By Colleen Tinker
These details are extracted from the book A Harmony of the Four Gospels by Orville E. Daniel. I will use it as my resource to post each day the key events in which Jesus participated during this final week as he moved inexorably toward His death.
It is amazing to me that, knowing what would happen, He continued to minister and teach as He moved through the intensifying spiritual agony of those days. He did not retreat or turn inward; He continued to obey His Father and to live by every word that proceeded from Him.
His triumphal entry into Jerusalem: Huge popular support met Him as he rode into town on a borrowed donkey. Children waved palm branches and sang, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” When the Pharisees heard them, they demanded that Jesus shut them up. He replied, If they are quiet, the rocks will cry out. Every eye in Jerusalem was on Him as He entered the holy city for Passover week.
He cried as he approached Jerusalem and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes.” He went on to prophecy the destruction of the city. (Luke 19:41-44)
He went to the temple, and “the whole city was stirred and asked, ’Who is this?’ The crowds answered, ’This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.’ ” (Matt 21:10-11) “He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve” (Mark 11:11).
Early Monday as He and the disciples were returning to Jerusalem, Jesus saw the fig tree which was full of leaves but was fruitless. He cursed it, saying, May you never bear fruit again!” (Matt 21:18-19)
Jesus entered the temple and “drove out all who were buying and selling there” (Matt 21:12-16, Mark 11:15-18a; Luke 19:45-48). This was the second cleansing of the temple.
Also on this day some Greeks who had come to worship during Passover requested of Phillip that they see Jesus. When Jesus heard they had come to see Him, he began to speak of the significance of His death.
“Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say?” he said. ’Father, save me from this hour?’ No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!”
Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him.
Jesus said, “This voice was for your benefit, not mine. Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.” He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.
Jesus continued to talk about trusting in the light while they still had a chance, and when he finished speaking, he hid himself from them. Still the people refused to believe in him. Still, some among the Pharisees did believe but were afraid to declare their faith for fear of being put out of the synagogue.
Jesus said, “As for the person who hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge him. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it. There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; that very word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day. For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it. I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.” (John 12:20-50).
Jesus and his disciples returned to Bethany for the night.
Many of the small, seemingly random stories we’ve heard of Jesus’ parables and teachings happened on this day. It’s amazing to me that Jesus, who knew absolutely that he was walking into a horrific death and into becoming sin, becoming a curse, and being separated from His Father, still ministered and taught on apparently random and pedestrian topics. Yet these lessons are some of the ones we still visualize in practical ways as we live our mundane and pedestrian lives.
The miracle is that while He was teaching these timeless lessons, He knew that He was about to transform our mundane and pedestrian lives into offerings of grace and mercy which we would minister by His Spirit to the lost world.
On this morning, as Jesus and His disciples returned to Jerusalem from spending the night in Bethany, they saw the fig tree Jesus had cursed the day before. (Bethany, by the way, is where Mary, Martha, and Lazarus lived. It seems significant that during the last week of the growing spiritual battle that waged unseen but palpably around Jesus, he and His disciples went to the home of intimate friends. No doubt both Jesus and the disciples drew courage and comfort from being in their home.)
“How did the fig tree wither so quickly?” the disciples asked.
“Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “If you have faith and do not doubt, you can do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” (Matt 21:20-22; Mark 11:20-25)
They entered the temple courts where Jesus resumed teaching. This was the occasion when the chief priests and elders approached him and asked, “By what authority are you doing these things?”
“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? Tell me!’”
They conferred together, saying, “If was say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ’Then why didn’t you believe him?’ But if we say, ‘From men,’ all the people will stone us, because they are persuaded that John was a prophet.”
So they said they didn’t know.
“Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things,” Jesus replied. (Matt 21:23-22:14; Mark 11:27-12:12; Luke 20:1-19)
Then Jesus told the parable of the man who asked his two sons to go work in the vineyard. The first said, “I will not,” but later changed his mind and went. The second said, “I will, sir,” but then did not go. The people acknowledged that the first one is the one who did his father’s will.
Then Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.” (Matt. 21:28-32)
Then Jesus told another parable—of the man who owned a vineyard and rented it to some farmers to manage, and he went away for a long time. At harvest time he sent someone to collect from the tenants some of the fruit of the vineyard. But they grabbed the emissary, beat him, and sent him away empty-handed. The owner sent another representative, but they treated him the same way. They sent another, and still another. The fourth one they killed.
The master sent “many others; some of them they beat, others they killed.”
Finally the vineyard owner decided to sent his son whom he loved. “Perhaps they will respect him,” he said to himself.
When the son arrived, the tenants talked the matter over.
“This is the heir,” they said. “Come, let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.” So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.
Then Jesus said, “When the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants? He will bring those wretches to a wretched end,” they replied, “and he will rent the vineyard to other tenants, who will give him his share of the crop at harvest time.”
“When the people heard this, they said, ‘May this never be!’
“Jesus looked directly at them and asked, ‘Then what is the meaning of that which is written: “The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone, the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes”?’
“Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit. He who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed.” (Matthew 21:28-43; Mark 11:1-12:10; Luke 20:9-17)
The chief priests and Pharisees knew Jesus was talking about them and looked for a way to arrest Him, but they were afraid of the people.
Jesus then told another parable—the one of the king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. All those who had been invited refused to come, even when the master sent servants out to personally remind them. Then master sent out a second contingent of servants to tell the invited guests the meal was read and the best food was prepared.
“Come to the wedding banquet,” they urged.
They paid no attention; some and went about their daily business. Others seized the kings servants, abused them and killed them. The king was enraged. “He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.”
Then the king sent his servants out into the streets to invite anyone they could find. They gathered everyone they could find, “both good and bad, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.”
The king came into the banquet hall, and he noticed one man who was there without wedding clothes. “Friend,” he asked, “how did you get in here without wedding clothes?”
The man was speechless. The king told the attendants to tie him “hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Then Jesus said, “For many are invited, but few are chosen.” (Matthew 21:45-22:14)
The Pharisees then tried to trap Jesus. They asked him if was right to pay taxes to Caesar or not. Jesus knew they were trying to trap him and asked for a coin. He asked who image was on the coin, and when they replied, “Caesar’s!”, he responded, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” They were amazed and became silent. (Matt 22:15-22; Mark 12:13-17; Luke 20:20-26)
Later that same day the Sadducees (who did not believe in the resurrection) came and asked about a hypothetical woman who had been married successively to seven brothers, the first six of whom had all left her a widow. Whose wife would she be in the resurrection?
Jesus replied, “The people of this age marry and are given in marriage. But those who are considered worthy of taking part in that age and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage, and they can no longer die; for they are like the angels. They are God’s children, since they are children of the resurrection.”
Then he commented about the dead rising: “Even Moses showed that the dead rise, for God said to him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” God “is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.”
No one dared ask him any more questions. (Matt. 22:23-33; Mark 12:18-27; Luke 20:27-40)
The Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, and they got together and asked him, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment?”
“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”
The second one is like it: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
His questioner responded, “Well said, teacher.” He then summarized what Jesus had just said, concluding, “To love Him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
Jesus “saw that he had answered wisely” and said, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.”
From then on no one dared ask him any more questions. (Matt 22:34-40; Mark 12:28-34)
Jesus spent the night on the Mount of Olives. (Luke 21:37)
(Some harmonies of the Gospels place these events also on Tuesday, saying that Jesus rested in Bethany all day Wednesday. Other scholars say that Jesus concluded his ministry in Jerusalem on Wednesday morning with the following events.)
The people gathered early at the temple to hear Jesus teach. Jesus asked the Pharisees what they thought about the Christ. “Whose son is he?”
“David’s”, they replied.
Jesus asked in return why David called the Messiah “Lord” if he was his son. Then He quoted Psalm 110:1: “The Lord said to my Lord: ‘Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.’”
“If David Himself calls him ‘Lord’, how can He be his son?”
No one could say a word. (Matt 22:41-46; Mark 12:35-37a; Luke 21:38- 20:41-44)
Following is one of the most impassioned of Jesus’ declarations. As he taught in front of the temple, with Pharisees listening, he warned the people to obey the Pharisees because they sit in Moses’ seat, but they are to do everything they tell them to do, not copy what they actually do.
Then Jesus began His “Woe to you…” cry to the Pharisees. In this denouncement he says seven times, “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites!” He lists all their self-serving, greedy habits. They “shut the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces,” neither do they enter it.
“You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are.
They swear by the gold on the altar, ignoring that it is God who is holy, not the lavish externals of their ceremonial trappings. They tithe scrupulously, but they neglect justice, mercy, and faithfulness. They clean up the outside of themselves, but inside they’re full of greed and self-indulgence, dead men’s bones, and everything unclean. They appear righteous to others, but inside they are “full of hypocrisy and wickedness.”
They make a show of honoring the ancient prophets, claiming they wouldn’t have participated in their deaths—yet they testify against themselves that they are the descendants of those who murdered the prophets.
“You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?” He told them they would kill, crucify, flog, and chase the wise men, prophets, and teachers he would send to them. “And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth…I tell you the truth, all this will come upon this generation.
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her sings, but you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord’.” (Matt 23:1-39; Mark 12:37b-40; Luke 20:45-47)
Jesus sat opposite where people put their money into the temple treasury and watched the widow who gave her two mites. “This poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others,” he said. (Mark 12:41-44; Luke 21:1-4)
Signs of the end
In the afternoon, Jesus gave a discourse on the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the world. Peter, James, John, and Andrew came and asked when the destruction of the temple would happen. Then Jesus delivered his famous teaching that elides the description of the destruction of Jerusalem with the end of the age.
He explains that “in those days,” following the days of distress when false Christs and false prophets would appear and perform signs and miracles to deceive even the elect—if that were possible— “the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken.
“At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens.”
No one but the Father knows the day or the hour of His coming. Jesus then used the days of Noah as an illustration of what the world would be like at the time of Christ’s return. “Keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.”
Then Jesus told the parable of the ten virgins awaiting the bridegroom. Five foolish ones ran out of oil and allowed their lamps to go out. Five wise ones brought extra oil, and though the bridegroom tarried, the wise virgins had enough oil for their lamps to be able to meet him. The foolish ones did not. Those who “were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.”
The unprepared banged on the door, shouting to be admitted, but the Bridegroom replied, “I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.”
Parable of the talents
Jesus further illustrated His coming by telling the parable of the talents. Three servants were given 5, 2, and 1 talent respectively before the master left on a long journey. The first two invested their talents and yielded double what they had cared for. The third buried his talent.
When the master returned, he complimented the first two and said, “You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share in your master’s happiness!”
The man with the one talent said he had been afraid of the master and went and hid his talent in the ground, and now he returned it.
The master angrily had that wicked servant thrown out into the outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Then Jesus gave His “sheep and goats” talk. The sheep are those who served Him by serving others, and the goats will be thrown “into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” (Matthew 24 and 25; Mark 13:1-37; Luke 21:5-36)
Then Jesus told his disciples that Passover was in two days, and the “son of Man would be handed over to be crucified.” (Matt 26:1-5; Mark 14: 1-2; Luke 22:1-2)
That evening in Bethany, Simon the Leper held a dinner and invited Jesus. Martha served, and Lazarus, recently revived from death, reclined at the table with Jesus. Then Mary took an alabaster jar of perfume and anointed Jesus’ feet and hair and wiped his feet with her hair.
Judas, angry, groused about why the money for the perfume hadn’t been spent on the poor. In reality, he was angry that the money for the perfume hadn’t come through the disciples’ money bag so he could help himself to part of it.
Jesus silenced the remonstrations by saying Mary was preparing his body in advance for his burial and added. “I tell you the truth, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.” (Matt 26:6-13; Mark 14:3-9; John 12:2-8)
Then “Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve.” He went the chief priests and officers of the temple and made arrangements to betray Jesus to them. Delighted, they sealed the deal with Judas by giving him 30 pieces of silver.
“He consented, and watched for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them when no crowd was present” (Matt 26:14-16; Mark 14:10-11; Luke 22:3-6).
Jesus sent Peter and John to make Passover preparations in a borrowed house (Matt 26:17-19; Mark 14:12-16; Luke 22:7-13).
When evening came, they gathered in the upper room, and Jesus told his disciples that He had eagerly looked forward to sharing this Passover meal with them. He knew He had “come from God and was returning to God.”
The evening had some jarring notes. The devil had already prompted Judas to betray Jesus, and a dispute broke out among the twelve about who would be the greatest in Jesus’ kingdom. As this dispute unfolded, Jesus got up from the meal, put a towel around His waist, and began washing the disciples’ feet.
He concluded by pointing out that He had set an example for them, and that “no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.” He reminded them not to be like the power-greedy Gentiles but to serve each other. He said he was conferring a kingdom on them, and that they would judge the twelve tribes of Israel. (Matt 26:20; Mark 14:17; Luke 22:14-16, 24-30; John 13:1-20)
Announcement of Judas’ betrayal
Then Jesus was troubled in spirit, and he announced that the one who dipped his bread with Him would betray Him. He said, “Woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.”
They began asking who would be the one. When Judas dipped his bread into the bowl he said, “Lord, is it I?”
“Jesus answered, ‘Yes, it is you.’”
Then Satan entered into him, and he went out into the night. (Matt 26:21-25; Mark 14:18-21; John 13:21-30)
Then Jesus took the bread and the wine and introduced the New Covenant in His blood. He identified the bread as His body and the wine as His blood and told His disciples to eat and drink in remembrance of Him. He promised not to drink of the fruit of the vine again until he drank it new with them in His Father’s kingdom. (Matt. 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:17-20)
Then Jesus delivered his farewell discourse to His disciples. It was during this time that Peter promised Jesus he would never deny Him, but Jesus told him he would deny him three times that very night.
Promise of the Comforter
Also during this talk He reminded them that the first time He sent them out, they were to take nothing to provide for or to defend themselves with. Now he said to go out with their purses and swords. He promised to send them another Counselor, the Holy Spirit, who would “do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.”
He promised that both He and the Father would come and make their home with those who love Him (Matt 26:31-35; Mark 14:27-31; Luke 22:31-38; John 13:33-34-14:31).
After they left the upper room and began their walk to Gethsemane, Jesus gave His disciples the image of the vine and the branches. All who remain in Him would bear much fruit. Again He promised them the Holy Spirit, telling them that He would reveal what is yet to come and would bring glory to Christ.
He told them that they would have trouble in the world, but take heart! “I have overcome the world” (John 15-16).
Late that night, toward midnight, Jesus looked to heaven and prayed, “Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.” He prayed for His disciples and for all “those who will believe in me through their message. that all of them may be one.”
“I want those you have given me to be with me where I am,” he prayed, “and to see my glory, the gory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world” (John 17).
About midnight His agony in Gethsemane began. He asked his disciples to pray, taking Peter, James, and John farther into the garden with Him. Then He left them, asking them to pray.
He was sorrowful and troubled, and He fell to the ground praying that if possible this cup would pass from Him. And angel came to strengthen Him, and He prayed some more, so agonized that “his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.”
He arose and found his disciples asleep. Waking them, he chided them and admonished, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. the spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” He went away again to pray, and again he returned to find them asleep.
He left them and went again to pray. Then He returned to His disciples and awoke them.
“Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!” He said (Matt 26:36-46; Mark 14:32-42; Luke 22:40-46; John 18:1).
Friday was the culmination of Jesus’ suffering. Just after midnight, in the earliest minutes of Friday, Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss into the hands of the Romans. Enraged and fearful, Peter slashed the high priest’s servant’s ear off, but with a touch Jesus healed the servant and reprimanded Peter. He reminded him that He could call twelve legions of angels to help Him if He wished, and he asked,
“Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?”
Everyone deserted him, and he was arrested (Matt 26:47-56; Mark 14:43-52; Luke 22:47-53; John 18:2-12a).
They took him to Annas, the father-in-law of Caiaphas the high priest. Meanwhile, Simon Peter denied being a disciple of Jesus as he huddled around a courtyard fire (Matt 26:58; Mark 14:54; LUKE 24:54-55; John 18:12b-23).
Then they sent Jesus to Caiaphas where he was silent until they asked Him if he was the son of the Living God. “I am,” said Jesus, and then he prophesied his eventual return in the clouds of heaven. The high priest tore his robes, accused him of blasphemy, and decided he deserved death.
Then the guards began beating and mocking him (Matthew 26:57, 59-68; Mark 14:53-65; John 18:24; Luke 22:63-65).
Meanwhile, Peter did his three denials of Jesus. The first two were in response to the questions and recognition of a servant girl; the third was about an hour later in response to another person’s comments about his Galilean accent. At that moment the rooster began to crow, and Peter went out and wept bitterly (Matt 26:69-75; Mark 14:66-72; Luke 22:56-62; John 18:26-27).
At daybreak the elders and chief priests formally condemned Jesus and sent him off to Pilate to obtain an official death warrant. Meanwhile, Judas, having a fit of guilt, tried to return his 30 pieces of silver, but the priests wouldn’t take it back. Judas threw the money into the temple, went out, and hanged himself (Matt 27:1-3; Mark 15:1; Luke 22:66-23:1).
Jesus appeared before Pilate who found nothing worthy of death in him; He sent him on to Herod who was curious about Jesus and wanted to see a miracle. Herod and his soldiers ridiculed Jesus. Herod sent him back to Pilate, whose wife warned him to have nothing to do with Him; He was innocent, she said, and had been warned in a dream about him. Pilate decided to get out of his difficulty and let the crowd decide if they wanted to have him release Jesus or the rabble-rouser Barabbas. The crowd chose Barabbas.
The crowd became a mob, and Pilate had Jesus flogged. They dressed him in a purple robe and a crown of thorns, mocking him, striking him, and spitting on him.
Pilate stood before the mob and said, “Here is the man!”
The mob yelled for His crucifixion. Pilate washed his hands in a symbolic show of innocence and gave in to the crowd. The people were so angry and frenzied they completely denied Jesus and claimed the hated Caesar as their only king (Matt 27:3-31; Mark 15:6-21; John 18:39-19:17a; Luke 23:2-32).
Jesus was forced to carry his own cross to Golgotha until he collapsed. The soldiers conscripted Simon of Cyrene to carry it for him. They crucified Jesus on the hill, but Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” The soldiers cast lots for his seamless robe and mocked him; his mother and two other Mary’s wept nearby.
Jesus looked at John and commissioned him to care for Mary his mother.
The thieves crucified on each side of him discussed him, and one was deeply convicted of his own wickedness and Jesus’ innocence. He asked Jesus to remember him. Jesus promised him he would be with him in Paradise that day.
At the sixth hour (noon) darkness came over the land. At the ninth hour Jesus cried out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?” Then he called out with a loud voice and committed His Spirit to his father.
There was a powerful earthquake; the tombs opened; many righteous people were raised to life and, after Jesus’ resurrection, came to Jerusalem.
When the soldiers came to break the victim’s legs to ensure they would not hang dead upon the crosses over Pentecost, they pierced Jesus’ side instead because He was already dead. Blood and water flowed out.
Joseph of Arimathea offered his tomb as a burial site for Jesus, and Nicodemus provided embalming spices. Together the men prepared Jesus’ body for burial and laid him in the tomb. Then they went home for the approaching Sabbath (Matthew 27:32-61; Mark 15:21-47; Luke 23:26-56a; John 19:16b-42).
The blackest Sabbath in the history of the world began.
Amazingly, the priests/Pharisees were apparently concerned that Jesus might actually rise from the dead. Certainly they feared something would happen to perpetuate the stories of Jesus’ divinity. They were so fearful of losing their power that they deliberately trampled the Sabbath to make a deal with the Roman pagan governor, Pilate.
“The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. ‘Sir,’ they said, ‘we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, “After three days I will rise again.” So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.’
‘Take a guard,’ Pilate answered, ‘Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.’ So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard (Matt 27:62-66).
“But the women rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment” (Luke 23:56c).
Saturday, after 6:00 P.M.
“When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. (Mark 16:1; Luke 23:56b)
Early in the morning there was a violent earthquake, and an angel of the Lord rolled back the stone and sat on it. The guards fell as if dead. When Mary, Jesus’ mother, Mary Magdalene, and Salome arrived at the tomb, they were frightened, but the angel said, “Do not be afraid…Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!”
(Gary Inrig pointed out in a sermon that if anyone were making up this story, they would never have made women the first eyewitnesses of the resurrection. In those times, women could not testify in court, and they were considered completely unreliable. With apologies to the women in the audience, Gary said that for the people of that day to consider a woman a witness would be like asking a drug dealer to testify in today’s culture. She would have been completely disbelieved.)
He told them to go quickly and tell Jesus’ disciples the news. Trembling, bewildered, but filled with joy, they went out.
Meanwhile, Peter and John ran to the tomb—they found nothing there but grave clothes. They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead (Matt 28:1-8; Mark 16:2-8; Luke 24:1-12; John 20:1-10).
Meanwhile, Mary Magdalene stood crying outside the tomb. The angels asked her why she was crying, and then she turned and saw Jesus but did not recognize Him. He also asked why she was crying, and as she sobbed her answer, Jesus said her name, “Mary.” Then she recognized Him, and cried out in joy, “Rabboni!”
Jesus told her not to detain him but to go and tell his disciples that he was alive.
Mary, Magdalene, Joanna, Mary Jesus’ mother, Salome, and other women with them told the disciples Jesus was alive, but they did not believe them. Their words seemed like nonsense to the men (Matt 28:9-10; Mark 16:9-11; Luke 24:9-11; John 20:11-20).
While the women were on their way, some of the guards reported everything that had happened to the chief priests. The priests and elders met and devised a plan. They told the guards, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we ourselves were asleep.’ If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day” (Matt 28:11-15).
On Sunday afternoon, Jesus appeared to many of his disciples. This was the afternoon of his famous walk to Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. He fell into step with Cleopas and his companion, and after they sorrowfully explained to Him (because they did not recognize Him) the sad events of the weekend and even disbelievingly reported the morning’s activity at the tomb by saying the women had a VISION of angels saying he was alive, Jesus chided them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken!”
Jesus proceeded to unfold the Scriptures to them, showing that they pointed to Him. “Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him and invited him to eat with them. He finally disappeared from their sight. They asked each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”
They returned at once to Jerusalem and confirmed to the eleven that Jesus was indeed alive.
Later that evening Jesus appeared to the eleven as they were eating. They were behind locked doors, fearing the Jews, but Jesus appeared and said,” Peace be with you.”
They were startled and afraid, but Jesus rebuked them and challenged them to look at his hands and feet. He invited them to touch Him, and he ate a piece of fish they gave him. But Thomas was not with them, and he doubted their report.
One week later Jesus appeared to them again, and this time Thomas touched His hands and side. When Thomas finally touched him, he said, “My Lord and my God!”
Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (Mark 16:12-14; Luke 24:13-243; John 20:19-25)
Sermon on the Resurrection
In a memorable sermon on the resurrection, Pastor Gary Inrig listed five things the resurrection affirms. I share them below:
- The resurrection was a validation of Jesus’ claims. He foretold he would die and rise again, and the resurrection validated His statements.
- The resurrection verified Jesus’ personal identity: He is God the Son. At the resurrection, the disciples experience a category of reality and life that could apply to no other human: He rose from death in a glorified body.
- The resurrection was a clarification of His death. His death was not a tragic, fatal miscarriage of justice. Rather, He laid down His own life FOR OUR SINS. The resurrection, however, is FOR OUR LIFE. The resurrection is the only way we know His death is a triumph.
- The resurrection is a manifestation of Christ’s victory. It is a statement of OUR hope of eternity and the certainty of heaven. The resurrection is a promise of eternity. It is a pledge that affirms Christ’s victory for us.
- The resurrection declares Christ’s authority (see Acts 17:30-31). It establishes Jesus’ authority to judge and assures that every person will stand accountable to Jesus Christ. The resurrection is a warning of absolute justice.
We praise the Lord Jesus for breaking the power of death; for nailing the law to the cross; for disarming the principalities and powers in the heavenly realms and triumphing over them by the cross; for opening the way for us to one with the Father; for sending us the Holy Spirit to bring His resurrection life to our own spirits.
We praise God for Jesus; we praise Jesus for His obedience unto death and for his victory over death; we praise the Holy Spirit for mediating His resurrection life to us and for uniting us with Jesus and with each other for eternity.
Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!