Holy week, as it is called, might just as easily have been called failure week.
It was a week when the weakness and human frailty of just about everyone in the Easter story was painfully exposed.
The fickleness of the crowd is staggering. From “We want Jesus to be King” to “We want a terrorist to lead us” within the space of five days must have left any polling organisations in Jerusalem looking very foolish.
Of course, we expected as much from the religious leaders. And Pontius Pilate was always going to make a decision that he believed would protect his career.
But the disciples! Judas’ deal with Jesus’ enemies to betray the Lord is astounding. The bickering over who would be the greatest in the kingdom was perhaps unsurprising. But abandoning Jesus when He was arrested probably came as a shock to the disciples themselves.
And then there is the seeming failure of Jesus’ own mission as He hangs on the cross.
Holy failure seems to be the message of holy week.
Yet even in the midst of the unfolding failure, Jesus Himself speaks of resurrection (Matthew 26.32). Even in His prediction of Peter’s denial, He speaks a word of grace: Peter will be restored and he is to strengthen his brothers (Luke 22.31-32).
Resurrection followed the cross. Easter Sunday brought grace after a week of failure. The deserting disciples were restored in their faith and recommissioned to go into the world (John 20.21).
Thankfully the week of failure wasn’t followed just by a day of grace but by a whole era of grace. An era that we still live in because of Christ’s death and resurrection. And that grace extends to each of us no matter where we find ourselves.
There are weeks that reveal our weakness. There are circumstances that unveil our susceptibility to temptation. But because of Easter there is grace. In fact, because of Christ’s resurrection, even the week of failure looks like a huge God engineered victory.