A Chronology of Holy Week

Next week is the most important week of the year for a Christian. Here’s a brief synopsis of the timing of events that took place with the corresponding Scriptures.

Palm Sunday
Triumphal entry into Jerusalem Mt.21:1-11; Mk. 11:1-10; Lk. 19:29-44; Jn.12:12-19

Monday in Holy Week

Jesus curses the fig tree    Mt.21:18-19; Mk.11:12-14
Jesus cleanses the temple    Mt. 21:12-13; Mk.11:15-18

Tuesday in Holy Week

Jesus teaches in the temple    Mt. 21:18-23:39; Mk. 12:1-44; Lk. 20:9-21:4
Jesus anointed in Bethany    Mt. 26: 6-13; Mk.14:3-9; Jn.12: 2-11

Wednesday in Holy Week

The plot against Jesus        Mt. 26:14-16; Mk.14:10-11; Lk. 22:3-6

Maundy Thursday

The Last Supper        Mt. 26:17-29; Mk.14:12-25; Lk. 22:7-20; Jn. 13 :1-38
Jesus Comforts disciples    John 14:1-16:33
Gethsemane            Mt. 26:36-46; Mk. 14:32-42; Lk. 22:40-46

Late Thursday/Early Friday

Jesus’ Arrest and trial    Mt. 26:47-27:26; Mk. 14:43-15:15; Lk. 22:47-23:25; Jn. 18:2-19:16

Good Friday

Jesus’ crucifixion/death    Mt. 27:27-56; Mk. 15:16-41; Lk. 23:26-49; Jn. 19:17-30
Jesus’ burial            Mt. 27:57-66; Mk. 15:42-47; Lk. 23:50-56; Jn. 19:31-42

The empty tomb        Mt. 28:1-10; Mk.16:1-8; Lk. 24:1-12; Jn. 20:11-48
Mary Magdalene sees Jesus    Mk. 16:9-11; Jn. 20:11-18
The Road to Emmaus        Mk. 16:12-13; Lk.24:13-35
Jesus appears to 10 disciples     Mk. 16:14; Lk.24:36-43; Jn. 20:19-25


Holy Week Worship Services

Here are several worship services that we have offered during Holy Week.

Palm Sunday Worship Servicehttp://www.box.net/shared/meuhlgyx82

Messianic Passover Sederhttp://www.box.net/shared/hg219v3srs

Good Friday Worship Service – http://www.box.net/shared/yqd2e5yyt2

Resurrection Sunday Worship Service – http://www.box.net/shared/vufzp8ne68

In the Hands of a Loving Father – A Devotional for Good Friday

Today is called Good Friday. What a strange designation! On this day, we remember the execution of a supposed criminal who threatened the power brokers of his society. Thus, he needed to be eliminated.

Notice the other hands that were involved in the cruel events of Good Friday. A perfectly innocent was delivered into the hands of sinners who tortured and crucified Him (Matthew 17:22-23). He was betrayed by a sinner into the hands of sinners (Matthew 26:45). With “wicked hands” (Acts 2:23) they crucified Him.

How comforting it must have been now for Jesus to entrust Himself into the loving hands of His heavenly Father! How encouraging it is to know that today is called Good Friday because death died the day Christ died.

Where do we appeal when life throws us its worst? To use the phrases of Max Lucado: What do you do when life seems futile, sin seems fatal, and death seems final?

Throw your anchor into Psalm 31:1-5. The climax of the passion narrative in Luke’s gospel reads: “Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last.’” (Luke 23:46)

Why does Jesus pray this Psalm prayer?

  • To remind us of where to appeal when a situation seems hopeless.

Jesus prayed this prayer to point us to whom we appeal when everything around us is imploding – to our heavenly Father. J.I. Packer reminds us of the glorious privilege for Christians to call God “Father:”

If you want to judge how well a person understands Christianity, find out how much he makes of the thought of being God’s child, and having God as his Father. If this is not the thought that prompts and controls his worship and prayers and his whole outlook on life, it means that he does not understand Christianity very well at all. For everything that Christ taught, everything that makes the New Testament new, and better than the Old, everything that is distinctively Christian as opposed to merely Jewish, is summed up in the knowledge of the Fatherhood of God. ‘Father’ is the Christian name for God.

  • To strengthen our resolve to pray this prayer after Him. Jesus prays this Psalm to give suffering believers a model prayer. The words from this Psalm have for centuries formed part of the evening prayer of Jewish believers and probably did so for Jesus as well. Jesus had heard this prayer all of his life.

Peter counsels suffering Christians in 1 Peter 4:19: “Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.” Many thousands of believers have pillowed their heads with this prayer of Jesus as they have gone to their eternal rest.

J.C. Ryle, an Anglican pastor in the last 1800s, writes that Jesus’ prayer affords …an example which every believer should strive to follow. Like our Master, we should not be afraid to confront the king of terrors. We should regard him as a vanquished enemy, whose sting has been taken away by Christ’s death. We should think of him as a foe who can hurt the body for a little season, but after that has no more that he can do. We should await his approaches with calmness and patience, and believe that when flesh fails our soul will be in good keeping.

Biblical Example: The dying Stephen at his martyrdom uttered words that mirrored Christ’s: “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit” (Acts 7:59). The aged Apostle Paul declared: “I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed to him against that day” (2 Timothy 1:12).

Athanasius offers this counsel to his friend Marcellinus:

“When you see that you are despised and persecuted for the truth’s sake by all your friends and relatives, do not give up concern either for them or for yourself. And if you see your acquaintances turning against you, do not be alarmed, but separate yourself from them and turn your mind to the future and sing Psalm 30 (our 31).”

  • To offer assurance to dying believers so that they are enabled to die a peaceable death.

This prayer of Jesus reminds us what a wonderfully assuring privilege and security it is to live and die conscious of the reality that we indeed belong to the Lord and that we have God for our Father. The first question of the Heidelberg Catechism written in 1563 AD reminds us of this: “What is your only comfort in life and in death? That I am not my own, but belong with body and soul, both in life and in death, to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ…”

  • To remind us implicitly of who He is. (what he prays and how he prays it). Jesus prayed this prayer to give us an implicit reminder that He is fully God. If we look at that Psalm, we see that Jesus stops short of quoting the entire verse.  Psalm 31:5:  “Into Your hand I commit my spirit; You have redeemed me, O Lord God of truth.” Why would He not finish the verse?  Because the end of the verse did not apply to Him!  Instead, the verse pointed TO Jesus because He Himself is our Redeemer! He brings about the redemption of His people as He Himself is redeemed from death.

A loud cry is unusual from a man nearly dead by crucifixion. This is not an inarticulate death cry but a final prayer to God. Jesus had declared that “I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man takes it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.” (John 10:17, 18.)

Because Jesus was delivered into the hands of sinners, we can all the days of our lives and at the moment of our death entrust ourselves into the hands of our loving Father.

Horatius Bonar wrote:   “Twas I that shed the sacred blood; I nailed him to the tree; I crucified the Christ of God; I joined the mockery.  Of all that shouting multitude I feel that I am one; And in that din of voices rude I recognize my own.  Around the cross the throng I see, Mocking the Sufferer’s groan; Yet still my voice it seems to be, as if I mocked alone.”

Prayer: Father, into whose hands your Son, Jesus Christ, commended his spirit, grant that we too, following his example may in all of life and at the moment of our death entrust our lives into your faithful hands of love. “To You we now entrust all that we have received from You, so shall we lose nothing.  You made us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You.”  For we pray in the name of Jesus, who gave his life for us all. Amen.

A Devotional Guide for Holy Week

The upcoming week ranks supreme in our church calendar as well as in the life of any follower of Jesus. Thus, I would encourage you to not let this week go by without intentionally spending time in God’s Word asking the living Lord Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit to speak to you.

In our day, the church has lost much of its observance of Holy Week and we are spiritually impoverished because of it. The prayers and Scriptures below are designed to walk you through the events surrounding the passion and sufferings of our Lord. You don’t have to implement the whole guide, but the Lord has a blessing for you in some part of the devotional guide below. I commend it to you as a simple resource to spiritually engage with Christ at this important time of year! This simple guide comes from my days of serving on the staff of a great church called Intown Community Church in Atlanta, GA.

Devotions for Holy Week

Lord Jesus Christ, in this solemn week when we see again the depth and mystery of your redeeming love, help us to follow where you go, to stop where you stumble, to listen when you cry, to hurt as you suffer, to bow our heads in sorrow when you die, so that when you are raised to life again we may truly share in your endless joy. Amen.
– Prayer for Holy Week, Book of Common Order of the Church of Scotland, 1994

We hope that you can find time each day to remember and celebrate all that Jesus endured to rescue us. When reflecting on the gospels, be mindful of certain questions: What is this passage telling us about Jesus – his person, work, and teaching? What difference should this make in my life? How would I live differently if the truths of this text were more powerfully real to me?

The Sunday of the Passion: Palm Sunday

O Everliving God, let this mind be in us which was also in Christ Jesus; that as he from his loftiness stooped to the death of the cross, so we in our lowliness may humble ourselves, believing, obeying, living, and dying to the glory of the Father; for the same Jesus Christ’s sake. Amen.  – Christina Georgina Rossetti (1830 -1894)

I Timothy 6:12-16    Fight the good fight
Matthew 21:12-17    The Temple cleansed

Monday in Holy Week

Almighty God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified: Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross may find it none other than the way of life: Grant us so to boast in the cross of Christ, that we may gladly suffer shame and loss for the sake of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Book of Common Prayer, 1979

Philippians 3:1-14    The surpassing greatness of knowing Christ
John 12:9-19    The Triumphal Entry

Tuesday in Holy Week

Almighty Father, Everlasting God, you permitted your son to suffer the anguish of the cross for us, so that you might drive the power of the enemy from us: Grant us that we may so commemorate and give thanks for His suffering that we may thereby know forgiveness of sin and redemption from eternal death; through the same, your Son. Amen.
– Martin Luther (1483-1546)

Philippians 3:15-21     Our citizenship is in heaven
John 12:20-26    The hour has come for the son of man to be glorified

Wednesday in Holy Week

Lord God, whose blessed Son our Savior gave his body to be whipped and his face to be spit upon: Give us grace to accept joyfully the sufferings of the present time, confident of the glory that shall be revealed; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.
Book of Common Prayer (1979)

Philippians 4:1-13    Rejoice in the Lord always
John 12:27-36    Now my heart is troubled

Maundy Thursday

Holy God, source of all love, on the night of his betrayal Jesus gave his disciples a new commandment, to love one another as he loved them. Write this commandment in our hearts; give us the will to serve others as he was the servant of all, who gave his life and died for us, yet is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen
Lutheran Book of Worship (1978)

I Corinthians 11:23-34        The Lord’s Supper
John 13:1-17        Jesus washes his disciples’

Good Friday

My Father, enlarge my heart, warm my affections, and open my lips to proclaim the love of Calvary. There Christ was all anguish that I might be all joy, cast off that I might be brought in, trodden down as an enemy that I might be welcomed as a friend, surrendered to hell’s worst that I might attain heaven’s best, stripped that I might be clothed, wounded that I might be healed, athirst that I might drink, tormented that I might be comforted, made a shame that I might inherit glory. My savior wept that all tears might be wiped from my eyes, groaned that I might have endless song, endured all pain that I might have unfading health, bore a thorned crown that I might have a glory-diadem, bowed his head that I might uplift mine, experienced reproach that I might receive welcome, closed his eyes in death that I might gaze on unclouded brightness, expired that I might ever live. O Father, help me to adore you by lips and life. O that my every breath might be ecstatic praise, my every step buoyant with delight, as I see my enemies crushed, Satan baffled, defeated, and destroyed, sin buried in the ocean of reconciling blood, hell’s gates closed, heaven’s portal open. God forth, O conquering God, and show me the cross, mighty to subdue, comfort and save. Amen.
– Adapted from The Valley of Vision. A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions (1975).

Hebrews 10:4-17    The true sacrifice
John 19:1-42    The crucifixion

Easter Saturday

O God, whose loving kindness is infinite, mercifully hear our prayers; and grant that as in this life we are united in the mystical body of your Church, and in death are laid in the ground with the sure hope of resurrection; so at the last day we may rise to the life immortal, and be numbered with your saints in glory everlasting; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.                    – Anonymous

Hebrews 4:1-16    A sabbath rest
Matthew 28:1-10    The resurrection

Easter Sunday, the Resurrection of the Lord

God our Father, creator of all, today is the day of Easter joy. This is the morning on which the Lord appeared to men who had begun to lose hope and opened their eyes to what the scriptures foretold that first he must die, and then he would rise and ascend before his Father’s glorious presence. May the risen Lord breathe on our minds and open our eyes that we may know him in the breaking of bread, and follow him in his risen life. Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.                – Lutheran Book of Worship (1978)

Exodus 12:1-14    The Passover
Luke 24:13-35    The Emmaus Road