A week before he died, King Jesus did not enter Jerusalem on a war-horse, nor in a chariot as most had envisioned their future king would arrive. Jesus came to save the world in a way completely unexpected—in humility and gentleness. He was born in a barn in Bethlehem and grew up in the small town of Nazareth; his trade, a carpenter/craftsman. People said nothing good could come from Nazareth. When he officially began his ministry at age 30, he chose the unschooled and outcast to be his apostles. He taught his followers that if you want to be great, you must serve one another. He taught that we must choose to serve God or money—that it’s impossible to do both. His message was so upside down that the religious leaders of the time fought him to his death.
The Coming of Zion’s King Prophesy 520-480 BC:
Old Testament prophesy by Zechariah declaring the Messiah would come mounted on a donkey.
“Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. I will take away the chariots from Ephraim and the war-horses from Jerusalem, and the battle bow will be broken. He will proclaim peace to the nations. His rule will extend from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth.” (Zechariah 9:9-10)
Palm Sunday – The Triumphal Entry – 30-36 AD:
(Mark 11:1-10) “As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples, saying to them, ‘Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here…’ They went and found a colt outside in the street, tied at a doorway. As they untied it, some people standing there asked, ‘What are you doing, untying that colt?’ They answered as Jesus had told them to, and the people let them go. When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it. He sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted”,
‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’
‘Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!’
‘Hosanna in the highest!’
Take a Closer Look at the Crowd
I can imagine Mary Magdalene, the repentant prostitute, being first in line to welcome her Savior to Jerusalem shouting, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord”. I can imagine many of the thousands of men, women and children who were fed miraculously by Jesus waving palm branches. I can imagine the formerly blind men, who could now see, peering down the road and quickly scanning their eyes over the crowd to catch a glimpse of the Messiah who gave them sight.
I can imagine the once lame running toward Jesus to walk beside their Healer. I can imagine the woman healed from her hemorrhaging by touching Jesus’ cloak, laying down hers for Jesus and the donkey to trod upon.
I can imagine the centurion and his healed servant waiting together to welcome Jesus. I can imagine the lepers who had been freed from leprosy—even the nine who didn’t initially thank him—show up and proclaim him as Lord.
I can imagine the Pharisee Nicodemus secretly welcoming Jesus, while standing among angry members of the Jewish Ruling Council. I can imagine Mary watching her Son riding humbly on a colt, remembering the prophesy of Zechariah, as she watched and swallowed hard. And I imagine the man whose hand had been completely and miraculously restored by Jesus, waving palm branches in both hands shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!”
In the morning, Jesus returns to Jerusalem after spending the night in Bethany. When he arrives at the temple to teach, he finds the house of worship has been turned into a den a robbers! In righteous anger he overturns their money tables and drives out those who were selling goods.
“The chief priests, the teachers of the law and the leaders among the people were trying to kill him. Yet they could not find any way to do it, because all the people hung on his words.” (Luke 19:47-48)
“Jesus entered the temple courts, and, while he was teaching, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him. “By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked, “And who gave you this authority?” Jesus replied, “I will also ask you one question. If you answer me, I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. John’s baptism—where did it come from? Was it from heaven, or from men? “They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven, ‘he will ask, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him? ‘But if we say, ‘From men’ – we are afraid of the people, for they all hold that John was a prophet. “So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.” Then he said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things. (Matthew 21:23-27)
“Then the chief priests and the elders of the people assembled in the palace of the high priest whose name was Caiaphas, and they plotted to arrest Jesus in some sly way and kill him.” (Matthew 26:3-4)
Judas negotiates with the chief priests his betrayal of Jesus for thirty pieces of silver.
Passover and Last Supper – Jesus sends Peter and John to the upper room in Jerusalem to prepare for the Passover Feast.
After sunset Jesus washed his disciple’s feet before the Passover Supper:
“It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love. The evening meal was being served, and the devil had already prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all thing‘s under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him….When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, you Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them. (John 13:1-5; 13:12-17)
Jesus establishes communion:
“While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father’s kingdom.” When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.”
What hymn do you suppose they sung?
Jesus goes to Gethsemane to pray:
In Matthew 26, Jesus brought some disciples with him to a place called Gethsemane and asked them to sit nearby while he went to pray alone to his Father. He began to be troubled and sorrowful.
“My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” He also prayed a second time. “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” Then a third time he prayed the same thing.
Jesus is arrested and put under trial:
While he was still speaking, Judas arrived with a large crowd armed with swords and clubs. He betrayed Jesus with a kiss. Then the men stepped forward, seized and arrested Jesus. Then all the disciples deserted him and fled. Jesus is taken to the home of the High Priest, Caiaphas. The whole council gathered to begin making their case against Jesus.
Judas regrets his betrayal and hangs himself.
Early morning, Peter denies knowing Jesus three times. The rooster crows as Jesus foretold.
At 6am Jesus is brought before Pilate—he is falsely accused, mocked, beaten, endured multiple unlawful trials, spat upon, and had a crown of thorns pressed into his skull. Jesus carried a cross to Calvary (with the help of a man named Simon) where Roman soldiers nailed him to a cross to die.
“A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him.” (Luke 23:27)
At 9am Jesus is nailed to a cross hanging naked in front of the crowds.
At noon darkness covers the earth. The curtain of the temple is torn in two. The earth shook and the rocks split.
At 3pm Jesus breathes his last breath. When the centurion, and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!” (Matthew 27:54)
Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Dear woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, the disciple [John] took her into his home. (John 19:25-27)
By sundown, Jesus is laid in the tomb of a rich man named Joseph, from Arimathea, who had become a secret follower of Jesus. He was a member of the Council. Nicodemus, also a Pharisee and secret follower of Jesus, helped wrapped Jesus body with linen and spices. (John 19:38-42)
Both men were members of the Sanhedrin, the court that condemned Jesus to death. Both were afraid to make public confessions of their belief in Jesus as the Messiah because of their prominent positions in the Jewish community. After Jesus died, they risked their lives and reputation by asking Pilate for the body of Jesus so they could give him a proper burial.
Holy Saturday (Sabbath)
Jesus laid in the tomb guarded by Roman soldiers.
The foundation of the Christian doctrine hinges on the truth of the resurrection of Jesus.
After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said.” (Matthew 28:1-6)
This same King who entered Jerusalem on a humble donkey only a week ago, just fought and won the spiritual war for our souls. No other king has ever won a battle such as this!
“Hosanna! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!”
(The story of Jesus doesn’t end here! Next week we will look at the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus over a period of forty days, and what happened on the 49th day after Jesus rose from the dead.)