There is no more important holiday celebration for those who are followers of Christ than the day we call Easter. While the origins of this name are not absolutely clear (some say it originated from the pagan goddess of Spring, Eostre; others think it is related to an old German word that meant ‘east’ or ‘dawn’), it is a name that has long been associated by many Christians with the day of Christ’s resurrection. Even so, I prefer calling it Resurrection Sunday.
Whatever name you prefer, it is the reason behind the existence of our faith. Our faith is founded upon the fact of Christ’s death and resurrection. Without the resurrection, our faith is meaningless or ‘futile’, according to Paul. It is the most important fact of human history we must teach our grandchildren.
With that in mind, I wonder what measures most of us take to prepare ourselves for this critical, celebratory day? I’m not simply talking about a liturgy (which can be very useful, by the way). This is about a personal journey to retrace the events of this week leading up to our Lord’s horrible crucifixion. I doubt we can begin to comprehend the price He paid for us. We rejoice in the Resurrection, but if we are to adequately teach our children and grandchildren the magnitude of the price our Savior paid for our sin debt, we ought to ponder the events of this Passion Week.
To help you do that, I have listed some of the events in Jesus’ life during this week with Scripture references. I would encourage you to visit these passages each day and ponder the intentionality with which our Lord directed his steps toward the Cross. I have included a question for each day to help you process this Passion Week journey.
Palm Sunday (Matthew 21; Mark 11; Luke 19; John 2)
- Jesus rides on a colt into Jerusalem as the crowds shout “Hosanna! Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”
- Spends the night in Bethany
Question: What does Jesus’ kingship really mean, and in what ways do you also miss what it means?
MONDAY (Mark 11:12-19)
- Back to Jerusalem
- Jesus clears the Temple
- The Pharisees plot to kill Jesus
Question: The Bible says we are God’s Temple. Ask God to show you how you might be dishonoring that ‘temple’?
TUESDAY (Mark 11:20 – 13:35; Luke 20:1-21:36)
- Returns again to Jerusalem
- Parable of the Tenants
- Paying taxes to Caesar
- Widow’s offering
Question: How do the teachings of Jesus in these passages reveal what Jesus’ mission was and how ought these to shape your life as a follower of Christ?
WEDNESDAY (Luke 21:37-38)
- More teaching in the Temple
- Signs of the end of the age (Luke 21:5-36)
- Judas agrees to betray Jesus (Matthew 26:14-16; Luke 22:1-6)
Question: As Jesus talked about signs for the end of the age, what do you think He meant by telling us to “keep watch”? How are you keeping watch?
THURSDAY (Matthew 26:17-75; Mark 14:12-72; Luke 22:7-65; John 13:1-18:27)
- Passover with the disciples
- The betrayal and arrest
- Before the Sanhedrin
- Peter’s Denial
Question: What did these different events of this day reveal to you about our Lord’s heart towards us, even in our weaknesses?
GOOD FRIDAY (Matthew 27:1-61; Mark 15:1-47; Luke 22:66-23:56; John 18:1-27)
- Judas hangs himself
- Before Pilate
- The crucifixion
- The burial
Question: As you ponder the excruciating agony our Lord suffered on this day, do you have a better grasp of the depth of suffering He endured for you? How does that impact how you live your life now and the importance of telling the next generations what He has done for us?