At the beginning of his last week, Jesus was greeted in Jerusalem as a heroic savior, someone to free the Jews from Roman authority. By the end of the week, Jesus was no longer seen as a hero. He was publicly ridiculed and disgraced as he hung on a cross.
No one knows the thoughts of our Messiah as he faced those turbulent days. But the gospel writers provide a great deal of information about Jesus’ actions during Passion Week. To his dying day, our rabbi spoke the truth and obeyed his Father’s calling.
Scholars disagree over the specific days on which certain events took place, but a general outline can be developed based on these gospel accounts.
-Jesus enters Jerusalem.
-Crowds greet him with palm branches and shouts of “Hosanna,” the battle cry of nationalistic Zealots.
-Jesus weeps for Jerusalem, knowing the Zealots’ extremism will eventually lead to the destruction of the city and the temple.
-Jesus curses the fig tree.
-Jesus returns to the temple.
-Jesus clears the Gentile courts of moneychangers and vendors.
-Religious leaders question Jesus’ authority, but Jesus evades their trick questions and speaks the truth.
-Jesus teaches in the temple, telling several parables and warning people against the hypocrisy of the Pharisees.
-Jesus predicts the destruction of the temple and tells his disciples about his future return.
-The gospel writers do not tell us what Jesus did on this day.
-Religious leaders probably continued plotting Jesus’ death, and Judas agreed to betray him.
-In the evening, Jesus celebrates the Passover meal with his disciples.
-Jesus’ institutes the Last Supper, giving the Passover meal new meaning.
-Late Thursday evening, Jesus prays at Gethsemane and is later arrested.
-Sometime later Thursday night or Friday morning, Peter denies Jesus three times and Jesus is questioned by Caiphas, the high priest.
-Just before dawn, Jesus has trials before Pilate and Herod Antipas.
-At 9 A.M., Jesus is nailed to the cross.
-Jesus dies at 3 P.M.
-To avoid breaking Sabbath law, Jesus was placed in the tomb before sundown.
-Jesus’ tomb is found empty.
-Jesus appears to the women visiting the tomb.
-Jesus appears to the travelers on the road to Emmaus.
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