by Dr. Mary Logan
Having just returned from Israel last month, the places where Jesus lived and walked as he healed the sick, raised the dead, and ministered to the multitudes are very vivid in my mind. So, this Holy Week has been even more meaningful to me. What were the major events that occurred during Jesus Christ’s week of Passion?
Jesus of Nazareth, who claimed to be the Messiah, had been preaching the Kingdom of God for three years and was growing in popularity. The High Priest and the Jewish authorities saw Him as a serious threat, especially after Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, which caused many to believe in Him.
Being a subject nation, the Jewish leaders knew that they did not have the power to condemn Jesus to death. Only the Roman Governor could do so. Since this was Passover Week, with many pilgrims coming to Jerusalem, thus began the Holy Week.
On His way to Jerusalem, as they neared Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples ahead to find a donkey tied and her colt with her. Jesus instructed the disciples to untie the donkey and bring the donkey and the colt to Him.
Sitting on the donkey, Jesus made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, which fulfilled the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9.
The multitudes cried out, saying “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest.” (Matt. 21:9)
Jesus and his disciples probably spent the night with Mary, Martha, and Lazarus in Bethany, a town about two miles east of Jerusalem.
Monday of Holy Week
On Monday morning Jesus and His disciples returned to Jerusalem. On the way, Jesus cursed a fig tree which had leaves but no fruit, a symbol of God’s judgment on Israel’s spiritually dead religious leaders. Some scholars believe the symbolism extends to all believers and that true faith must bear spiritual fruit.
Jesus went into the temple, drove out everyone who was buying and selling and kicked over the tables of money changers and stalls of dove merchants.
He said “It is written . . . ‘My house is a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of robbers.’” (Luke 19:46)
That evening Jesus stayed in Bethany again.
Tuesday of Holy Week
As Jesus and His disciples passed by the withered fig tree on their way to Jerusalem, Jesus taught them about faith.
When Jesus came into the temple, the religious leaders aggressively confronted Him, hoping for an opportunity to arrest Him. Jesus pronounced judgment on them:
“. . . blind guides! . . . You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful
on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything
unclean.” (Matt. 23:24-27)
That afternoon Jesus and His disciples went to the Mount of Olives, which overlooks Jerusalem east of the Temple. Jesus prophesied the destruction of Jerusalem and taught in parables about the end times. That night Jesus and the disciples stayed again in Bethany.
Wednesday of Holy Week
The Scriptures do not say what Jesus and His disciples did on this day. Scholars speculate that the day was spent resting in Bethany.
Jesus sent Peter and John from Bethany to Jerusalem to reserve a place for the Passover meal. After sunset that evening, Jesus and the disciples gathered together for the meal, and Jesus washed the disciples feet, humbly demonstrating how they were to love one another.
Our Lord established the Lord’s Supper, or Communion, at this last Passover meal. Jesus himself, about to fulfill the meaning of the Passover, instructed His followers to remember His sacrifice by sharing in the bread and wine.
After leaving the Upper Room, Jesus and the disciples went to the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus cried out, just like a child, in brokenness and dependency
“My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” (Matt. 26:39).
The cup that He asked God to remove from Him was not death itself. Instead, it was the separation from His Father.
Later that evening in the garden, Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus with a kiss. Jesus was arrested by the Sanhedrin and taken to the High Priest. A case was made against Jesus by the whole council. In the early morning hours as the trial began, Peter denied Christ. After the rooster crowed, he wept bitterly. Hearing of the death sentence, Judas committed suicide.
This day was the most difficult day of the entire week. Jesus was mocked, beaten, falsely accused, and sentenced to death by crucifixion. Soldiers spit on Him, tormented Him, and placed a crown of thorns upon His head.
Jesus carried His own cross to Calvary, where the Roman Soldiers nailed Him to that wooden cross. His first words from the cross were
“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing . . .” (Luke 23:34)
Around 3 p.m., Jesus breathed His last breath and died. By 6 p.m., His body was taken down from the cross and laid in a tomb.
Saturday of Holy Week
Throughout this Sabbath day, Roman soldiers guarded the tomb where Jesus’ body lay. When the Sabbath ended, Nicodemus
“. . . brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs.” (John 19:39-40)
On this day, Jesus did battle in the grave. Not only did He bear our sins on the cross, but He also carried them to the grave, leaving them buried forever. He became the perfect, spotless sacrifice.
“For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that
you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your
forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or
defect.” (I Peter 1:18-19)
The resurrection of Jesus Christ, which we call Easter, is the crux of the Christian faith. All of the doctrine of Christianity hinges on the truth of this event.
Early that morning, several women went to the tomb and discovered the stone had already been rolled away. An angel told them
“Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay” (Matt. 28:5-6).
On this day, Jesus Christ made several appearances to others. These eyewitness accounts provide undeniable evidence of His resurrection.
Why is Jesus Christ’s resurrection so important to us? It not only shows God’s power, but it also is a testimony to the resurrection of human beings, which is a tenet of the Christian faith.
Only Christianity has a founder who transcends death and promises that, as His followers, we will do the same. The grave could not hold Him. HE LIVES!
Mary Logan, Ed.D., is a Course Development Specialist and Professor of Business and Education at Global University. For more information visit www.globaluniversity.edu