“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Holy Week is the seven days from Palm Sunday through Holy Saturday. We call them holy because they are focused on the life and death of our Savior Jesus. But surely for the God-Man they must have seemed unholy, as he faithfully and purposefully lived each hour that brought him closer to the suffering and death he knew full well lay ahead.

On Palm Sunday he was hailed by the crowds as a king! Loud were their shouts, willingly they paved his path with branches and cloaks! Royal treatment, indeed, and certainly deserved by the Messiah promised of God so long ago! But Jesus knew it for what it was – a hollow gesture that reflected a fleeting loyalty. He saw beyond the royal entrance to what would follow. Amazing love.

In fact, the very next day he was cleansing the temple of those who were defiling the house of God. All through Monday and Tuesday he continued his preaching and teaching, seeking to bring in the lost, all the while knowing what lay ahead. Amazing love.

By Thursday it was time to celebrate the Passover, just as generations before had done. Jesus calmly gathered his 12 closest followers, including the one who would betray him. In fact, he reached out to his betrayer in love to warn him of the consequences of what he was about to do. Even as Judas signaled in the garden which man was Jesus, Jesus addressed him as “Friend”. Amazing love.

And so the suffering continued:  Peter’s denial, with curses, of his connection with Jesus. The agony of prayer in the garden while his disciples gave in to their exhaustion. The angry mob come to arrest him. His trials before the Jewish court and Pilate, the mockery and ridicule of King Herod’s men. The crown of thorns, the exhaustion, the whipping, the painful walk to the Place of the Skull. The nails pounded into his body, the horrible pressure as the weight of his body was suspended from those nails. Hour after hour of pain, more words of mockery, and yet—energy to assure a repentant thief of his place in heaven that very day! Amazing love.

Then, at last, the final great agony—separation from God, hell itself. Why? WHY? Jesus is the Son of God, “he who had no sin”, yet he paid our debt, his life and death bought us back from Satan. Why? –“so that we might become the righteousness of God”! You and I and all mankind are saved from the condemnation our sins bring down on us. Our God and brother Jesus, himself holy, paid our debt. Now the Father sees us, his children by faith, not merely as “pretty good”, “better than most”; no, he sees us as righteousness itself -- not as beings merely possessing holiness, but as holiness itself! Amazing love.

And then the amazing joy of Easter Sunday! The disbelief, the incomprehension, the misunderstanding of his disciples as they contemplated the evidence of the empty tomb. What had happened? Slowly, fearfully, they believed what Jesus had told them would occur – after three days he would rise again. Clearly, here was their beloved Rabbi, their friend and Savior, not tired, not sorrowful, not suffering, but alive and glorious! Here was Jesus assuring them of eternal peace, opening the Scriptures to them, showing himself in the coming weeks to many, as incontrovertible proof of his divinity and his victory over sin, death, and Satan. Amazing love.

But his work was not finished. Before his visible return to his rightful place in heaven, he had a command to give his followers—us—“Go and make disciples of all nations.” Amazing love.

And that is what we do, as we support our church’s outreach efforts near and far. With Easter joy in our hearts, we go forth every day in prayer, with words of encouragement, and with an attitude of urgency as we set our priorities to share Jesus’ amazing love with the world.