Passion Week, A Friendly Reminder to Humanity

Ramon Arias | March 29, 2015

Over 2 billion people in the world profess the Christian faith; most of them, in theory, know the significance of the Passion Week. In human events, Palm Sunday to the crucifixion of Christ was the most powerful week ever recorded. Why is this so? It was the week that culminated the long awaited redemption for the human race since its pronouncement over 4,200 years prior; this was fulfilled when Jesus said his last words: "It is finished!"  

 “After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), ‘I thirst.’… ‘It is finished,’ and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit” (John 19:28,30).

The Jews of Jesus’ generation knew that the Messiah was to come just as the Scriptures revealed and yet, while he walked among them, they rejected Him. How could they make such a terrible mistake? It was because Jesus did not fit their misguided expectations due to misinterpretation of the law and the prophets. They only wanted God's benefits without fulfilling His requirements. That is not how the world of God's ethics works; we would do well to learn the lessons from their dreadful mistakes: 

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light. The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.  He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:1-13).

This calendar week is a friendly reminder to the world, including Christians, to consider the price generation after generation has paid for not acknowledging God’s solution to all of the complexities of the problems humans face due to their sinful nature. Just for the record, Jesus did not establish a religion, rather He established the Kingdom of God here on earth and in the hearts of men (Matthew 4:17; Mark 1:14-15; Luke 17:20-21). We must also consider the great changes and benefits this great event brought to humanity for the last 2,000 years. The evidence in these two millennia of history should lead us to embrace God’s wisdom to build our lives and a better world. 

I highly encourage you to follow the events of this remarkable historical week as they occurred in the Bible day by day. As you do, ask the Holy Spirit to give you a greater understanding of the happenings that marked history forever and the parallels in our times. Ask Him to show you what you can do to make the difference where things must be changed.

Sunday

We begin with Jesus' triumphant entrance into Jerusalem:

Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:29-44; John 12:12-19

Monday

Matthew 21:12-22; Mark 11:22-26; Luke 19:45,46

  • He leaves Bethany
  • He curses the fig tree on the way into Jerusalem
  • He weeps over Jerusalem 
  • He cleanses the temple for the second time in His public life 
  • He leaves the city 
  • He spends the night in Bethany 

Tuesday

Matthew 21:20-26:46; Mark 11:20-13:37; Luke 20:1-21:36; John 12:20-38

  • He leaves Bethany
  • The fig tree lesson on faith and God’s expectation for His people to be productive always implementing His Culture  
  • The leadership question His authority and He teaches them with a stern warning of the coming calamities and condemns them for misguiding the people with their doctrines of men
  • He uses three parables to elaborate on the condemnation of the leaders  
  • On His way back to Bethany He reveals to the disciples the coming judgment of God and the destruction of the Temple. This dialogue with the disciples is better known as the Olivet Discourse  
  • Judas Iscariot makes a deal with the religious leaders of the Sanhedrin to betray Jesus
  • He spends the night in Bethany 

Wednesday

At this point, the Gospels don’t register any public activity. The religious leaders are busy planning Jesus’ arrest.

Thursday

The disciples arranged for the Passover meal to begin at sundown (between 6 to 11 PM). Matthew 26 & 27; Mark 14 & 15; Luke 22 & 23; John 18 & 19

  • Jesus eats the meal with the twelve disciples.
  • The lesson of washing their feet
  • He singles out Judas as his betrayer 

Jesus Teaches the New Covenant and the Lord’s Supper

  • He orders Judas to carry out his plan of betrayal
  • Jesus tells Peter how he will betray Him
  • In great detail He reveals to them what they needed to know (John 14-16)
  • Before leaving their gathering place He prays for them and His future disciples (John 17)

Around midnight, they arrive at the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus awaits his arrest

  • Judas arrives with the soldiers
  • Peter uses his sword
  • Jesus heals the ear
  • He is arrested and taken to the house of the High Priest

Friday

Jesus goes through several trials that began after midnight through to early Friday morning

First trial: is with Annas.

Second trial: is by Caiaphas and the council/Sanhedrin. 

  • All charges against Him were based on accusing Him of being a false prophet and a blasphemer
  • He is condemned and mistreated
  • Peter denies his relation with Jesus three times
  • Judas commits suicide   

Third trial: they decide to petition the Roman government to execute Jesus.   

Fourth trial: He is taken before Pontius Pilate.

  • Jesus is accused of treason

Fifth trial: Pilate sends Jesus to Herod Antipas who had jurisdiction over Galilee.

  • Jesus refuses to answer Herod
  • Herod sends Jesus back to Pilate
  • Jesus is sent back before Pilate where he is horribly beaten

Sixth trial: Pilate has to rule on these unconformable and illogical charges. 

  • Pilate finds no evidence in Jesus of the charges against Him by the Jews
  • Pilate gives in to unjust claims against Jesus out of fear that he could be accused of treason before Caesar, the Emperor
  • The Jewish religious leaders incite the yelling mob to demand Jesus’ crucifixion
  • Pilate washes his hands of this travesty
  • Jesus is turned over to the Roman soldiers to be executed

The final hours at the cross and the seven sayings:

  • Darkness covers the earth
  • Jesus dies around 3 PM
  • Strong earthquake
  • The Temple veil is torn from top to bottom
  • The graves open and those who died in godliness rise

Immediately after His death:

  • The thieves get their legs broken
  • Jesus’ side is pierced and blood and water come out (John 19:34)
  • The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world is crucified  
  • Joseph of Arimethea and Nicodemus request the body of Jesus from Pilate to be buried

Saturday

Matthew 27:62-66

  • The Jewish leaders petition Pilate to assign a Roman guard and to seal Jesus’ tomb. The request is granted.
  • What do you think Jesus’ disciples were thinking and doing at this point?
  • Were they excited because on three different occasions Jesus told them this would happen, and said he was going to be killed, but that he was going to rise on the third day?
  • Or, were they afraid of being associated with Jesus for fear of facing the same outcome? 
  • Do you think they believed Jesus?
  • History tells us that Jesus believed in them and loved them.
  • Where are we today in our commitment and relationship with the Trinity?

Sunday

Matthew 28; Mark 16; Luke 24; John 20

  • “Jesus Resurrected” was the first report of His appearance. They announced He was alive after they had witnessed His death.
  • God, His Christ and the Holy Spirit had begun their new world order; this was the new society of the new creation. 

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” John 3:16-18