Bible Study for Holy Week

Holy Week

The readings in this section have been taken from all the gospels and cover just some of events that the bible tells us happened during the week before Jesus’s death. The collects have been taken from the Church of England website. Any other prayers will have their authors named.

While you are reading this part of the Lent Reflections try and put yourself into the events, listen for Jesus’s voice speaking to you and note your own response. But hold in mind the three words in the title of this year’s reflection: Reconciliation, Renewal, Redemption. Also think about how God is wanting you to have a deeper relationship

with him, and is ready and waiting to help you bring about any changes needed in your life to make this happen.

Palm Sunday

Some words from John Birch (The Act of Prayer) to think about as we ponder on Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem: We join with the voices of those who stood and cheered as Jesus entered Jerusalem,  laying not palm branches but our lives down at his feet.

Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!

All four gospels tell of the events surrounding Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem.

St. Matthew 21: 1 – 9; St. Mark 11: 1 – 11; St. Luke 19: 29 – 38; St. John 12: 12 – 15.

Choose one to read, and then re-read it and stop and take time to think about which words speak loudest to you. Then read it again putting yourself somewhere in the scene. Are you one of the disciples or friends following Jesus closely as he rides through the gate?

If so, what are your feelings?

Are you one of the onlookers who have heard about this man and come to see what all the fuss is about – if so, what did you find out about him? Were you shouting Hosanna? Did you want him to save you? Or did you stand silently as he rode passed you, perhaps even looking your way?

Prayers: The collect for Palm Sunday (short version)

True and humble king, hailed by the crowd as Messiah: grant us the faith to know you and love you,  that we may be found beside you on the way of the cross, which is the path of glory. Amen.

How quickly cries of ‘Hosanna!’ turn to ‘Crucify!’ when Jesus refuses to be moulded into that which we would have him be. Forgive us, dear Lord, who sing ‘Hosanna!’ as you draw near, yet in our daily lives reveal ourselves no better than those who caused you pain. May this be the song in our hearts this passion-tide as we lay our lives before you: Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven! Amen (John Birch – The Act of Prayer)

Lord Jesus, we greet your coming, pilgrim messiah, servant king, rejected saviour.

You rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, symbol of humility and lowliness, mocking our dream of pomp and glory, demonstrating the foolishness of God before the eyes of the world. You have shown us the way of humble service, the way of true greatness. Lord Jesus, help us to follow you. Amen (Patterns and Prayers for Christian Worship)

Monday of Holy Week

The event in today’s passage is mentioned in all of the gospels – Jesus being anointed with oil:

St. Matthew 14: 1 – 9; St. Mark 14: 3 – 9; St. Luke 7: 36 – 50; St. John 12: 1 – 8.

St. Matthew and St. Mark place it happening just before the Last Supper and St. Luke places it quite early in his ministry. St. John in his telling of this story places it just before the triumphal entry into Jerusalem.

Read whichever version you prefer and put yourself into the event. Listen to what is said by the people there and listen carefully to what Jesus says in response. In St. John’s version the woman is referred to as Mary.

She gives her all to Jesus.

Now spend a few minutes in silence and think about what you can give to Jesus – what is ‘your all?

The Psalm set for today is Psalm 36: 5 – 11. It talks about God’s steadfast love for us.

In the event we have just read about Mary acknowledges God’s steadfast love for by giving Jesus her love for him.

You may like to use these words from the Psalm in your prayer time today.

Your steadfast love, O LORD, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your judgements are like the great deep; you save humans and animals alike, O LORD. How precious is your steadfast love, O God! All people may take refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights.

For with You is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.

O continue your steadfast love to those who know you, and your salvation to the upright of heart!

Lord Jesus Christ, You gave us so much; help us to give to you, if only a little, in return. Amen (Nick Fawcett)

Tuesday of Holy Week

Once again this event is mentioned in all three gospels: Jesus cleansing the Temple. St. John places it happening earlier in Jesus’s ministry – St. John 2:13 – 16.

The other three gospel writers place it happening during the week after the triumphal entry into Jerusalem:

St. Matthew 21: 12 & 13; St. Mark 11: 15 – 17; St. Luke 19: 45 & 46.

All the versions are very short but we see how Jesus reacts when he sees the temple being used as a market place rather that for its real purpose – a place to worship God. And he overturns the tables.

Two areas to consider: one is to think about our places of worship and ask are they fit for God’s purpose?

Are they places where everyone is welcome? Do we have a liturgy that is understood by all who come to worship? If the answer is no how can we ‘overturn’ the situation.

The second area to think about is ourselves. Is there anything in our present way of living that we need to overturn so that we can renew our relationship with God?

Prayer: Living God, from the unpromising material of our lives, fashion your new creation,

through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen (Nick Fawcett)

Wednesday of Holy Week

A quote from Psalm 25: 4 & 5 for us to think about:

Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths; Lead me in your truth, and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all day long.

Spend a few moments thinking about these words and ask God to open your heart and mind to the teachings of Jesus, especially those in this week. Jesus carried out a lot of teaching during this particular time, with his disciples and others drawn to him and what he was teaching. You can find examples of this in St. Matthew chapters 21 – 25; St. Mark chapters 11 – 13; St. Luke chapters 20 – 21.

Pick one or two of his teachings and spend time reflecting on what he was saying to his listeners, and why.

Then read through the passage again and put yourself into the group of listeners.

What do his words mean for you today?

Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, grant that everything we are, and all we say and do, may resound to your praise and glory. Make us always ready to serve you and so may we prepare the hearts of others to welcome you into their lives, for your name’s sake. Amen. (adapted from Nick Fawcett Short Prayers for Public Worship)

Maundy Thursday

Some words to think about today as we think about the events of the preparation for the Passover.

Jesus, servant Lord, in your final moments with your disciples you chose to give us an example of loving service. Fill us with this servant heart and may the love we display to others be worthy of your calling and name.

(adapted from Intercessions by Ian Black)

All the gospels carry accounts of what happened but if you read on you can find out what happened after the Passover meal as well: St. Matthew 26:17 – 30; St. Mark 14:12 – 26; St. Luke 22:7 – 22; St. John 13:1 – 30.

Choose one of the accounts and put yourself into the happenings. Be there and listen carefully to what is said

and note carefully what is done. How do you respond? Listen to what Peter says (St. John 13: 6 – 17).

If that was you, how would you have responded to Jesus’ actions?

After their meal together they went out….now go back to last week’s session on Jesus’ prayer (St. John chapter 17) and think about what you noted down. Also spend some time thinking about his arrest.

Prayers: the collect for Maundy Thursday (short version)

God our Father, your Son Jesus Christ was obedient to the end and drank the cup prepared for him:

may we who share his table watch with him through the night of suffering and be faithful. Amen.

Lord Jesus Christ, you did not just go the extra mile – you gave everything, enduring death on a cross

so that we might live. Work within us and help us to be willing to give of ourselves in the service of others,

for your name’s sake (Nick Fawcett Short Prayers for Public Worship)

Good Friday

Some words from John Birch (Act of Prayer) to ponder on today: God of love, in a moment of quiet we remember the love that brought us to this place. God of love, in a moment of quiet we remember the arms outstretched in our place. God of love, in a moment of quiet we bring our grateful thanks

All four gospels have accounts of what happened on the day we call Good Friday.

The reading set for this year is found in St. John chapters 18 and 19.

Prayer: the collect (short version) for Good Friday:

Eternal God, in the cross of Jesus we see the cost of sin and the depth of your love: in humble hope and fear  may we place at his feet all that we have and all that we are, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Easter Eve

You could spend some time today keeping vigil for Jesus and praying for this world that we live in.

Easter Day

Join with the women who went to the tomb and found it empty and celebrate that Jesus Christ is Risen – Hallelujah!

Gail Hield