Sunday – On the day before, Mary, Martha and Lazarus (whom Jesus had recently raised from the dead) gave a supper for Jesus and His disciples in their home in Bethany. Today, Jesus journeys with His disciples to Jerusalem, stopping in Bethphage, where He begins what we call His “Triumphal Entrance” into Jerusalem, riding on the foal of a donkey, fulfilling the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9-10, as the crowds lay their garments and palm branches on the ground before Him, shouting “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” After entering and looking about the Temple, He soon returns to Bethany, as it is growing late.
Monday – Jesus returns to Jerusalem and on His way curses the fig tree because it had no fruit, which was a symbol of God’s people, Israel, who were not satisfying God’s hunger for righteousness. Then He enters the Temple and drives out the sacrificial animals and overturns the tables of the money changers because they had made God’s house “a den of robbers” instead of a “house of prayer”. He also heals the blind and the lame while the children cry out “Hosanna to the Son of David.” At evening, He returns to Bethany.
Tuesday – Returning to Jerusalem in the morning, the disciples notice the fig tree Jesus had cursed has dried up. As He teaches in the Temple, the chief priests, scribes and elders question His authority. This leads to Jesus telling several parables, including those of the Two Sons, the Vine Growers and the Wedding Feast of the King’s Son. He identifies Himself as the “stone which the builders rejected” from Psalm 118:22. He gives His answers on whether or not to pay taxes to Caesar, whose wife a seven times widowed woman would be in the resurrection (none!), and as to which commandment is the foremost in the Law. He also asked His own question: If David calls Him “Lord” (Ps. 110:1) how can the Messiah be David’s son (that is, only a man)? That night, Jesus and the disciples camp on Mount Olivet, possibly in the Garden of Gethsemane at its foot, as Judas would later lead the soldiers there knowing it was where Jesus and His disciples had been staying overnight instead of going all the way back to Bethany.
Wednesday – After going to the Temple early, Jesus gives His final and very stern warnings to the religious leaders, pointing out their corruption and hypocrisy. On this day Jesus praises the widow whose tiny offering was more than all the wealth given by others as she gave “all that she had.” While Jesus prays, the multitudes hear a thunderous voice answer in reply and Jesus says that when He is lifted up (on the cross) He will draw all people to Him. As they are leaving the Temple the disciples remark on how magnificent the Temple is and Jesus says the time will come when not one stone will be left upon another. Back at their camp on Mount Olivet, the disciples ask Him to explain this astonishing statement and He gives them a detailed account of the events that will lead up to this catastrophe and what they should do. He also warns them not to speculate about the time of His return and tells the parables of the Ten Virgins, the Talents and The Sheep and the Goats to warn them to always be ready for His return. On this day also, the religious leaders gather to plot Jesus’ arrest and Judas offers to betray Jesus for thirty pieces of silver.
Thursday – Jesus sends His disciples to prepare for what will be His final meal with them before His death. When evening comes, they gather for the Passover meal and Jesus washes their feet, despite their protests, as an example to them. During the meal, He warns them that one of the Twelve will betray Him. Soon after this, Judas leaves to inform the authorities as to where they might find Jesus apart from the crowds. Jesus then blesses the Passover bread and the wine, saying that from then on they should “do this in remembrance of Me.” [not instituting a new ceremony but giving new meaning to an old one.] Jesus then gives them His “new commandment” that they should love one another as He has loved them. The disciples do not understand His talk of leaving them. Jesus says that Peter will deny Him and all the disciples will desert Him. He warns them of persecution and promises them the gift of the Holy Spirit. He continues to talk to them on their way to the Garden of Gethsemane. There, He agonizes in prayer, is arrested and led away to the house of the High Priest’s father, Ananias. The disciples flee.
Friday – In the morning, Jesus is twice tried by the (smaller and then the full) Sanhedrin which condemn Him as worthy of death as a blasphemer. Awaiting the earlier trial, Peter denies Jesus three times. Still early, Jesus is taken to the governor, Pontius Pilate, who examines Him, sends Him to Herod who questions Jesus and then sends Him back to Pilate. Jesus is slapped, mocked and beaten. Pilate has Jesus scourged and offers to release Him. The crowd, urged on by the religious leaders, call for Jesus’ crucifixion, which Pilate then grants. Jesus is led away and crucified between two thieves. After six agonizing hours on the cross, Jesus dies at 3pm, is taken down before nightfall and buried in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea. The women who followed Jesus see where His body is laid to rest.
Saturday – It is the Sabbath, so the disciples rest (in hiding) while the religious leaders ask Pilate for Jesus’ tomb to be sealed and a guard placed lest Jesus’ disciples steal the body to fulfill Jesus’ prediction that He would rise again. This is granted.
Sunday – Early in the morning, the rock covering the tomb moves aside and the guards faint. When they come to, the tomb is empty and they go report this to the chief priests. Meanwhile, the women come to anoint Jesus’ body as His burial had been hasty but find the tomb empty. Later, Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene, to the women, to Peter, to two disciples on their way to Emmaus and then to all the Apostles that evening where they were hiding, showing Himself to be truly alive. Sin, death and the devil have been vanquished! Hallelujah indeed!