During Holy Week, churches in three provinces celebrated Jesus’ suffering virtually, considering the recent COVID-19 prevention and control guidelines.
On April 14, Maundy Thursday, Shishan Church in Suzhou, China’s eastern-coastal Jiangsu Province, held a communion service in person and online. Citing John 13:1-17, Yang Xiaoyan preached a sermon titled "The Transmission of Love", saying that Jesus washed the disciples' feet to teach them the truth of love though at that time they didn’t know why. She declared that disciples would understand the meaning of the service which was out of love and humility when they served to save other souls after Jesus was resurrected and ascended. She finally exhorted believers to serve each other, to live out and pass on the love of Jesus, and to experience God’s promised blessings.
On April 15, Good Friday, seven fellowship leaders of Yaodu District Church in Linfen City, Shanxi Province, gave seven online sermons about the seven sayings of Jesus on the cross.
Jesus said, 'Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.' (Luke 23:34) This was Jesus' last prayer on earth for his enemies. Through this prayer, the Lord set three models for us, giving “an example of intercession”, “an example of love”, and “an example of forgiveness”.
Jesus answered him, 'I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.' (Luke 23:43) There were two criminals who were crucified with Jesus, one hurled insults at Him, and the other repented and received the promise. Jesus’ life was inexhaustible and even saved a soul as he died physically.
'Dear woman, here is your son,' and to the disciple, 'Here is your mother.' (John 19:26-27) On the cross, Jesus entrusted his mother to his beloved disciple, setting an example of honoring parents. The Lord has the mission of building the kingdom of heaven, but He also fulfilled the duties of a son of man on earth. The pastor reminded Christians to follow their parents' wishes and repay them for their upbringing.
'Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.' When he had said this, he breathed his last. (Luke 23:46) These were the words that Jesus cried out with all his might at the last moment of his life, saying he had accomplished Father’s will of salvation and manifesting his unwavering faith in God.
On April 15th, Good Friday, Hangzhou Banshan Church in Zhejiang conducted an online worship service, in which a sermon was shared with the title of "Behold, He is for you and me", based on John 19:1 to 17. The preacher exhorted listeners not to be like soldiers who only wanted the Lord's clothes but didn’t know Him, urging them to imitate the Lord to live out His glory.
John 19:17 says "Carrying his own cross", but in fact it was others’ cross which Jesus was willing to carry. Bearing the cruel punishment, Jesus died for their freedom. Christians were encouraged to bring people to Him to receive the salvation, responding to God’s love.
- Translated by Abigail Wu