The week before Easter is called Holy Week and culminates the preparation time of Lent. During these days, we focus on the events of Jesus’ life from His entrance into Jerusalem until His glorious resurrection from the dead. Palm Sunday, the first day of Holy Week, commemorates the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem (Matthew 21:9). Because the complete account of the Lord’s Passion from Matthew, Mark, or Luke is often read, this Sunday is also called the Sunday of the Passion.
This week begins on Palm Sunday and ends on Holy Saturday.
On Maundy Thursday, the Church gives thanks to Jesus for the institution of the Lord’s Supper. The Maundy Thursday service closes with the stripping of the altar while Psalm 22-a prophecy of the crucifixion-is read or sung. This reminds us of how our Lord stripped to the waist to wash His disciples’ feet-and how He was stripped and beaten before His crucifixion.
Good Friday is the most solemn of all days in the Christian Church, yet a note of joy remains, as the title of the day indicates. On Good Friday, as we remember that on account of our sin the Lord was crucified and died, we give joyful thanks to God that all sin and God’s wrath over sin falls on Jesus and not on us, and that by His grace we receive the benefit of this most sacrificial act.