What did Jesus do and say during His last week on earth and how does it apply to us today? The first thing we need to know before we learn about the last week of Jesus life, we need to know when the Jewish day starts.
A Jewish day begins at sundown. We think our day begins when we wake up, but it actually doesn’t. Our day actually begins at “Midnight.” But a Jewish day begins at sundown. Why?
Genesis 1:5 – God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day.
On Friday, seven days before the Passover, Jesus goes through Jericho on His way to Jerusalem. While He is entering Jericho, He heals a blind man named Bartimaeus. Then Jesus enters Jericho and goes to a house of a very short man named Zacchaeus. On that Friday, He tells His disciples:
Matthew 20:18 – “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes, and they will condemn Him to death, (Verse 19) “and deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock and to scourge and to crucify. And the third day He will rise again.”
This is about the third time Jesus has told His disciples this. He tells them clearly that when He gets to Jerusalem, this is what’s going to happen. Then on Saturday, He arrives at Simon the leaper’s house. This is strange because leapers didn’t have houses. They weren’t allowed to associate with people, and they had to go about shouting, “Unclean!” Could this be one of the leapers that Jesus had healed of the ten?
He has dinner there. (You have to read all four of the gospels to put the timeline together.) John 12:1 – Then, six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was who had been dead, whom He had raised from the dead. (Matthew and Mark tell us it was at Simon the leaper’s house before this.)
Then on Sunday, five days before, He makes His triumphal entry into Jerusalem. The crowd lays down palm branches and that’s why we call the Sunday before Christ is risen, Palm Sunday.
John 12:12 – The next day a great multitude that had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, (Verse 13) took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him, and cried out: “Hosanna! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!’ The King of Israel!” (Hosanna means “save us.”)
When Jesus was who they wanted Him to be, which was a king, they gave Him palms, which represented praise. When Jesus was being whom they needed Him to be, a Savior, they gave Him thorns! These same people who cried out “Hosanna” on Sunday were the same ones who cried out “Crucify Him” on Friday!
How many times when Jesus is being who we want Him to be, when blessing us in all areas, do we come to church and wave our palm branches and then within one week, when He is being who we need Him to be, which is working something out in our lives, do we give Him thorns? Do we give Him praise when things are great and then when things start to go wrong, do we then turn on Him and blame Him for the bad things that happen?
Monday, four days before the crucifixion is when Jesus goes in the temple in Jerusalem and cleanses it. This is the second time that He cleanses the temple. He cleansed the temple because they were supposed to bring a spotless sacrifice but the people got to where it was too much trouble to do that, so they would wait until they got to the temple and would buy an animal there which was not up to requirements. The people who were selling these animals were overcharging for them. They were making a profit. The first part of John tells of the first cleansing and then the last time He goes to Jerusalem He cleanses it again.
Then Jesus curses the fig tree and it withers. All this is on that Monday, four days before His crucifixion. There are a lot of commentaries that say that the fig tree represented Israel, but nowhere in the Bible did Jesus curse Israel. Here is what the fig tree represented: The Bible says that Jesus saw leaves on the fig tree, which meant it should have been bearing fruit. The figs would have been there but maybe not ripe yet, but it didn’t have any fruit at all.
It has leaves, so it’s like saying, “I’m a fruit-bearing tree, but I’m not bearing any fruit!” Jesus was saying the tree was a “Hypocrite!” Pretending to be something it was not. People who have the leaves to show others, but never bear any fruit. Fakers! This happened on Monday of that week.
On Tuesday, Jesus teaches in the temple nearly all day. Many of the parables that Jesus taught about the kingdom were taught on that Tuesday before He died. Matthew 21-26; Mark 11-14; Luke 19-22 were all taught in one day while Jesus was in the temple that Tuesday.
On Wednesday, two days before His crucifixion, Mary anoints the head and the feet of Jesus (John tells us the feet and Matthew and Mark tell us the head).
Matthew 26:2 – “You know that after two days is the Passover, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified.”
Matthew 26:12 – “For in pouring this fragrant oil on My body, she did it for My burial.
On Thursday, Jesus eats the Passover meal with His disciples. It’s actually Passover on Thursday evening because the next day starts at sunset. John 14, 15, and 16 tell us what Jesus said at this meal – The Last Super. Then in John 17, Jesus prays for Himself and His disciples, and all believers. Jesus told them He was going to die but rise again. He was telling them this before it happened so that they would believe!
Have you ever heard someone say that the Jews are the ones that crucified Jesus? This is an anti-semantic statement and is false to the core! This lie was started in 1879 by a German journalist who wrote an article about how the Germans were a superior race and how Jews were inferior and that’s how it all started.
Were there anti-semantics before the Germans, yes and that was within the “Church!” On Passover for many many years, Christians would raid the Jewish villages, rape the women, and kill the men, and burn the village. These people wore big crosses on their chests. And they would say while they were doing this, “This is what you did to our Lord.” They based what they were doing on the book of John.
The Jews, Romans, or us, did not kill or as some like to say murder, Jesus. Jesus put Himself on that cross for all mankind and this is very clear in Scripture.
John 10:18 – “No one 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 up again. This command I have received from My Father.”
No Christian should ever be against the Jew!
Romans 1:16 – For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.
Jesus went to the Jew first. Paul went to the Jew first. However, the gospel is for the world, all nations, tribes, and people.
Revelation 7:9 – After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands,…
All nations, one day are going to give Him praise! So what would you do or what would you say if you knew you only had one week to live?
(Next study is Jesus last three days.)