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'Passion Week', also called 'Holy Week', is the Catholic observance of what they view as the last week of Christ; passion here referring to the endurance of suffering. It is commemorated with specific liturgies and rituals. Many protestant church groups follow the customs regarding this week as well. In this tradition, the week is celebrated starting with Palm Sunday and ending with Easter Sunday. Other days are commemorated between, such as Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday. Each of these days is supposed to commemorate, even help congregants re-enact, various aspects of the last days of Christ. It appears some of these re-enactments go back as far as the late fourth century A.D. While the Holy Week celebration is well-intended as a reminder of the trials and sufferings of Christ, some dilemmas arise when comparing the tradition to scripture. Firstly, there is the dilemma of the Passion Week not lining up with the timeline of events in scripture, and artificially condensing the narrative. Secondly, there is the risk of the Passion Week prioritizing the pageantry of re-enactment over the reality of life-change in Christ. Thirdly, there is the risk of treating Jesus in similar manner to ancient sun-gods that had to die and rise again annually, vs. As the Savior who died only once for all time (Rom 6:10, I Pet 3:8, Heb 9:28, etc). Timeline divergence: - 'Passion Week' begins on Palm Sunday, a week before Easter Sunday. It is often commemorated by congregants waving cut palm branches to re-enact Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem. However, scripture shows that Jesus' triumphal entry could not have been on a Sunday. If the day before the triumphal entry had been a Sabbath, then Mary and Martha would have violated the Sabbath by making a feast (John 12:1-12). Jesus would have violated the Sabbath by walking farther than was permitted even by the more permissive Passover rules, about 12-15 miles from Jericho to Bethany through wilderness territory (Matt 20:17-19, Matt 20:29-34, Mk 10:46-52, Lk 19:1-28). As such, Sunday is definitely excluded as being a candidate for the day of the triumphal entry. For the same reasons, the cleansing of the temple could not have been on 'Holy Monday'. - Passion Week places Jesus' celebration of the Passover meal with his disciples on Thursday after sunset (which would be the Jewish Friday), Jesus' trials and crucifixion on Friday, and his Resurrection before dawn on Sunday. There are many scriptural problems with this condensed timeline as well. Perhaps most prominent is the conflict with Jesus' prophesied 'sign of Jonah', that He would be in the tomb for three days and three nights (Matt 12:40). [The oft-repeated but incorrectly applied tradition of sometimes counting a partial day as a whole day does not solve this difficulty for a number of reasons]. Another problem is that the women are shown seeing the body laid in the tomb, resting on the Sabbath, buying and preparing spices, resting on another Sabbath, and then going to the tomb (Luke 23:54-56, Mark 16:1). This would not be possible if there was only one Sabbath day that week. Yet, as the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread was a High Sabbath, and Passover (the day before it) was a Preparation day for both the evening Passover meal and the first Day of Unleavened Bread, then the timeline easily fits with Christ dying on Passover, the women resting on the first Day of Unleavened Bread, buying and preparing spices, resting on the weekly Sabbath, and then going to the tomb after the Sabbath ended at sunset. (Ex 12:15-21, John 19:14). Pageantry/Gospel: Jesus said we would proclaim His death until He comes again via our participation in the communion (Luke 22:19-21, I Cor 11:26-29.) While this does not preclude us from remembering Christ and proclaiming Him in other ways, we do not actually need mystery plays and pageants to understand Christ in us (Col 1:26-28, I Cor 3:16, Rom 8:11).
It is the coinage of people to represent the last seven (7) days preceding Christ's ascension of the cross to undo the sin factor and effect permanently, though a lot can actually be said about how it came about, what message the inventor of it meant to convey, I have not, with my little knowledge of the word of God from Genesis through Revelation seen it mentioned, neither is any sound scriptural or spiritual argument in support of its celebration. The Lord's passion for humanity did not start on the so called Palm Sunday to end on Easter Sunday. His compassion has been of old and they fail not. Lam.3:22
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