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!
This Good Friday, the cross of Jesus reminds us …
What if Jesus lived next door? I mean, literally. What if Jesus was your neighbor in the house or apartment next door? I wonder what kind of neighbor He would be.
Easter is part of the Christian faith, but it can be difficult to talk about Easter with our children. One of the biggest myths we believe is that young people don’t care about the evidence of faith that our generation knows and understands. However, Easter is not just about bunnies and candy in a basket, but about something very important that actually happened.