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Day Four Wednesday: Holy Wednesday

The Last Week of Jesus’ Life

Note: The precise time line of Jesus’ last week is debated. Following is one respected timeline accepted by many final week scholars. The timing begins on Palm Sunday and ends on a Resurrection Sunday. Due to space constraints the following lacks details.

Scripture is silent regarding the events of this day.

In light of the Scripture not revealing the events of this day has resulted in speculation. Perhaps as a result of the intensely busy days prior it was used as a day of rest in order to prepare for the Passover.     

One of the most momentous events of the past days was the raising of Lazarus. Scripture indicates what an emotional event it was for Jesus.

Jesus’ response at the death of His friend Lazarus gives insight into His attitude regarding sin and death. The story is recorded in John 11: 17 – 45.

When Jesus arrived in Bethany from Jericho, He was greeted by Mary and “…He saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in His spirit and was troubled” (John 11: 33).

How did Jesus react to the death of someone He loved? 

“Jesus wept.”  (11: 35) It’s the shortest verse of the Bible. The expression means He cried deeply.  He didn’t just get misty eyed… Jesus wept.  He was sad.

In the face of death, Jesus didn’t only cry. He had a second reaction, He got angry. Yes, Jesus got mad.  Jesus was “deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled.” (11:33)  “Deeply moved” translates the Greek word embrimaomai. (Embre-my-o-my)

NLT translates it: “a deep anger welled up within him, and he was deeply troubled.”

For emphasis it is said three times in John 11 that Jesus was angry. Two of the words are the same, and they are the strongest Greek words for furious indignation. The expression uses a pictorial word that literally means “to snort.” It is a metaphor. A metaphor is a term for something it isn’t. Some athletic metaphors are: “the team was hungry,” “they were on fire,” “the team cooled off,” and “the play blew up.” Metaphors appear elsewhere in the Bible, such as, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race” (II Timothy 4: 7).

The Greek word used in the account is a metaphor which was used to depict the fury of a warhorse about to charge into battle. The steed rears up on his hind legs, snorts through its nostrils, an expression for fury, paws the air, and charges into the conflict. To snort in spirit was the strongest Greek word for anger. It is the word used of Jesus. Face to face with evil, in this premature death of His good friend, He is outraged. Why? Jesus was angry and troubled at the destruction and power of the great enemy of humanity: death. Jesus would soon break the dominating power of death. Evil is not normal. As the Creator Jesus made the world good, beautiful, full of life, joy, and justice. Evil despoiled these. 

About what was Jesus angry? Summarily His anger was at Satan for introducing evil into the world. He was angry over sin because it produced death. James 1:15 notes “…sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.”

He was angry with death because of the grief death brought. His anger was because of these four combined factors. His holy indignation was so strong He snorted. The term applied to humans is a metaphor for anger.

His response resulted in two emotions, sorrow, He wept, and anger, He snorted. Action followed.

As a precursor for His soon to be final encounter with these interlopers to what life was intended to be, Jesus was about to take action to overcome them.

He overcame death when “He cried with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come forth!’” (11:43)

Day Three Tuesday: Jesus Goes to the Temple Mount

The Last Week of Jesus’ Life

Note: The precise time line of Jesus’ last week is debated. Following is one respected timeline accepted by many final week scholars. The timing begins on Palm Sunday and ends on a Resurrection Sunday. Due to space constraints the following lacks details.

Matthew 21: 23 – 24

On Tuesday morning Jesus returned to Jerusalem. On His way He passed a withered fig tree which Jesus used as an object lesson on faith. On this eventful day Scripture indicates that this Tuesday was also the day Judas Iscariot negotiated with the Sanhedrin, the rabbinical court of ancient Israel, to betray Jesus (Matthew 26:14-16).

Awaiting Jesus at the temple was an upset group of religious leaders. They were concerned over Jesus having postured Himself as a spiritual authority. They designed a plot to arrest Him. Jesus evaded their trap and harshly condemned them saying: “Blind guides!…For you are like whitewashed tombs—beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity. Outwardly you look like righteous people, but inwardly your hearts are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness…Snakes! Sons of vipers! How will you escape the judgment of hell?” (Matthew 23:24-33).

In the late afternoon Jesus returned to one of His favorite nearby retreats, the Mount of Olives which forms the eastern ridge opposite Jerusalem on the western ridge. Running through the valley formed by the ridges was the Kidron Valley in which was the Garden of Gethsemane. 

With Jerusalem as the background Jesus delivered what is known as the “Olivet Discourse,” a prophecy related to the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the age. He used symbolic language and parables about His second coming, end times, and the final judgment.

Central in His discourse He declared: “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.  Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me. Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!”

Pause and declare your desire for Him to be glorified by you.

Fatigued by the confrontations of the day and extensive teaching He and His disciples retreated to Bethany where they spent the night.

The events of this complex Tuesday featuring the Olivet Discourse are recorded in Matthew 21:23–24:51, Mark 11:20–13:37, Luke 20:1–21:36, and John 12:20–38.

Day Two Monday: Jesus Clears the Temple

The Last Week of Jesus’ Life

Note: The precise time line of Jesus’ last week is debated. Following is one respected timeline accepted by many final week scholars. The timing begins on Palm Sunday and ends on a Resurrection Sunday. Due to space constraints the following lacks details.

Matthew 21: 12 – 22, Luke 19: 45 – 48

The Temple of Jerusalem was a special sacred place. The temple courtyard encompassed fourteen acres with a column-lined portico all around. It could accommodate over 200,000 persons at one time.

Religious reform was needed. Religion had become ritual; worship had degenerated into works grievous to the core; spiritual truth had become hidden, hand washing had become more important than cleansing of the heart; repeating the Law was more important than keeping it. Conscience had become crushed by ceremony and the joy of worship extinguished.

How could anyone worship in this carnival-like atmosphere? The place was considered sacred, the house of God. Here the Ark of the Covenant containing the tablets on which the Ten Commandments were inscribed, abided. Little wonder Jesus’ wrath was kindled.

Jesus said they made “My Father’s house a house of merchandising.” The disciples remembered the Scripture: Psalms 69:9.

Malachi 3:1 prophesied that immediately after the forerunner, Messiah would cleanse the temple.

Christ ran out the cattle, turned over money tables and gave them dove cages to take out (Vss. 15 & 16).  Isa. 52:13 notes He would deal prudently. His reaction was controlled indignation.

To gain a biblical understanding of this subject, consider two groups of anger. One is ventilation and the other indignation. One is good, the other isn’t. One is characteristic of Jesus and should be of us, the other isn’t a trait of our Lord and should not be of us.

One ventilation is a term used for improper anger, the losing of the temper, blow-up kind.

The other indignation is a term for the feelings of Jesus in the temple. It is a strong displeasure over unrighteousness. Indignation means you become incensed. When it is vented toward sin it is righteous indignation and that is good.

In reality there is in Christ that which would horrify the pacifist. He is our Physician, the lover of our souls, and the Prince of Peace, but He also abhors evil.

Day One Sunday: Palm Sunday the Triumphant Entry

The Last Week of Jesus’ Life

Note: The precise time line of Jesus’ last week is debated. Following is one respected timeline accepted by many final week scholars. The timing begins on Palm Sunday and ends on a Resurrection Sunday. Due to space constraints the following lacks details.

Matthew 21: 1 – 11, Luke 19: 28 – 44, John 12: 12 – 19

Jesus sent two of His apostles to find a donkey with an unbroken colt. They were to be His mode of transportation into Jerusalem.

It is commonly stated that the same people who cried “Hosanna” were the same people who later shouted “Crucify Him.” Not so! Consider the custom of the era.

Jesus awoke in Bethany, a small village on the eastern side of the Mount of Olives, and began His eventful day. His mode of transportation was a donkey and the fold of a donkey. Prophetically it was revealed the Messiah would enter Jerusalem in this way. Some critics say there is a conflict in the account, one notes He rode a donkey and another that He rode the colt. He rode both. The colt was not strong enough to carry Him all the way even though it was only five or six miles. He rode the donkey to Jerusalem and the colt into Jerusalem.

Jewish tribes coming to Jerusalem in the Bible era for the Passover always camped in the same places. Those from Galilee always camped on the southern end of the Mount of Olives. To get from Bethany, where Jesus had spent the night, to Jerusalem  Jesus had to travel through their encampment. Galileans knew Jesus, much of His ministry was performed there. On His way to Jerusalem He passed through their encampment. As He did, they shouted “Hosanna” and other praises. He was their champion. Galileans being from an agrarian culture people, farmers, shepherds, and fishermen, wanted the Romans driven out and their heavy tax removed.. Their motivation for shouting praise was likely not of Him as Messiah, but potential liberator. It was nonetheless fitting praise.

From the summit of the Mount Olives to the gates of Jerusalem on a straight line was no more than 400 to 500 yards. The two ridges were separated by the Kidron Valley in which was the Garden of Gethsemane.

The people around and in the gates of Jerusalem could easily have heard the shouts on the Mount of Olives and paused in wonderment to listen. The praise of the Galilean would have further irritated and angered them.

Later in Jerusalem the religious and merchandising community led the crowd shouting “Crucify Him.” They were profiting from the business provided by the Romans and wanted to placate them, thus they were inclined to condemn Jesus.

It was not the same crowd shouting the two different expressions as commonly thought in Western culture.

These two groups typify our society. One praises Jesus and the other opposes him. We each belong to one or the other. The choice of our group is ours. Today even those who love Jesus as savior are faced with personal choices and each provide Him praise or criticism. The choice is yours.

When Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey shortly before His arrest and crucifixion, the people placed palm branches on the road before Him (John 12:12-13; Matthew 21:7-8). The palm branches depicted joy, celebration and welcome to the King.

The Day Before Jesus’ Final Week

The day before Jesus’ last visit to Jerusalem He dealt with death on a broad scale at the tomb of His dear friend Lazarus.

Jesus’ response at the death of His friend Lazarus gives insight into His attitude regarding sin and death. The story is recorded in John 11: 17 – 45.

When Jesus arrived in Bethany from Jericho, He was greeted by Mary and “…He saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in His spirit and was troubled. (John 11: 33)

How did Jesus react to the death of someone He loved? 

“Jesus wept.”  (11: 35) It’s the shortest verse of the Bible. The expression means He cried deeply.  He didn’t just get misty eyed…Jesus wept.  He was sad.

In the face of death, Jesus didn’t only cry. He had a second reaction, He got angry. Yes, Jesus got mad.  Jesus was “deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled.” (11:33)  “Deeply moved” translates the Greek word embrimaomai. (Embre-my-o-my)

NLT translates it: “a deep anger welled up within him, and he was deeply troubled.”

For emphasis it is said three times in John 11 that Jesus was angry. Two of the words are the same, and they are the strongest Greek words for furious indignation. The expression uses a pictorial word that literally means “to snort.” It is a metaphor. A metaphor is a term for something it isn’t. Some athletic metaphors are: “the team was hungry,” “they were on fire,” “the team cooled off,” and “the play blew up.” Metaphors appear elsewhere in the Bible, such as, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race. (II Timothy 4: 7)

The Greek word used in the account is a metaphor which was used to depict the fury of a warhorse about to charge into battle. The steed rears up on his hind legs, snorts through its nostrils, an expression for fury, paws the air, and charges into the conflict. To snort in spirit was the strongest Greek word for anger. It is the word used of Jesus. Face to face with evil, in this premature death of His good friend, He is outraged. Why? Jesus was angry and troubled at the destruction and power of the great enemy of humanity: death. Jesus would soon break the dominating power of death. Evil is not normal. As the Creator Jesus made the world good, beautiful, full of life, joy, and justice. Evil despoiled these. 

About what was Jesus angry? Summarily His anger was at Satan for introducing evil into the world. He was angry over sin because it produced death. James 1:15 notes “…sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.”

He was angry with death because of the grief death brought. His anger was because of these four combined factors. His holy indignation was so strong He snorted. The term applied to humans is a metaphor for anger.

His response resulted in two emotions, sorrow, He wept, and anger, He snorted. Action followed.

As a precursor for His soon to be final encounter with these interlopers to what life was intended to be, Jesus was about to take action to overcome them.

He overcame death when “He cried with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come forth!’” (11:43)

Jesus’ snort, that is His anger at Lazarus’ grave, was to be followed a few days later when He charged into His final conflict and overcame sin, death, and the grave by His sinless death and bodily resurrection. In doing so He overcame the four evils introduced into the world by Satan, which caused Him to express his sorrow by weeping, and His anger, by snorting.

All that because He loves you.