Holy Week is the most important time in the church year. This is when where we turn our attention to walking these last steps with Jesus. We draw near to the home of the high priest, we follow him to Pilate’s palace, through the streets of Jerusalem, and on we go to Golgatha, where God will be crucified between two thieves.

This is a week of solemn attention to the outcome of sin. In our drive for violence and power, we crucify the Lord. We plod along with Jesus, asking ourselves the same questions that the disciples ask him at the Last Supper, “Is it I, Lord? Am I the one who will offer you up in exchange for what I want? Am I the one who will betray Jesus?”

This week, we are invited to consider the dark corners of ourselves and bring them out into the Light of God’s love and truth.

Do we find ourselves in the same vein as the chief priests, so convinced that they are mediating God’s will that we miss the very One that God had sent? Selling out God’s reign for the power by selling our souls to the governmental authorities to mete out the justice we prefer?

Do we find ourselves in the footsteps of Peter, trading Jesus for our pride? Finding ourselves trying to protect ourselves by denying the very One who gave up everything for us?

Or in the pockets of Judas, chasing money and status instead of following the God who has a thousand cattle on a thousand hills?

What about finding ourselves alongside the other Twelve, simply hiding away our faith? Only pulling it out on Sundays because that’s where we think God belongs.

Maybe this year you find yourself with the few who walked with Jesus all the way. The faithful three Mary’s, his aunt, and John who stood at the foot of the cross yet find themselves being dismissed by the remaining disciples just a few days later.

This is a week where we must inspect what is preventing us from following Jesus, to ask “How have each of us been attending to God’s presence in our lives?”

As we commit ourselves to this deep introspection, we may not always like what we discover about ourselves. But we must have the courage to see ourselves honestly, the courage to confront our own selves.

As we walk with Jesus toward the cross, pulling out these threads in our lives, we may suddenly discover that this whole “Savior business” isn’t just about blotting out our sins from a debt line. It isn’t about covering up bullet wounds with bandaids or obscuring who we are before God.

The One Walking to Golgatha, the One Carrying the Cross, the One Who Shows us God’s Love, wants to do more than that. The work of Jesus is a healing and restoration. The work of Jesus in our lives is bringing us back to life, back to who God has made us to be, back to flock. Jesus doesn’t save us only to leave us in the muck.

But the work of God in our lives is always collaborative. As we walk alongside Jesus toward his execution, we must know that his calling to us was to carry our own crosses each day. I’ve heard it put this way—God will not heal us without us.

To put another image to it, have you ever had to do physical therapy after an injury? The work of discipleship in our lives is like that. The Holy Spirit is at work, empowering us and inviting us onward, certainly. But if we don’t actually get up and do the prescribed exercises, those muscles aren’t going to heal. We may still enjoy some of the benefits of healing, but we end up missing out on the fullness of life that’s possible for us.

So each year, we come back around to Holy Week. We come back to these days where we hear the Good News of the Gospel over and over and over. We hear again the call to walk with Jesus. We hear again the invitation to lay aside our sin. We hear again the hammer falls and hear of Jesus’s death.

So that, in just a few short days, we are reminded that the miracle of resurrection changes everything. We are reminded that there is nothing, not even death, that can separate us from God’s love.

So let us walk together with Jesus. Let us have the courage to face ourselves and be honest about what has ensnared us. So that the God of Resurrection can breathe new life into us, awakening us to the fullness of all that the Spirit is bringing to birth in this world.