Even if someone is not a Christian, an honest analysis of the way that history has played out over the last 2,000 years would have to point to the events that Christians remember during the coming week as the most significant events in history. What else has shaped people and culture in such a dramatic way as the execution and resurrection of this first-century Jew from Nazareth named Jesus? (And if someone does not believe in the possibility of his resurrection, what possible course could history have taken to bring a poor Jew from an obscure place to still have such influence in our world today?) As we enter into this week, beginning today, Palm Sunday, with our remembrance of Jesus' entry into Jerusalem on a donkey, I have found it helpful to try to put all of the stories about Holy Week into a day-by-day context. Although we may be familiar with many of all of these stories, we often do not think about them in the context of this final week of Jesus' life, which certainly intensifies their meaning.
This is far from scientific; particularly on Monday-Wedensday, we cannot know for sure which events happened on which days, but the order of the outline below is very possible. Most of the passages below are from Matthew's account, since during this year the Revised Common Lectionary has us spending most of our time in his gospel. (Beginning tomorrow I'll post a suggested way of reading scripture this week based on the lectionary.) There are a few key events in the other gospels which Matthew does not include, so they are also listed below.
A couple of things to note: You can download full outline of the events of Holy Week in all four gospels by clicking here. Feel free to use it for your own study. Also, I got a lot of help from the NIV Study Bible's chart called "Passion Week."
- The Triumphal Entry (Matthew 21:1-11)
- The Authority of Jesus Questioned (Matthew 21:23-27)
- Jesus Teaches in the Temple (Matthew 21:28-23:39)
- Jesus Teaches on the End of the Age (Matthew 24:1-25:46)
- Jesus Anointed at Bethany (Matthew 26:6-13)
- The Disciples Prepare the Passover Feast (Matthew 26:17-19)
- Jesus Predicts His Betrayal (Matthew 26:20-25)
- Jesus Washes the Disciples' Feet (John 13:1-17)
- The Last Supper (Matthew 26:26-29)
- Jesus Predicts Peter's Denial (Matthew 26:31-35)
- Jesus Prays in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-46)
- Jesus Arrested (Matthew 26:47-56)
- Jesus Before the Sanhedrin (Matthew 26:57-68)
- Peter Denies Jesus (Matthew 26:59-75)
- Judas Hangs Himself (Matthew 27:1-10)
- Jesus Before Pilate (Matthew 27:11-26)
- The Soldiers Mock Jesus (Matthew 27:27-31)
- Simon of Cyrene Carries Jesus' Cross (Matthew 27:32)
- Jesus Crucified (Matthew 27:33-44)
- Jesus Asks Forgiveness for His Executors (Luke 23:34)
- Jesus Promises Paradise to the Criminal (Luke 23:39-43)
- Jesus' Death (Matthew 27:45-56)
- Jesus' Burial (Matthew 27:57-61)
- Pilate Secures the Tomb (Matthew 27:62-66)
Saturday: Jesus is Dead in the Tomb
Then we wait for Sunday.