In Holy Week, believers review and meditate on how Jesus went through this period to understand the meaning of His crucifixion and resurrection. A church in north China’s Shanxi Province held virtual worship services to mark the most important festival in the Church Year.
Three female pastors from Yaodu District Church in Linfen City gave three sermons from April 10 to 12.
Rev. Geng Fuqin on Palm Sunday delivered a sermon titled "He Who Waits on God Has No Fear", citing Matthew 21:1-11. She declared Jesus embarked on the road of self-denial and suffering when He entered the Holy City, but the Israelites in Jerusalem did not know the purpose of His coming, but took the Lord as "king" who could free them from Roman rule.
Rev. Geng asked the congregation whether the Lord they understood was the real Jesus or just based on their own needs.
Finally, she reminded listeners that the celebrations of the Passion Week and Easter Sunday were to let them know the true Lord and the true purpose of Jesus' coming, as well as welcome and worship the true King who was building the kingdom of God on earth.
Based on Mark 11:13, Pastor Zhang Xiping on Holy Monday preached a sermon with the title of "Cleansing the Temple", sharing that Jesus cursed a fig tree as he wanted to look for fruit on it, which was full of leaves but without any fruit. Zhang said this story was a warning to the people of Israel, who made appearances but did not bear the fruit of life.
The fig tree is a symbol of Israel, and the tree with bare branches and no fruit reflected the state of Israel at that time. Israel claimed to be loved by God and to be loyal to God, but they were greedy for money and gain, and godless. They claimed to be well versed in the law of Moses, but in reality they knew nothing of the will of God. They had beautiful appearance, but did not manifest humility or love.
Then, Pastor Zhang urged believers to always check whether they had fruitful lives, saying if they did not live for the Lord, the curse of the fig tree would come upon them.
Later, the pastor explained that the cleaning of the temple was righteous wrath for the deeds of Israelites who defiled the temple, not out of Jesus’ temper.
Zhang said Jesus could not only purify the temple in Jerusalem, but also the temple of their hearts, reminding the church members to see whether their hearts were full of lust, evil thoughts, idolatry, and pride, like "a den of robbers". After Jesus drove out those who were selling in the temple, He healed the blind and the lame, restoring the worship in the temple. The female pastor said during the Holy Week, the Lord also intended to come into believers’ hearts to restore true worship and lead them back to God again.
The next day, Tuesday of Holy Week, Pastor Wang Baoqin of the church gave a sermon titled "Jesus Teaches His Disciples", citing Luke 21:34-36. She shared about the three things that entangled the people, such as dissipation, drunkenness, and anxieties of life, as well as Jesus’ three teachings, including “be careful”, “be always on watch”, and “always pray”.
On Holy Wednesday, April 13, Pastor Guo Lingquan gave a sermon titled "Jesus Christ in Hidden Retreat", saying Jesus chose to rest quietly on that day to regain his strength through fellowship with God though He was very busy after entering the Holy City.
Guo made a conclusion that the congregation should temporarily put everything aside, come close to God to accept God’s will for their life and work, and renew their strength by obeying the word of God.
On Maundy Thursday, Pastor Wang Shuai preached a sermon with the title "Fellowship and Rest", stating that through praying, sharing meals, and washing His disciples’ feet, Jesus declared that true communion with God was not just a word of faith, but a concrete act of mutual service.
- Translated by Abigail Wu