This week before Easter is so special in our Christian heritage. So many things happened in that short span of time. All that Jesus taught about His purpose and pending death were crowding in on mankind, just as the prophets of old had written. Walk through the Gospels with Jesus and His disciples for that week and you will experience many encounters with the Messiah. You can see and feel Him emerging from Jesus the man to Jesus the Savior of the world.
Matthew records Jesus' triumphant entry into to Jerusalem (Matt 21). Prophetic teachings of Zechariah 9 are quoted, as well as the Psalm 118:26 passage.Several parables are used also in chapter 21 as Jesus continues to teach the disciples and confront his combatants. (Fig Tree, Two Sons and The Tenants) and more. Matt. 22-25 records more parables, confrontations and 'woes'. But some of the greatest teachings are found here too: 22:34 (The Greatest Commandment) and the all-important question is posed "Whose Son is the Christ"? Matt 24 contains 'signs of the end of the age' with predictions that parallel many world-happenings we see all around today. "keep watch for we know not the hour you Lord will come." (42).
As you read Chapter 25, one can sense the drama building, parable by parable as the plot against Jesus it built. It is during this time many valuable lessons are taught to his disciples (the religious leaders had no interest in hearing Jesus' true teachings; their only interest was to trap him and ultimately crucify Him. It is here the Lord initiates the "Last Supper", followed by Peter's denial.
We walk further with Jesus into the Garden of Gethsemane and kneel with Him as He prays..."not my will but Thine be done." Soon Jesus is arrested and led away to a night filled with horror and mockery. The mock trial before the Sanhedrin, Peter's denial of Jesus, the account of Judas hanging himself, Jesus appearing before Pilate and then the sentence by the people. "Crucify Him, Crucify Him!" And they did.
There on the lonely hill of Golgotha, outside of Jerusalem, Jesus - our Lord and Savior - bore the sins of the world on his shoulders and died a lonely death between two thieves. What a humiliating death! Then the burial! For his disciples, the world had 'ended', all his promises of a kingdom to share was not to be! Shattered dreams and hopes lay all around them - wherever they may be.
One long, action-packed week. Picture it like a large funnel that tapers off to a narrow opening at the bottom. As water rushes through the funnel, the closer it gets to the narrow opening, the greater the pressure. This is a picture of the week before Easter. Drama, many last-minute "truth-teaching", denials and betrayals, and the ultimate death...but that was just the beginning....wait until the third day! May this be a blessed week as you read the four Gospels and relive that long week leading up to Jesus' death.