“Passion Week,” also known as “Holy Week,” refers to the time period from what we call “Palm Sunday” (the day of Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem) through “Easter Sunday” (also called “Resurrection Sunday,” the day when Christ rose from the tomb). On Palm Sunday, Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a young donkey (a colt), and the crowd welcomed Him with shouts of “Hosanna” (meaning “Oh save! Save now!”), as prophesied in Psalm 118:25–26 and Zechariah 9:9.
Passion Week involved several memorable events, beginning on Sunday with the triumphal entry/arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, as prophesied. He was riding on the back of a donkey’s colt, and received praise and acclamations from the crowd as King of Israel. Yes, the people hailed Him on Sunday, but things changed by Friday as many in the crowd sought to have Jesus nailed to the cross. Jesus didn’t fit their image of King or Messiah.
Here are some great questions for everyone to think about while preparing for Easter Sunday: Who is Jesus to you? Is He Savior? Is He Lord? Or is He something else to you? What happened when you were confronted with the real Jesus from the Bible? This question is not referring to the TV or movie Jesus but the Living Word of God in the flesh. He is the one and only Savior of the world. Jesus is our living hope. What did you do when confronted with God’s Son, Jesus?
Let’s look at some events in Jesus’ life that happened during Passion Week:
- On Monday, Jesus cleansed the Temple in Jerusalem for the second time in His earthly ministry (Luke 19:45–46) and cursed the fig tree (Matthew 21:12–22).
- Tuesday was the day when many priests, scribes, and elders, and in particular the Pharisees, consulted together about how to take Jesus and kill him; these were the religious leaders that Jesus warned the people about. Also on that day, Jesus predicted future events including His own return to earth someday.
- No specific event on Wednesday is mentioned in the Bible concerning Jesus; that day was likely one of rest before He faced false trials and eventual crucifixion.
- Thursday included the Passover celebration and the event known as “The Last Supper” that Jesus and His disciples observed together in the upper room. Jesus prepared both himself and His disciples for His death, giving new meaning to the Passover meal and instituting “The Lord’s Supper,” one of two ordinances of the church today; the other ordinance is “Baptism.”
- Early Friday morning, after Jesus’ betrayal by Judas and arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane, He was abandoned by His disciples and endured false trials, condemnation, beatings, and cruel mocking. Then He was forced to carry His own cross and was crucified on Golgotha (The Place of the Skull) along with two prisoners who were convicted thieves. Before sundown that day, Jesus’ body was placed in a borrowed tomb.
- Throughout the day on Saturday, the Sabbath, Jesus’ body lay in the tomb.
- On Sunday came the resurrection! The angel seated at the entrance to the tomb where Jesus’ body had been placed proclaimed, “He is not here: for he is risen, as he said.…” (Matthew 28:6).
These seven days are referred to as Passion Week because during this time Jesus Christ truly revealed His passion for us in His suffering and dying for our sins. He suffered on our behalf to make available salvation – the forgiveness of all sin – to give to us something we could never achieve for ourselves. We should show our passion for Jesus in our grateful worship of Him this week and in our proclamation of His gospel – the good news of salvation – always!