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             A Chronology of the Passion Week
   
Introduction

The book of Genesis (beginnings) records that in six days God created the heavens and the earth.  In each of those drama-packed days the power and wisdom of God rippled through a universe in the process of being born.  On the seventh day God rested.  Yet, history will never record a week as far-reaching in its impact and implications as the final week of Christ's earthly ministry. This eventful week transcends the week of creation as it points to a new creation—free from the stain of sin and the sting of death.  In this "holy week" God won the battle of the ages when He raised His Son from the dead, thereby crushing the head of the serpent with a fatal blow! (Genesis 3:15)  By the death of one man, Jesus Christ, comes eternal life for all who trust in Him. 

To God be the glory!


Note: Some of the events listed below are recorded at slightly different times or in slightly different order by the four gospel writers.  However, all are in agreement as to the events actually taking place during the last week of Christ's life, His crucifixion, burial, and His triumphant resurrection.

SUNDAY (Palm Sunday)                                                                                                                   

A Day of Acclaim...

The sacred drama of Holy week begins with a shout of praise: “The crowds that went ahead of him [Jesus] and those that followed shouted, Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! "Hosanna in the highest!" (Matt.21:9)  This is a day of triumph.  Christ rides into the holy city of Jerusalem and is hailed as King.  Let the triumphal entry of the Holy One set the theme for your praise and adoration this week. Go forth with joy to meet him.  Invite Him into the holy city of your heart!

Jesus triumphantly enters Jerusalem...
      (Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-10; Luke 19:29-38; John 12:12-19)
Jesus weeps over the city...
      (Luke 19:39-44)

Thought:  Many sects were among the crowds that met Jesus on the way to Jerusalem. Each interpreted His claim of being the long awaited Messiah in a different way. The Zealots expected him to expel their Roman oppressors by force. The Pharisee's expected praise for their "religious" leadership, while the Herodians (followers of Herod) saw Jesus as one who would spoil their comfort and freedoms. How do you see Christ? What are you expecting of Him?  What are you trusting Him for?


MONDAY

 
A Day of Authority...


Jesus curses a fig tree...
      (Matthew 21:18-20; Mark 11:12-14)
Jesus cleanses the Temple...
      (Matthew 21:12-13; Mark 11:15-17; Luke 19:45-46)

Thought: Early in the spring before the leaves opened, the Palestinian fig tree produced a green fruit which was eaten by the peasants. Jesus sought this fruit on the way to Jerusalem, but found only leaves. What fruit would Jesus likely find on the "fig tree" of your own Christian experience?


TUESDAY


A Day of Argument...


Jesus teaches by parables in the Temple...
      (Matthew 21:23 to 22:14; Mark 11:27 to 12:9; Luke 20:1-16)
Jesus confounds the religious leaders of His day...
      (Matthew 22:15 to 23:36; Mark 12:13-40; Luke 20:20-47)
Jesus delivers the Olivet Discourse...
      (Matthew 24:1 to 25:46; Mark 13:1-37; Luke 21:5-36)
 
Thought: Jesus concludes the Olivet Discourse by emphasizing the unknown time of the end and His second coming. To "watch" in this context means to be alert and awake to one's own spiritual condition. In what areas do you need to be awakened and more alert?


WEDNESDAY


A Day of Aloneness...


As far as the Bible is concerned, this day appears to be blank in the Passion Week, but it is likely that Jesus and His disciples remained in retirement at Bethany from Tuesday evening till Thursday afternoon.

Jesus is anointed at Bethany...
      (Matthew 26:6-13; Mark 14:3-9; John 12:1-8)
Judas plots with the Sanhedrin...
      (Matthew 26:1-5, 14-16; Mark 14:1-2, 10-11; Luke 22:1-6)

Thought: Judas betrayed Jesus for the sum of thirty pieces of silver, roughly equivalent to about $20 in our economy. Though we may never think of committing such a terrible deed we betray Christ daily in our thoughts and actions. There is a little bit of Judas in each of us. Let us give thanks and praise to Him whose grace and mercy extends to every part of our lives.


THURSDAY
(Maundy Thursday)

A Day of Accomplishments...


Jesus eats the Passover meal (Last Supper)...
      (Matthew 26:17-29; Mark 14:12-25; Luke 22:7-20)
Jesus delivers His last words to His disciples...
      (John 13-17)
Jesus prays in the garden and is betrayed...
      (Matthew 26:36-56; Mark 14:32-52; Luke 22:39-51; John 18:1-13)

Thought: In the 13th chapter of John we see Christ washing the feet of His disciples. Service to others marked our Lord's life--and death. Christ's life and death has set redeemed sinners free. In what ways might we now use our freedom to serve others?


FRIDAY
(Good Friday)

A Day of Anguish... 

In the days of the early Christian church, only Easter Sunday was celebrated as a holy day.  By the fourth century, each day of the week preceding Easter was established as a holy day including what we now know as "Good Friday."  To most Christians, Good Friday is really a misnomer in that it was a "bad" day—the crucifixion day of Jesus Christ.  Some believe the term "good" evolved from "God" or God's Friday.  Others believe "good" represents the good gift of salvation brought forth by Christ's substitutionary death upon a Roman cross.  Either way, it has become a holy day throughout the entire Christian world. 

Jesus is brought before Annas...
      (John 18:12-14, 19-23)
Jesus is brought before Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin...
      (Matthew 26:59-68; Mark 14:55-65; Luke 22:63-71; John 18:19-24)
Jesus is brought before Pilate...
      (Matthew 27:1-2, 11-14; Mark 15:1-5; Luke 23:1-5; John 18:28-38)
Jesus is sent to Herod Antipas...
      (Luke 23:6-12)
Jesus is condemned by Pilate and mocked...
      (Matthew 27:15-30; Mark 15:6-19; Luke 23:13-25; John 19:1-16)
Jesus is crucified at Golgotha...
      (Matthew 27:31-56; Mark 15:20-41; Luke 23:26-49; John 19:16-30)
Jesus is buried in Joseph's tomb...
      (Matthew 27:57-60; Mark 15:42-47; Luke 23:50-55; John 19:31-42)

Thought: The death of Jesus shattered the lives of His disciples and left all who believed in Him feeling lost and without hope. Sometimes painful events in our own lives leave us feeling much the same.  Can you think of someone (perhaps even yourself) who is feeling that way right now?  How could you pray for that person?  How might you relate what Christ has done for you?

Thank God the gospel does not end with Christ in the tomb, but with His glorious victory over death!


SATURDAY (Holy Saturday)

A Day of Absence...


Pilate seals Jesus' tomb and appoints a guard...
      (Matthew 27:62-66; Luke 23:56)

Thought: The chief priests and Pharisees remembered Christ's promise to rise from the dead and were worried enough to ask for a guard over His tomb. There will always be those who have good reason to fear what we so earnestly look forward to. What are some of the ways this "fear factor" plays itself out on the world's stage?


SUNDAY (Resurrection Sunday!)

A Day of Appearances!


Jesus rises from the dead and shows himself to Mary Magdalene...
      (Mark 16:9-11; John 20:11-18)
Jesus shows himself to other women...
      (Matthew 28:8-10; Mark 16:8; Luke 24:9-11)
Jesus shows himself to Peter...
      (Luke 24:34, cf.1Cor.15:5)
Jesus shows himself to disciples on the road to Emmaus...
      (Mark 16:12-13; Luke 24:13-35)
Jesus shows himself to the disciples without Thomas...
      (Mark 16:14; Luke 24:36-49; John 20:19-23)
 
Thought: Jesus is Risen! He is truly alive! If this is true, what does it prove?  If this is true, what could it mean?  How could really knowing this in your heart change your present outlook?  How has Jesus shown himself alive to you recently?

If the world were watching, could it tell the risen Christ was alive and well in your life?


 

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