The Sunday before Resurrection Sunday (or Easter as the world knows it) is called Palm Sunday. According to John 12:12-13, “On the next day much people that were come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, Took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried, Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord.”
The Palm Tree
The palm tree was a sign of joy and victory; so they carried branches of palms in their hands, as they met the Messiah who was about to make His public entrance into Jerusalem in triumph; and whereby His sufferings and death, He should gain the victory over sin, Satan, the world, and death; and thus lay a solid foundation for joy and peace to all that believe in Him.
Holy Week BeginsHol
Now, on the following day, Holy Week begins. Let’s explore Holy Week by looking at the events that took place during that week. On Holy Monday according to Matthew 21:18-19, Jesus returned from Bethany to Jerusalem early in the morning and He was hungry. Jesus came to a fig tree, but there were no figs; only leaves were on the tree, and Jesus said: “Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away.” And to this very day, that same fig tree still does not produce any figs.
Jesus Teaching in the Temple
In Matthew 21:23-24, Jesus enters the temple on Holy Tuesday. He appeared as the Messiah and He began to teach the chief priests and the elders about Himself, about the kingdom, grace, regeneration, and salvation. Jesus had previously driven the money changers out of the temple, He began to restore sight to the blind, and He made the lame to walk. Although the chief priests never denied that Jesus was teaching the truth, they wanted to know who gave Jesus permission to do these things.
No doubt the chief priest and elders felt somewhat threatened by Jesus because He didn’t attend any college nor had He received any formal training, yet He knows all things, and while the Sadducees, Pharisees, the chief priests, and the elders seemed to be losing popularity, Jesus was gaining the attention of the crowd.
Attempting to Trap Jesus
They attempted to trap Jesus but the Messiah was on a mission as He was nearing the end of His earthly ministry. On Holy Wednesday, Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve disciples devised a scheme to betray His Master, went to the chief priests, and asked them according to Matthew 26:14-16, “What will ye give me, and I will deliver Him unto you?”
They agreed to give him thirty pieces of silver (the price paid for a slave at the time; worth approximately $225.00 today) in exchange for Jesus. From that point on, Judas looked for the perfect opportunity to deliver or betray his Master. Judas was one of the twelve that Jesus selected but he allowed Satan to enter his mind and thus he executed a scheme to betray Jesus.
On Holy Thursday, Jesus is about to face the most difficult and agonizing time of His life so, in Matthew 26:39, He prays to the Father and ask “if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me,” referring to the cup of distress, suffering, and even death that He was about to partake. However, answering His own question, Jesus said: “not as I will, but as Thou wilt.”
Here we see the divine nature of Christ as well as His human nature and, although His human nature was different from the divine will of God, Jesus’s divine nature was always to do the will of His Father.
Jesus not only obeyed, but He surrendered to the will of His Father. The events of Good Friday are as follows: Jesus is betrayed by Judas Iscariot, arrested, and condemned. He stands trial before Pilate, is sentenced to death, and led away to Calvary.
Casting Lots, Mocked and Insulted
Soldiers cast lots for Jesus clothes. Jesus is mocked and insulted. He pardons the thief on the cross, then around the sixth hour (noon) darkness covers the land, around 1:00 pm Jesus cries out to His Father.
Jesus was thirsty but was given vinegar on a sponge instead of water and, about 2:00 pm, Jesus said, “It is finished.” According to Matthew 27:50, around 3:00 pm which is the ninth hour Jesus yielded. He willingly gave up the ghost (His spirit). Jesus laid down His life for the sins of the world. Jesus died freely and voluntarily for you and me and this is proof of His great love and His amazing grace.
On Good Saturday, the body of Jesus was taken down off the cross by Joseph of Arimathaea. His body was wrapped in clean linen which signified His purity and innocence (Jesus had not sinned but died for the sins of mankind). Jesus’s body was placed in Joseph’s new tomb, a tomb that had never been used by anyone.
When Jesus was born, He had nowhere to lay His head and, in death, He had no tomb of His own. Although the tomb was made with doors in which to go in and out, they rolled a large and broad stone in front of the tomb to preserve the body and to keep anyone from stealing it. As if that was not enough, soldiers guarded the tomb for added security because they remembered that Jesus said: “After three days I will rise again.”
The Time of Mourning and The Resurrection
The time of mourning officially began; the disciples tried to understand the murder of Jesus, the betrayal of Judas, and the dashing of their hopes. Then early on Resurrection Sunday, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were the first to arrive at the tomb of the Savior. According to Matthew 28:6, the angel said to them, “He is not here: for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.” Jesus told them prior to the crucifixion that He would indeed rise in three days but very few believed Him. Oh, but when they saw the empty tomb, that was proof that the Savior that had hung, bled, died, was buried, was now ALIVE! Christ Jesus is risen and He lives forevermore!