On Sunday, Passion Week (also known as Holy Week) will begin which is the week between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday. This post will specifically relate to what occurred between Palm Sunday and Good Friday. GotQuestions.org gives the following information on Passion Week/Holy Week:
Passion Week (also known as Holy Week) is the time from Palm Sunday through Easter Sunday (Resurrection Sunday). Also included within Passion Week are Holy Monday, Holy Tuesday, Spy Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday. Passion Week is so named because of the passion with which Jesus willingly went to the cross in order to pay for the sins of His people. Passion Week is described in Matthew chapters 21-27; Mark chapters 11-15; Luke chapters 19-23; and John chapters 12-19. Passion Week begins with the triumphal entry on Palm Sunday on the back of a colt as prophesied in Zechariah 9:9.
Passion Week contained several memorable events. Jesus cleansed the Temple for the second time (Luke 19:45-46), then disputed with the Pharisees regarding His authority. Then He gave His Olivet Discourse on the end times and taught many things, including the signs of His second coming. Jesus ate His Last Supper with His disciples in the upper room (Luke 22:7-38), then went to the garden of Gethsemane to pray as He waited for His hour to come. It was here that Jesus, having been betrayed by Judas, was arrested and taken to several sham trials before the chief priests, Pontius Pilate, and Herod (Luke 22:54-23:25).
Following the trials, Jesus was scourged at the hands of the Roman soldiers, then was forced to carry His own instrument of execution (the Cross) through the streets of Jerusalem along what is known as the Via Dolorosa (way of sorrows). Jesus was then crucified at Golgotha on the day before the Sabbath, was buried and remained in the tomb until Sunday, the day after the Sabbath, and then gloriously resurrected.
It is referred to as Passion Week because in that time, Jesus Christ truly revealed His passion for us in the suffering He willingly went through on our behalf. What should our attitude be during Passion Week? We should be passionate in our worship of Jesus and in our proclamation of His Gospel! As He suffered for us, so should we be willing to suffer for the cause of following Him and proclaiming the message of His death and resurrection. (Quote source here.)
One of the things anyone notices about the Gospels is that they each tell the story of Jesus’ Passion in their own way, and that it’s very difficult to square the chronologies (Ian Paul on his blog has a good discussion of this).
There are various things that do appear to have happened, though, in whatever order they might have been.
- The Sanhedrin (the Jewish Council) met and agreed to betray Jesus (Matthew 27:3-5).
- Jesus was anointed at Bethany (Matthew 26:6-13, Mark 14:3-9). What seems to be a version of this story appears in Luke’s Gospel in chapter 7, 36-50; in John, it happens before the Triumphal Entry (12:1-11) and Mary is named as the woman.
- Jesus curses the fig tree, which withers and dies. It’s a symbolic parable of judgment (Matthew 21:18-22, Mark 11:12-14, 21).
- Jesus cleanses the Temple (Matthew 21:12-16, Mark 11:15-19, Luke 19:45-47). In John 2:13-16 this happens at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry; some commentators think it may have happened twice, others that it’s the same story put in a different context.
- Jesus debates with the Pharisees and Sadducees and teaches the crowds. Matthew has the parable of the wedding banquet and the parable of the tenants, for instance, the teaching about paying taxes to Caesar (22-23) and a section on the ‘signs of the end of the age’. Mark and Luke have the story of the widow’s mite (Luke 21:1-4). John has a long section of teaching directed at the disciples (14-17).
- Judas agrees to betray Jesus (Matthew 26:14-16, Luke 22:1-6); the Wednesday of Holy Week is sometimes called Spy Wednesday for this reason.
- Jesus predicts his death (John 12: 20-36).
- He shares a Last Supper with his disciples (Matthew 26:17-30, Mark 14:12-26, Luke 22, John 13).
- He and his disciples go to the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-46, Mark 14:32-52, Luke 22:39-46, John 18:1-11). In Luke’s and John’s Gospels the garden is not named. It’s there that Jesus is arrested.
All of these things appear in the different Gospels between Palm Sunday and Good Friday. We should be aware, though, that they didn’t have the same ideas about chronology as us: they were writing history, but of a particular type. So they would have thought it perfectly reasonable to shift things around a bit to make it fit the meaning of the story. What seems likely, though, is that Jesus was in the public eye and that there were confrontations with authority. On a purely human level, he must have known that the end was coming. For anyone else, that would paralyze them with fear. But Jesus continued his ministry, preaching, teaching and challenging, when he could have left the city and been safe at any time.
During this week we look forward to Good Friday, quite rightly. But the shadow of the cross was already darkening over Jesus – and he did not falter for a moment. (Quote source here.)
The last of five discourses given by Jesus during his ministry occurred in the middle of Passion Week and is known as the “Olivet Discourse” (Discourse of the End Times) as it was given on the Mount of Olives. The following information below describing all five discourses is taken from Wikipedia:
- “Sermon on the Mount” (Matthew 5-7) is one of the best known and most quoted parts of the New Testament. It includes the Beatitudes and the Lord’s Prayer. To most believers in Jesus, the Sermon on the Mount contains the central tenets of Christian discipleship, The Beatitudes are a key element of this sermon, and are expressed as a set of “blessings.” The Beatitudes present a new set of Christian ideals that focus on love and humility rather than force and exaction; they echo the highest ideals of the teachings of Jesus on mercy, spirituality and compassion. They also teach on issues such as divorce, lust, and worldliness; issues pertaining to persecution; further instruction on how to pray; and words on false prophets.
- The second discourse in Matthew 10 provides instructions to the Twelve Apostles and is sometimes called the “Mission Discourse” or the “Missionary Discourse” or the “Little Commission” in contrast to the Great Commission. This discourse is directed to the twelve apostles who are named in Matthew 10:2-3.
- The third discourse in Matthew 13 :1-53 provides several parables for the Kingdom of Heaven and is often called the “Parabolic Discourse.” The first part of this discourse in Matthew 13:1-35 takes place outside when Jesus leaves a house and sits near the Lake to address the disciples as well as the multitudes of people who have gathered to hear him. This part includes the parables of the Sower, the Tares, the Mustard Seed and the Leaven. In the second part Jesus goes back inside the house and addresses the disciples. This part includes the parables of the Hidden Treasure, the Pearl and Drawing in the Net.
- The fourth discourse in Matthew 18 is often called the “Discourse on the Church.” It includes the parables of The Lost Sheep and The Unforgiving Servant which also refer to the Kingdom of Heaven. The general theme of the discourse is the anticipation of a future community of followers, and the role of his apostles in leading it. Addressing his apostles in Matthew 18:18, Jesus states: “what things soever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and what things soever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven”, see also Binding and loosing…. The discourse emphasizes the importance of humility and self-sacrifice as the high virtues within the anticipated community. It teaches that in the Kingdom of God, it is childlike humility that matters, not social prominence and clout.
- The final discourse is usually taken to include Matthew 23, 24, and 25. Matthew 24 is usually called the “Olivet Discourse“ because it was given on the Mount of Olives, and is also referred to as the “Discourse on the End Times.” The discourse corresponds to Mark 13 and Luke 21 and is mostly about judgment and the expected conduct of the followers of Jesus, and the need for vigilance by the followers in view of the coming judgment. The discourse is prompted by a question the disciples ask about the “end of the age” (End times or end of this world and beginning of the world to come) and receives the longest response provided by Jesus in the New Testament. The discourse is generally viewed as referring both to the coming destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, as well as the End Times and Second Coming of Christ, but the many scholarly opinions about the overlap of these two issues, and exactly which verses refer to which event remain divided and complex. (Quote source here.)
It is this last discourse, the “Olivet Discourse,” that takes place right before Jesus is arrested. In an article published on July 14, 2017, titled, “Making Sense of the Olivet Discourse,” by Paul Carter, Lead Pastor at the First Baptist Church Orilla (Ontario), he writes:
Matthew 24 begins what is sometimes called “The Olivet Discourse.” In it, Jesus talks about the near and far future for the church. Bible scholars often point out the importance of recalling the precise question the disciples asked that precipitated this entire discourse: “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” (Matthew 24:3 ESV)
There are clearly two parts to that question. Jesus had just prophesied the destruction of the temple, and the disciples asked when that would happen AND what will be the sign of your coming and the end of the age.
The trick is that Jesus understood those two events were not concurrent. The temple was destroyed in AD 70, yet Jesus still hasn’t returned as of today—but the disciples didn’t and couldn’t have known that. They assumed that the destruction of the temple would be the climactic event of the end times. They didn’t realize that it would only be the beginning. Therefore, as we listen to what Jesus said by way of response, we have to remember that he is talking about a near future and a far future and we have to understand which is which. There are a couple of key indicators in the text. Look for examples at verse 6 and verse 8. After talking about some things that would happen he says: “but the end is not yet” (v. 6) and “All these are but the beginning of the birth pains” (v. 8).
The end is not yet. This is just the beginning. Jesus seems to be saying that a bunch of things are going to happen that are NOT the end times events the disciples were thinking they were. Things like wars, things like the rise and fall of empires, things like massive natural disasters. Those things are not signals of the end–rather they are more like table setters. They are like birth pangs. They open the door, but they are not the baby.
After these things, you want to watch for a couple of indicators. Watch for the Great Commission to be completed in an environment of increasing persecution, tribulation, false religion and apostasy; then the end will come. Look at verse 14: “And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14 ESV).
Following that, there will be a short season of intense persecution and tribulation after which: “The sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” (Matthew 24:29–31 ESV)
The Bible records Jesus’ visiting the Mount of Olives three times in the last week of His earthly life, and each time something of significance happened. The first visit is what we call the triumphal entry. The donkey Jesus rode that day was found in the area of Bethany and Bethphage, on the east side of the Mount of Olives (Luke 19:29–30). Then, “when he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen” (verse 37). While still on the Mount of Olives, Jesus looked at the vista in front of Him, wept over the city, and pronounced a judgment against it (verses 41–44).
Jesus’ second visit was to deliver what has come to be known as the Olivet Discourse, recorded in Matthew 24:1 —25:46. Parallel passages are found in Mark 13:1–37 and Luke 21:5–36. The content of the Olivet Discourse is Jesus’ response to His disciples’ question “When will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?” (Matthew 24:3). Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 24—25 primarily concerns the coming destruction of Jerusalem, the future tribulation period, and the second coming of Christ at the end of the tribulation. The Discourse includes parables about those who wait for the Master’s coming—the wise and faithful servant (Matthew 24:45–51), the five wise virgins (Matthew 25:1–13), and the good servant who uses his resources wisely (Matthew 25:14–30).
Jesus’ third visit during the week of His passion was on the night He was betrayed. That evening began with the Last Supper in Jerusalem and ended in the Garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives. During that last Passover meal, Jesus washed His disciples’ feet and then revealed Judas as the betrayer (John 13:1–30). At the conclusion of the meal, Jesus established the New Covenant and instituted the Lord’s Supper (Matthew 26:26–29; 1 Corinthians 11:23–26). Then He took His disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane (literally, “Garden of the Oil-press”) located on the western slope of the Mount of Olives. There Jesus prayed in agony as He contemplated the day to come. So overcome by the horror of what He was to experience in the crucifixion the following day that His sweat was “like drops of blood” (Luke 22:44) and God sent an angel from heaven to strengthen Him (Luke 22:43).
After Jesus prayed, Judas Iscariot arrived with a multitude of soldiers, high priests, Pharisees, and servants to arrest Jesus. Judas identified Jesus by the prearranged signal of a kiss, which he gave to Jesus. Trying to protect Jesus, Peter drew a sword and attacked a man named Malchus, the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear. Jesus rebuked Peter and healed the man’s ear, displaying the miraculous power of God (Luke 22:51). Nevertheless, the mob arrested Jesus and took Him to face trial, while the disciples scattered in fear for their lives.
After the trials, crucifixion, and resurrection, Jesus once again stood on the Mount of Olives. During His final post-resurrection appearance, Jesus led His disciples “out to the vicinity of Bethany, [and] he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy” (Luke 24:50–52). Acts 1:12 specifies that “the vicinity of Bethany” was indeed the Mount of Olives.
Immediately following Jesus’ ascension, two angels told the disciples on the Mount of Olives that “this same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11). According to the prophet Zechariah, Jesus will return not only in the same way, but to the same place. In a prophecy related to the end times, Zechariah declares, “On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south” (Zechariah 14:4). The very location where David wept in defeat and where Jesus was betrayed and rejected will be the place where Jesus returns in triumph over all His enemies. (Quote source here.)
Regarding Good Friday of Passion Week, GotQuestions.org provides the following information:
Good Friday, also known as “Holy Friday,” is the Friday immediately preceding Easter Sunday. It is celebrated traditionally as the day on which Jesus was crucified. If you are interested in a study of the issue, please see our article that discusses the various views on which day Jesus was crucified….
Why is Good Friday referred to as “good”? What the Jewish authorities and Romans did to Jesus was definitely not good (see Matthew chapters 26-27). However, the results of Christ’s death are very good! Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” First Peter 3:18 tells us, “For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit.”
Many Christian churches celebrate Good Friday with a subdued service, usually in the evening, in which Christ’s death is remembered with solemn hymns, prayers of thanksgiving, a message centered on Christ’s suffering for our sake, and observance of the Lord’s Supper. Whether or not Christians choose to “celebrate” Good Friday, the events of that day should be ever on our minds because the death of Christ on the cross—along with His bodily resurrection—is the paramount event of the Christian faith. (Quote source here.)
While this post ends with Good Friday, Easter Sunday is coming. And Jesus didn’t stay in the grave. He has risen just like he said he would (see Luke 24). So I’ll end this post with these three words . . .
YouTube Video: “Easter Song” (1974) by The Second Chapter of Acts: