Last week of Christ's life
The last week of Christ's life makes up a large percentage of the gospels and even the New Testament. The last week of Christ life is covered from Matthew chapter 21 to Matthew 28. As you can see that is 8 chapters out of 28.
The week starts with the popular event of the Triumphal Entry (Matt 21:1-10). Many believed Jesus was the Messiah that would rule on David's throne. However, to our knowledge everyone of them misunderstood this to mean he would rule on a physical throne.
With their belief that he would be the king they shouted praises for Him.
Jesus went on into the temple and "cleansed it" (Matt 21:12-13). As had become the custom, they perverted the feast time that was shortly to come by buying and selling in the temple. Merchants took advantage of the Jews who had traveled great distances and had to buy sacrifices to offer to God.
As Matthew's account of this day draws to an end he shares the fulfillment of a prophesy with us.
Mat 21:15 And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the son of David; they were sore displeased,
Mat 21:16 And said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?
As you can see the chief priests and scribes did not like the children praising Christ. But Jesus says these young ones had perfected praise for they spoke the truth.
Jesus then went to Bethany which was on the Mount of Olives and lodged there for the night. It's interesting to note that his dear friends Mary, Martha and Lazarus lived in Bethany which happened to be on the Mountain Range known as the Mount of Olives. This was just about 2 miles east of Jerusalem.
We see as Monday begins Jesus saw a fig tree (Matt 21:18-22). Even though it wasn't the season for figs he hoped that he might find some on it. When he found none he cursed the tree.
By putting two accounts together we learn that it was this morning when the disciples learned the lesson from the fig tree. Matthew's account says the disciples marveled at how soon the fig tree withered away. The wording almost misleads us to think the disciples observed the withering immediately on Monday. However Mark 11:20-21 makes it clear that it was this morning (Tuesday). Jesus teaches the following lesson from the tree.
Mark 11:23 For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.
Mark 11:24 Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.
Mark 11:25 And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.
Mark 11:26 But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.
At a minimum we learn the faith we must have when we pray and that we must forgive others their trespasses against us before God will forgive us.
Surprisingly several chapters in such gospels as Matthew are devoted to this day. Jesus is in the temple teaching.
Jesus is immediately confronted and asked by what authority he is teaching these things (Matt 11:27). He asks them a question about the authority of John's Baptism. They refuse to answer Him, so he refuses to answer their question.
Jesus tells many parables.
In one parable Jesus shows two sons. One says he will work for his father. The other says he won't but repents and does work. Jesus makes it clear that one son represented harlots and publicans. The other son represented the Pharisees and elders. Jesus made it clear that the harlots and publicans were more pleasing to God than the Pharisees and elders in that many of them would repent and obey God. The Pharisees would not listen.
This was one of Jesus' main themes for the day. He repeatedly showed in his parables this day that the Pharisees would not accept Him as the Christ, the Son of God. His parables also bore out the fact that they would kill him just as they did some of the other prophets.
Another parable is of a man who "leases" his vineyard. When he sends his servants to get what is his, the servants are mistreated and killed. Lastly he sends his only beloved Son. Yet they would not accept him. They killed him. You know how much it offended the Pharisees to hear Jesus call himself the Son of God. This parable surely offended them greatly. Jesus allusions were unmistakable and the Bible even says they knew he spoke of them.
Another parable is of a man who throws a wedding for his son. Many begin to make excuses. The father resorts to going into the highways to get people to come to the wedding.
This represented the Jewish nation rejecting the gospel. The gospel would be spread to the gentiles. As we know, the thought of this offended the Jews.
At one point the Sadduccees try to trip Jesus up. The Sadduccees did not believe in the resurrection. They wanted to prove him wrong by asking him about a woman who had been married to seven brothers during her earth life. They wanted to know whose wife she would be in the resurrection.
Jesus showed them their lack of knowledge by pointing out that we are like angels in the resurrection and are neither married nor given in marriage in the after life.
Again they make attempts to silence Jesus. They ask him about paying taxes to Caesar. Wisely Jesus asks for a coin and shows them Caesar's inscription. He tells them to render to Caesar what is Caesar's and to render to God what is God's.
They finally wearied of his wise answers and no one dared ask him any more questions.
The Bible makes it clear as in so many cases that they wanted to kill Jesus but feared the multitude. It was obvious from the triumphal entry that the people did not agree with their negative opinion of Jesus. They regarded him as a prophet, and even more than a prophet.
After leaving the temple Jesus told many more parables to his disciples Such deep material as Matthew 24 were covered after Jesus left the temple that day. Matthew 24 talks of the destruction of Jerusalem and Christ's second coming.
We see in Matthew 26:2 Jesus gives us a time reference.
It seems this was Tuesday night since it was still 2 days to the feast.
No information recorded
Mark lets us know that on this day Jesus was annointed.
Mark 14:2 But they said, Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar of the people.
Mark 14:3 And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head.
Matthew also mentions some activities this day.
This was the first day of the Passover Feast, also known as the Feast of Unleaved Bread. We know Jesus sent his disciples to prepare the meal.
He instituted the Lord's supper, and let the disciples know that one of them would kill him. He even specified that it would be Judas Iscariot.
Jeus went to the Mount of Olives. He took Peter, James and John a little farther with him to the garden of Gethsemane. He left them and went a little further to pray. The incident of them falling asleep three times is well known. After the third time Jesus let's them know that his betrayer is at hand.
The next thing we read is that Judas came with many people who had clubs and weapons to get Jesus. He said "Hail master" and kissed Jesus. Peter drew the sword to fight and cut off a man's ear. Jesus told him to put it away. He wanted Peter to remember all the mighty works he had seen Jesus do. Jesus says something very interesting.
Mat 26:53 Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?
Mat 26:54 But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?
Jesus basically said, "After all you've seen me do, don't you think I could call angels to save me if I wanted to? What is your measly sword compared to my power. However, I must allow myself to be taken by them to fulfill prophesy."
Luke 22:51 lets us know that Jesus then healed the ear of the high priest's servant.
Despite all the laws about the right for the accused to be represented and the timing of his trial, they wisk Jesus away into pre-stages of a trial that very night.
The Roman and Jewish trials continue. Due to regulations on the sabbath day they were in a rush to finish Jesus' crucifixion. There is no way we can cover all the detail we know about this day. The Bible alone has much information. Secular history has some information as well. Even by observing the customs of the time from secular history we learn what Jesus crucifixion must have been like.
We know he was spat upon, mocked, and beaten. He was robed once in front of Herod's men and once by Pilot's men. The law said the prisoner was either to be beaten or crucified, but not both. As we know, Jesus was beaten. Despite the law, the crowd convinced Pilot to allow them to crucify Jesus. So after the brutal beating he then had to bear his cross. Due to his poor physical condition after the beating he collapsed beneath the load. Simon of Cyrene was compelled to bear it for him.
Jesus was crucified with two thieves. At first both theives mocked him as the rest of the crowd did. However one repented and acknowledged that Jesus was innocent and asked Jesus to remember him when he came into His kingdom.
There were seven sayings that Jesus uttered on the cross. Finally he died. When the soldiers came around they pierced his side to make sure he was dead.
With the Sabbath approaching they hastened to get him off the cross.
For this one full day our Lord is in the grave. We know he had told the thief that he would be with him in Paradise. We know from prophesy and His own words that he was in Hades. Yet he did not see corruption.
We also know that Jesus followers had basically thrown in the towel. They did not yet understand his prophesies that he would raise the third day. The gospel accounts let us know that it was after he raised that they understood these things. We can only assume that the family and disciples were in despair. There hopes of Jesus ruling on an earthly throne had been shattered.
Early in the morning the tomb was found empty.