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Holy Week: Looking at traditional readings — Wednesday

This week is Holy Week for Christians, the days that stretch between Palm Sunday and Easter, or Resurrection Sunday. This week we offer a look at the biblical passages dealing with traditional readings for Holy Week. Each day has up to four readings.

Today’s readings are from the writings of the prophet Isaiah, a psalm attributed to King David, a letter written to dispersed Jewish believers and a book from “the disciple whom Jesus loved,” entitled “according to John.”

Isaiah 50:4-9a

The prophet Isaiah gave the Israelites a glimpse into what the coming messiah would endure.

“I offered my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard; I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting” [verse 6].

“Because the Sovereign Lord helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore I have set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame” [verse 7].

Psalm 70

The psalmist encouraged all of Israel to sing praise because God is great and able to help his people.

“May all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who long for your saving help always say, ‘The Lord is great!’” [verse 4].

Hebrews 12:1-3

If Jesus endured so much for the people he loved — even though they didn’t love him — then believers can be encouraged to persevere in faith in daily life.

Jesus rose above the shame of public Roman execution, and endured the cross “for the joy set before him” — the joy of welcoming sinners (all people) who call out to him for mercy and grace.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

John 13:21-32

Jesus told his disciples that the time had come to do what he was on earth to accomplish, and that the work would soon be complete. They didn’t realize that it would be only a matter of hours before Jesus was arrested and their world would be thrown into confusion.

“Now the Son of Man is glorified and God is glorified in him” [verse 31].

“My children, I will be with you only a little longer” [verse 33].

All passages have been reprinted from the New International Version of the Bible.