Today is Wednesday, and we are now at the mid-point of what has traditionally been called the “Passion week” or “Holy week” of Christ. Have you ever read the gospels and wondered how all the events of this critical week fit together? Below is a chronology of events that might be helpful:
“Palm” Sunday – Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem
Monday – Jesus cleanses and controls the temple; fig tree is cursed
Tuesday – Jesus confronts His enemies, pronounces woes against the religious leaders, and delivers the Olivet Discourse regarding Jerusalem’s coming destruction and Jesus’ second coming; Judas bargains to betray Jesus
“Silent” Wednesday – no record in any of the four Gospels
“Maundy” Thursday – Jesus and His disciples prepare and then celebrate the traditional Passover meal as His “Last Supper” prior to His death; Upper Room discourse; Jesus prays in the Garden of Gethsemane and is arrested; Jewish trials ensue. This is sometimes called “Maundy” Thursday because of Jesus’ new “mandate” (Latin mandatum > Middle English Maundy) to love one another, even as He loved us (John 13:34)
“Good” Friday – Jewish and Roman trials, crucifixion, darkness, death, and burial
Saturday – Jesus’ body lays in the tomb
“Easter” Sunday – Jesus rises from the dead early in the morning; Jesus makes five appearances: to Mary Magdalene, other women, two disciples on road to Emmaus, Simon Peter, and 10 disciples (Thomas absent)
It’s amazing how Jesus orchestrated every tiny detail in order to arrive on the cross by Friday afternoon. He would die for our sin at “twilight” – the very time the Jews slaughtered their Passover lambs (Exodus 12:4; Deuteronomy 16:6; Luke 23:44-46). Truly, He is “Christ our Passover” (1 Corinthians 5:7). And to think all this took place while we were still in rebellion against Him as His enemies (Romans 5:8-10). What wondrous love is this!
For a closer look at the passion week story recorded in the four gospels, I recommend A Harmony of the Gospels by Robert Thomas.