A Timeline of Holy Week
The last week in the life of Jesus is often referred to as Holy Week. The week leading up to His death, burial, and resurrection is a time when Christians across the globe prepare mentally and spiritually to celebrate Christ’s sacrifice and ultimate defeat of sin and death on Easter Sunday. Here is a timeline of events of Holy week according to the Gospels.
- On Palm Sunday, Jesus triumphantly enters Jerusalem. “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, Hosanna in the highest!” Matthew 21
- Jesus enters the temple, driving out all who are buying and selling. “It is written ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer'” Matthew 21
- As Jesus is challenged, He shares the greatest commands. “Love the Lord with all your heart. Love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 21-25
- Jesus warns His disciples that He will be handed over and crucified. The chief priests and elders plot to secretly arrest and kill Him. Matthew 26
- Judas agrees to betray Jesus in exchange for money. Later, Mary anoints Jesus with oil to prepare Him for His burial. (Luke 22, John 12)
- Jesus shares with His disciples at the Passover feast, “This is My body given for you … this is My blood poured out for you …” Luke 22
- During Passover, Jesus humbly washes the disciples’ feet. He then states, ” … one of you will betray Me,” speaking of Judas. John 13
- Jesus continues to teach His disciples, “Love one another as I have loved you. By this men will know you are My disciples.” John 13:34-35
- Jesus also predicts Peter’s denial. ” … Truly, I say to you, the rooster will not crow till you have denied Me three times.” John 13:38
- As the disciples sleep, Jesus prays in agony, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but Yours be done.”
- Judas arrives with a large crowd armed with swords and clubs. He betrays Jesus with a kiss (a secret signal to the crowd). Matthew 26:47-50
- Jesus is arrested and taken to the palace of the high priest. “This must happen for the Scriptures to be fulfilled.” Matthew 26:54-58
- Overnight, head priests sentenced Jesus to death for saying He’s the Son of God. Peter denied Jesus 3 times before dawn, as predicted.
- Judas goes back to religious leaders, “I have sinned and betrayed innocent blood.” He throws the money, runs away and hangs himself. Mattew 27
- Jesus goes before Pilate and Herod; neither man finds charge. Jesus is mocked and beaten, but the crowd screams, “CRUCIFY HIM!” Luke 23:21
- Pilate gives the crowd a choice: free Barabbas (a murderer) or release Jesus (who was found not guilty of any offense). Matthew 27
- The crowd chooses to release Barabbas. Pilate turns Jesus over to them. They put a robe and crown of thorns on Jesus’ head.
- The crowd mocks Jesus. “Hail, King of the Jews!” They beat and spit on Him, placing the cross on His back as they lead Him to Calvary.
- At Calvary, they nail Jesus to the cross. “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do,” Jesus declares. Luke 23:33-34
- Hanging among two thieves, one says, “We are punished justly … this man has done nothing wrong. Jesus, remember me in Your kingdom.” Jesus replies to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you shall be with Me in paradise.” Luke 23:43
- At noon, darkness falls over the land and remains for three hours as Jesus is crucified. Mark 15:33
- Jesus exclaims, “My God, why have You forsaken me?” He’s given wine to drink, bows His head and with His last breath: “It is finished.”
- Instantly, the Temple veil (separating the people from God) rips in two. The earth shakes, rocks split and tombs break open. Matthew 27:51
- Having seen these things, the centurion and those with him were afraid, exclaiming, “Surely this man was the Son of God!” Matthew 27:54
- Soldiers come and break the legs of the two thieves. They pierce Jesus’ side instead, causing a flow of blood and water. John 19:34
- This fulfilled Scripture: “Not one of His bones will be broken.” “He was pierced for our sins.” Isaiah 53:5; John 19:36
- That night, a man named Joseph asks for Jesus’ body. He wraps it in cloth and puts it in a tomb where no one had been laid. Luke 23:53
- Guards are sent to keep watch at the tomb because they remember Jesus’ words: “After three days I will rise again.” Matthew 27:63
- At the tomb, Mary and others find the stone is rolled away. “Jesus is not here; He has risen, just as He said,” an angel assures! Mark 16
- Peter and John rush to the tomb to verify. They find Jesus’ burial linens, but His body is indeed gone. In disbelief, they head home.
- Outside the tomb, Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene. “Why are you weeping? Go to My brothers and tell them I am ascending to My Father.”
- Jesus appears to Cleopas and a friend on the road to Emmaus. Their eyes are opened to recognize Jesus, and they report back to others.
- Jesus also visits the disciples, but they are frightened. He affirms, “Why do you doubt? Look at My hands and feet; it is Me!” Luke 24
BUT the story doesn’t end here …
- For 40 days, Jesus appears to many others. He instructs His disciples, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations …” (Matthew 28:19-20)
- “After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was taken up into heaven and He sat at the right hand of God” (Mark 16:19) Angels then appear to the disciples to assure them that Jesus will once again return! (Acts 1:10-11)
Jesus’ work on the cross was for YOU. Your sins are forgiven. Let His story burn in your heart and inspire you to share the Good News!
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