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What Did Jesus' Final Week Look Like?

If you have been in church for any length of time, you know the two weeks leading up to Easter is a big deal. Typically, the Sunday before Easter, the focus is on Palm Sunday, or the day Jesus entered into Jerusalem riding a colt and people waving palm branches.

Of course, the following week is Easter, so the message should be centered on the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus by celebrating the fact that we serve a risen King!

But, what happened in between? What took place that entire last week of Jesus' life on earth?

Did He hang out somewhere until it was time to be handed over and killed? Was Jesus in hiding? Let's take a look at the timeline leading up to the resurrection:

Sunday (First day of the week) - Palm Sunday - The multitude of people gathered together intermingled with all their lambs for sacrifice. They waved palm branches which was a symbolism of Jewish nationalism and they cried, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” (Matthew 21:9b)

What they were really saying was, “Oh, Lord, save your people!” And not from their sins. They were talking about politically and nationally.

Jesus rode in on a colt not a war horse. His was of a spiritual kingdom, not a military one. His was a mission of peace, not of war, and these same people who now waved palm branches would, in a matter of days, wave their fists and shout for His death.

It was time for Jesus to give up His life for the world. He expounded on this thought in John 12:24-26 when He said that:

- His death would produce many seeds (v.24)

- His death and resurrection would glorify both Him and His Father

- A person who sees his/her life in the right perspective here and lays it down willingly, will gain much more in eternity (v. 25)

- A Christ follower must also be willing to lay their life down and serve Jesus (v.26)

Monday - Holy Monday - On this day, Jesus went into the temple and drove out the money-changers and overturned tables. He said, "It is written, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer,' but you make it a den of robbers (Matthew 21:13)."

The people would come to sacrifice in the temple, and these money-changers, along with those who sold animals for slaughter, would cheat the people and take advantage of their need.

Scholar William Barclay notes, "A pair of doves could cost as little as 4p outside the Temple and as much as 75p inside the Temple." This is almost 20 times the price. Jesus was incensed.

Also on this day, Jesus healed the blind and lame who came and congregated in the court of the Gentiles within the temple, and cursed a fig tree (Matthew 21:18-19) which had leaves but no fruit.

This act was to display a deeper point - people who claim to know God but bear no spiritual fruit, will be judged accordingly. What matters is not the promise of fruit, but the actual bearing of fruit.

Tuesday - On this day, Jesus continued to teach in the temple and was questioned by the religious leaders about His authority to teach (and do) the things He did. Jesus answered them by asking a question then offering a number of parables such as the two sons (Matthew 21:28-32) and the wicked servants (Matthew 21:33-41). He also pronounced seven woes upon the teachers of the law and the Pharisees (Matthew 23:13-38).

Jesus spent the rest of the evening teaching what is now referred to as the Olivet Discourse, which included the signs and wonders surrounding His second coming (Matthew 24-25; Mark 13; Luke 21:5-38).

Wednesday - On this day, Jesus was anointed by Mary in Bethany and Judas set the stage for Jesus' betrayal by agreeing to hand Jesus over for 30 pieces of silver (Matthew 26:1-14).

Thursday - Maundy Thursday - In the evening hours, Jesus and His disciples gathered in an upper room to observe Passover together one last time. He got up from the meal, took off His outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around His waist then began to wash each disciples' feet.

Jesus knew His time had come and in those last precious hours or so before the cross, He intended to serve and prepare His disciples to take over the ministry. This act of washing feet was a picture of humility, and considered the lowest servant’s job. It was unthinkable that a rabbi or great teacher, would wash another's feet, yet Jesus was displaying the heart of a servant and one He desired for all of His followers (John 13:1-5)

Judas, though continually seeing the heart of Jesus and the love He had for all including himself, would betray his Teacher and give the signal for Jesus' arrest.

Friday - Good Friday - In the early hours before dawn, after having spent time in agonizing prayer in the Garden, Jesus was illegally arrested by the religious leaders and a detachment of soldiers.

Jesus was taken by this large detachment of soldiers (possibly up to 600 men) and subjected to unfair and illegal trials before Annas and Caiaphas, then on to Pilate where, even though He could not be found guilty of anything worthy of death, was scourged, crowned with a thorny crown, made to wear a purple robe symbolizing royalty, tormented and mocked, and eventually forced to carry His own cross to Golgotha where He was crucified between two thieves.

Saturday - All is quiet. Jesus has been buried and the disciples have scattered. Passover is being observed. The Lamb has been slaughtered. But, Sunday's coming!

Sunday - Easter - He's alive!! Mary Magdalene and several other women go to the tomb and find it empty. The stone had been rolled away and Jesus' body is not there. An angel of the Lord tells them that He has arisen just like He said He would!

Later, Jesus appears to Mary and then to the disciples and to over 500 men and women (1 Corinthians 15:6) before returning to His Father in heaven.

This is what we celebrate. This is why Easter is so important. We serve a risen Savior who defeated sin, hell, and the grave. If you and I believe and call upon Him to save us, we will live with Him forever in eternity!

Thank you, Jesus, for dying for my sins and for taking my punishment upon yourself. Thank you for giving me hope and eternal life with You. In Your precious name! Amen.

Happy Easter everyone! He's alive!


Barclay, William "The Gospel of Matthew, Volume 2" (The New Daily Study Bible, Matthew 11-28) (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1975)


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