The Passion Week—Jesus’ final week of life and ministry on earth—contains several memorable events. It began with Jesus’ triumphal entry into the city of Jerusalem on Sunday (called Palm Sunday) and included a week filled with His teachings, preaching, and great confrontations with His enemies—the Jewish religious leaders. As the Gospels reveal, “the events include vigorous discussions, penetrating questions, insightful responses by our Lord Jesus, the self-sacrifice of the crucifixion, and the momentous victory of the resurrection.”
Sunday through Wednesday, the Lord Jesus spent each night with His disciples in Bethany, a village just two miles east of Jerusalem on the opposite or eastern slope of the Mount of Olives. He probably stayed at the home of His friends—Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. He spent Thursday night praying in the Garden of Gethsemane. During Friday and Saturday nights, His body lay in the garden tomb. On early Sunday morning, the tomb was empty—Jesus rose from the dead!
The week ended with the Lord Jesus actually initiating a post-resurrection period of instruction and encouragement for His disciples. He is recorded in the New Testament to have made several appearances to His followers before His ascension to heaven—that is, before leaving this world and entering heaven. For 40 days between His resurrection and ascension, Jesus appeared to His own disciples on several occasions—some of these being on the day of resurrection—others after the resurrection.
Below is the Passion Week record of events in the order of their occurrence. Each event is listed under the appropriate day it occurred and supported with appropriate Gospel passages, so that you can go back to the Bible and refresh yourself with the stories.
However, like several other Passion Week record of events out there, this chronology of events is not complete. In fact, it is possible that there is none complete—because they are all organized differently—none of them comes with the full list of activities or events mentioned in the Bible. Moreover, many events that happened during Jesus’ final week of life and ministry on earth are not even told or recorded in the Gospels or in the Epistles (see John 21:25). That should probably suggest that we approach the topic with a fairly high degree of flexibility.
Some have argued for years, and have tried to change, for example, the days the events of Jesus’ arrest, His Crucifixion, and Resurrection occurred. Others are still debating on these issues, relentlessly trying to change the views of those who disagree with them.
Our intention here is not to change anybody’s mind about these events—when, how, and where they happened or occurred. We are not trying to force a more rigid structure on this teaching than the Scriptures give them. We just want to lay bare the facts as we understand from the Scriptures. In fact, our sole objective is to try and help others understand the actions of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on the days before His betrayal, arrest, trial, crucifixion and resurrection. Every truly serious Christian would want to know more about Christ’s suffering and appreciate the passion with which He willingly went to the cross on our behalf. Reading this Passion Week chronology of events would definitely help you understand what Christ went through for your sake. Since the Bible’s own words are more important than anything we could ever say about them, we advise you carefully read the Gospels first, and then this chronology of events. Our hope and prayer is that you are introduced to the study of the Bible through this chronology of events.
It is important to point out that it was from a city called Ephraim that the final days of Jesus’ life and ministry on earth began to count down. As the Passover of the Jews was near, the Lord Jesus left the city of Ephraim with His disciples to Jerusalem to participate in the festival. Six days before the Passover, He arrived at Bethany (the home of Mary and Martha and their brother Lazarus, the man He had raised from the dead) near Bethphage on the road to Jerusalem. Here, in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor, which Martha helped served. While the Lord Jesus was eating, Mary came and anointed Him with an expensive perfume. This action Jesus said, was done in preparation for His burial (see Matthew 26:6-13; Mark 3:9; John 11:53-12:8). Since the Crucifixion took place on a Friday in Jerusalem, this dinner and anointing in Jesus’ honor at Bethany likely occurred during the evening of the previous Saturday—the day of His arrival at Bethany—in preparation for His triumphal entry into Jerusalem the next day, Sunday.
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