When Christ came to Bethany, a village about a mile and a half from Jerusalem, six days before the Passover, the story of the week to come was foreshadowed. He came to Lazarus, one He had risen from the dead. They gathered together for dinner, Jesus’s feet were anointed [later in the week, it would be Him washing the feet of his disciples], Judas was – well… Judas – attempting to take advantage of a way to make some quick money under impure circumstances, and the chief priests plotted the death of an innocent man. That Saturday came and went.
Sunday, Jesus made his triumphant, yet humble, entrance into the Holy City of Jerusalem. The crowds were jubilant, offering shouts of “Hosanna!” to their Lord and Savior, their King the Christ. As Jesus sat on the young donkey and proceeded into town, He rode to his very death, His largest triumph. Little did the crowd know they were witnessing the fulfillment of the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9:
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your king is coming to you;
righteous and having salvation is he,
humble and mounted on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
Monday, Christ entered the Temple and began to overturn the tables of the money-changers and those selling pigeons for offerings, driving out all those who would defile the Temple in such a way. He proclaimed, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.” (Mark 11:17b). He cleansed the Temple mere days before the Temple of his body would be raised.
Tuesday, Christ again came to Jerusalem, making the daily journey from Bethany. The chief priests, scribes and elders sought to challenge our Messiah yet again, something he was quite accustomed to. They questioned, “By what authority are you doing these things, or who gave you this authority to do them?” (Mark 11:28b). Jesus responded, “I will ask you one question; answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. Was the baptism of John from heaven or from man? Answer me.” (Mark 11:29b-30). Their plot was defeated yet again, as they knew if they were to say it came from heaven, they would be called out for not believing in it, while if they were to say it came from man, the crowds would rise against them. He would be questioned many more times that day. After speaking the Parable of the Talents (Mark 12:1-12), Jesus responded brilliantly to the questions of the Pharisees and Herodians regarding taxes and the Sadducees regarding the resurrection. A scribe asked what commandment was greatest, and He responded with two: “The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength,” (Mark 12:29c-30) and “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:31b). The scribe responded in agreement and Christ told him that he was not far from the Kingdom. He continued to speech, but nobody dared to question him again. Leaving the temple, he foretold the destruction and rebuilding of the temple in three days, referring to his own body, but angering the Pharisees and Sadducees even more as word spread.
Wednesday, Judas went to the Temple and offered to hand Jesus over to them, and they gladly gave him his payment.
Thursday, Jesus and his disciples gathered for the Passover feast. Here, he washed the feet of his disciples, another case of his humiliation. He also instituted the Lord’s Supper Christians have gathered together for ever since, offering his very body and very blood for the forgiveness of our sins. He let Judas go, knowing he was about to betray Him, and later went in the garden of Gethsemane to pray, showing his humanity by praying to the Father with the request of “removing this cup” from him, but only if by the Father’s will. When Jesus would come to die, he suffered like any other man would. Despite being fully God, he was fully man and felt pain just as we do. Judas came with the temple guards and handed Jesus over that night.
Friday, Jesus was beaten, mocked and flogged – enough to kill many – before he even made it to the cross after offering no defense against the accusations under trial. Bearing his cross, and was crucified at Golgotha. With the words “It is finished,” our Savior breathed his last and completed the greatest sacrifice in history. No amount of sin offerings at the temple could ever compare to the sacrifice made by God at the hands of the faithless. God offered God that we may be forgiven, washed clean in baptism and receive eternal life rather than eternal damnation our actions have sentenced us to.
He proved his sacrifice that Sunday, leaving the tomb empty. He who once was dead, is living. There is no doubt, but only certainty, that by the grace of our Lord, we are destined to live eternally. Though we will die in the flesh in this lifetime, our souls live on in Paradise, and our bodily resurrection is assured.
Much more happened that week that led to the Death that brought forth Life that was not covered here. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John all covered in much detail the events of the week, and each account is definitely worth a read. Find it in your Bible in Matthew 21-28, Mark 11-16, Luke 19:28-24:53 and John 12-21.