunday is Palm Sunday and marks the beginning of Holy Week in the church which culminates in Easter on March 27. But what exactly is Holy Week? We wanted to take the time to write up some explanations of the different aspects of Holy Week, give you some resources to be able to talk to your kids about Holy Week, and offer some suggestions about how you can experience Holy Week as a family.

What is Holy Week?

Holy Week or Passion week is a week of Christian observances starting with Palm Sunday including Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and ending with Easter Sunday.

What is Palm Sunday?

Palm Sunday is the Christian observance of Jesus' entry into Jerusalem one week before his resurrection. The events celebrated on this day are found in scripture Luke 19:28-40, Matthew 21:1-11, Mark 11:1-11, John 12:12-19. Jesus rides into Jerusalem on a young donkey while the citizens of Jerusalem lay down their coats and palm branches before him and sing songs of praise. This imagery is part of a prophetic tradition from Zechariah 9:9-10. Jesus' entrance into the city on the back of a donkey, coming from the Mount of Olives, connects Jesus with a prophetic tradition associated with the messiah. 

What is Maundy Thursday?

Maundy Thursday is the day we recognize Jesus' last supper with his disciples during Passover. Before the meal Jesus washed the feet of his disciples, this was a humbling act of service that serves as an example of how Christians should humbly serve out of love for God. It is also where we find and observe the sacrament of communion. 

What is Good Friday?

Good Friday, the Friday before Easter Sunday, we commemorate the trial, sentencing, and crucifixion of Jesus. Many Good Friday services end in silence, recognizing the death of Jesus for our sins.

What is Easter Sunday?

Easter Sunday is the celebration of Jesus' resurrection from the dead. The resurrection is what gives Jesus' sacrifice it's power in conquering death. Many churches will hold sunrise services in cemeteries as a visual reminder of Jesus' resurrection from the dead and how we are given eternal life through his sacrifice and resurrection.

Easter Resources

Daily Devotionals

Each day during Holy Week, take a few minutes together to read the Bible stories of what happened that week. Discuss as a family the events and talk about how the disciples and Jesus must have felt as the events occurred. 

Monday - Read Luke 19:46
Tuesday - Read Matthew 23:24-33
Wednesday - Read John 13:31-35
Thursday - Read John 13:1-17
Friday - Read John 19:25-42
Saturday - Read Matthew 27:57-61