Holy Week has arrived, which is exciting since Easter is coming up sooner than expected. Since COVID-19 has stopped us from enjoying our favorite activities like going to movie theaters, school, viewing a sporting event or seeing a live concert, we needed to adapt to the many changes. Perhaps, everyone spent the last 40 days giving up bad habits or finding new ways to stay safe, strong, and creative without going insane like they did the previous year. Despite all these challenges and major setbacks, having the opportunity to celebrate this religious observance with your family is a gift. Here are some Bible verses to read this upcoming week and think about what you can do to make a difference in the world.
1. Adopt the same attitude as that of Christ Jesus, who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be exploited. Instead he emptied himself by assuming the form of a servant, taking on the likeness of humanity. And when he had come as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death—even to death on a cross. - Philippians 2:5-11
Jesus Christ was unselfish and thoughtful. He wants us to act in the same manner. Providing food, money, and support to those who are struggling are ways to display acts of kindness, even during challenging times. Any gestures of human decency will be appreciated.
2. Here is my servant! I have made him strong. He is my chosen one; I am pleased with him. I have given him my Spirit, and he will bring justice to the nations. He won’t shout or yell or call out in the streets. He won’t break off a bent reed or put out a dying flame, but he will make sure that justice is done. He won’t quit or give up until he brings justice everywhere on earth, and people in foreign nations long for his teaching. - Isaiah 42:1-4
Our Lord and Savior is the judge of everyone in the world. Those who repent of their sins and speak to him can be forgiven. The teaching of Jesus are untainted and punctures the souls of those who read his words.
3. Listen to me, you islands; hear this, you distant nations: Before I was born the Lord called me; from my mother’s womb he has spoken my name. He made my mouth like a sharpened sword, in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me into a polished arrow and concealed me in his quiver. He said to me, “You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will display my splendor.” - Isaiah 49: 1-4
Jesus is the word of God. His words can give people hope and encouragement. The truth and power of speech can also cause pain or guilt. It is up to us to decide how to use and interpret words.
4. Then one of the Twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What will you give me if I turn Jesus over to you?” They paid him thirty pieces of silver. From that time on he was looking for an opportunity to turn him in. - Matthew 26:14-16
We must not allow greed and selfish desires to take control of us. The love of money is the root of all evil. It turns people against each other, gives them a sense of power, and removes love, trust, and respect from relationships if they allow it.
5. When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. - John 13: 12-16
If someone does sometime nice for you, they would not mind if you returned the favor. Showing thanks for a kind gesture reveals that you liked what they did and were thinking about them in a positive way. Anything from sending a card, buying them a gift or just calling them are some ways to say thank you.
6. Who hath believed our report? And to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. - Isaiah 53: 1-5
Even though, people worship him now, they forget that he was rejected and hated before he died. Easter celebrates his resurrection after suffering and dying for the sins of the world. Everyone needs to unite to bring peace, forgive others for wrongdoings, and understand the consequences for our transgressions.
7. Have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives. - Romans 6: 3-11
Our faith is placed in Jesus Christ, so following his teachings means putting our trust in him, and making smart decisions in life while trying to help others along the way. After passing, the natural body is buried and we become a spirit or new creature. We are born again and become part of God.
8. Before the sun had risen on Sunday morning, Mary Magdalene made a trip to the tomb where His body was laid to rest. In the darkness, she discovered the covering had been rolled away. She darted out of the garden to find Simon Peter and the dearly loved disciple to deliver this startling news. - John 20: 1-9
The body of Jesus is no longer in the tomb where he was laid to rest. He has risen on the third day. We celebrate his resurrection on Easter Sunday with prayer, food, and support for each other.
9. But without faith [it is] impossible to please [him]: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and [that] he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. - Hebrews 11:6
Salvation is something that must be received through Jesus Christ, not just doing the right thing. Believing in him, accepting Christ, and praying in his name is the only way to get into heaven. Jesus is the Savior of those who put their faith and trust in him.
10. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. - John 14: 21-23
Following the Ten Commandments are important because they are rules that result in serious consequences if broken. Lying, stealing, adultery, and murder are sins that are more difficult to forgive. Remember to use common sense.
11. Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us. - 1 Corinthians 5:7
To become followers of Jesus Christ, we need to free ourselves of sin. Jesus takes away the sins of the world. He will forgive the sins of those who repent or apologize for the things they did wrong. When Jesus forgives us, we feel better.
12. Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. - John 14:1
Believe that everyone is capable of being forgiven, even the ones that have wronged you. Carrying hate in your soul will only weaken you further. Go through each day with a stronger mind, body, and spirit.
13. [That] was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. - John 1:9
When entering the world, there is a bright light. That's the arrival of our newborn souls. From then on, we become children of God and make the decision whether to follow his teachings.
14. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God. - Ephesians 2:8
Nobody can get through life without having faith. We trust that food prepared for us is safe, cars that get repaired will run smoothly, and the people we hire for work know what they are doing. Just like we have faith in people, places, and things, faith is placed in the hands of God to lead us through any predicament.
15. Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end. - John 13: 1-15
Jesus had to suffer and die for the sins of the world. He made the ultimate sacrifice so we could be free. Let us all try to support each other, make good choices, do simple acts of kindness, and appreciate life as we celebrate Holy Week.