We’re leading up to Resurrection Day by exploring the week that set the stage. As you know, Jesus entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. The Jews were expecting a conquering king, and had hopes that Jesus would save them from oppressive Roman rule. However, Jesus came as a humble servant, riding on a lowly donkey and, they didn’t recognize Him as their Messiah.
When He approached Jerusalem, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, “If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! But now they have been hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you when your enemies will throw up a barricade against you, and surround you and hem you in on every side,and they will level you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.”
So, though He was hailed as king on Palm Sunday, by Monday and Tuesday, the priests and scribes were plotting how to kill Him.
The days that followed were intense. Bible scholars have various opinions about when the events leading up to, and including, crucifixion happened, so here are three possibilities.
- Christian tradition says that Jesus was crucified on Friday.
- Some, however, believe He could not possibly have been crucified on Friday, citing Matthew 12:40 as evidence. (For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.) They say that, because there are not three days and three nights between Friday and Sunday (undisputed by most to be the day of Jesus’s resurrection), Jesus had to have been crucified three days and three nights prior to Sunday. Thus, most who fall into that camp believe Jesus was actually crucified on Thursday.
- Passover was a High Holy Day (Sabbath) that fell on Thursday. Some say that, because Scripture indicates Jesus could not have been crucified on a Sabbath, He could not have been crucified on Thursday. Thus, those in that camp tend to lean toward a Wednesday crucifixion.
Of course, there is also the issue of days beginning at sundown rather than at midnight, according to the Hebrew calendar! For more insight into the three different theories, see “On what day was Jesus crucified?” Into which camp do you fall!?!
So, whether you are a Wednesday, Thursday or Friday crucifixion believer doesn’t really matter. Let’s not get hung up on specific days, but rather focus on what the Bible tells us took place prior to Jesus’s crucifixion.
- Satan enticed Judas Iscariot to betray Jesus.
- Jesus shared the Passover meal with His disciples in the Upper Room, instituting the Lord’s Supper.
- Jesus and His disciples went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray…but His disciples fell asleep. The Garden of Gethsemane is on the Mount of Olives. Here is a picture of an area near where Jesus might have prayed:
- In that same garden, Judas betrayed Jesus and He was arrested.
- Jesus endured several illegal trials, including before Annas (former high priest), Caiaphas (the high priest), before the Sanhedrin, before Pilate, before Herod Antipas, and before Pilate again. Check out Jesus on Trial and Jesus before Pilate and Herod for the account, and for pictures from the area these illegal trials took place.
What Jesus endured on our behalf is nothing short of incredible. Unlike you and me, Jesus did nothing wrong, but He paid the price of sin. His feet never went where they were not to go, His hands never did what they should not have done. He never spoke an inappropriate word and never entertained an inappropriate thought. Yet, from the foundation of the world, God the Father allowed His only begotten Son to be put on trial for you and me. He gave His only Son as a sacrifice, that you and I might have freedom. The wonderful, free gift of God’s grace!
Dear friend, if you don’t know Jesus Christ, you simply must not allow this glorious weekend to pass without confessing Him as Lord and allowing Him to come into your life. Later this week we’ll focus on His actual crucifixion. He died for me…and He died for you. But glory of glory…the grave could not hold Him and He rose again, forever defeating death, so that we might have life. Eternal life. Forever with Him!
To invite Jesus to come into your life, sincerely pray this prayer (or something similar) with all your heart:
Heavenly Father, I have done wrong in my life. I have sinned against you and I am sorry. I want to turn from my sinful ways but cannot do it on my own. I acknowledge that I cannot save myself, but that You can save me. Please come to dwell within me and change me from the inside out. I confess that You are Lord and I want to follow You all the days of my life. Thank You for Your amazing grace that is saving me this very moment! Now send Your Holy Spirit to empower me to live the way I should. I give myself to You as best I know how. Amen
Welcome to the family of God! This weekend is your celebration season! Please find a Bible teaching church and go this weekend. You will be blessed.