Welcome to Holy Week

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."







Saturday: Jesus is Dead in the Tomb

Then we wait for Sunday.