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Holy week

Holy Week, Timeline and Details

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The Christian Holy Week is the week immediately prior to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Holy week begins with Palm Sunday and ends on Resurrection Sunday, which is the most important day on the Christian calendar. The Holy Week timeline and details have utmost theological importance. The movements, actions, and statements of Jesus and his disciples during Holy Week are of great importance. So what happened during the final week before the resurrection of Jesus, popularly known as Holy Week?

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What follows is a general timeline of Holy Week culminating in Resurrection Sunday.

Palm Sunday of Holy Week

The Sunday that kicks off Holy Week is known as Palm Sunday. It's called this because of the Palm branches that were laid on the path that Jesus rode the donkey on his triumphant entry into Jerusalem.

  • Jesus sends disciples to go get him a colt from the village
  • Jesus' triumphant entrance into Jerusalem on the colt
  • Jesus spends the night in Bethany
  • Matthew 21:1-3
  • Luke 19:29
  • Mark 11:1
  • John 12:12

Monday of Holy Week

  • Jesus leaves Bethany
  • Jesus curses the fig tree on the way into the city
  • Jesus weeps over Jerusalem
  • Jesus cleanses the temple for the second time in His ministry
  • Late in the day, Jesus looks into the Temple, then leaves the city
  • Jesus spends the night in Bethany
  • Matthew 21:12
  • Mark 11:22
  • Luke 19:45

Tuesday of Holy Week

  • Jesus leaves Bethany
  • Jesus finds the fig tree withered; teaches on faith
  • Jesus possesses the temple and its precincts; confounds and pronounces woes upon His enemies
  • Jesus leaves city; Olivet Discourse on way back to Bethany
  • Judas bargains with Sanhedrin to betray Jesus
  • Jesus spends the night in Bethany
  • Matthew 21:20
  • Mark 11:22
  • Luke 20:36
  • John 12:20

Wednesday of Holy Week (Silent Wednesday)

  • No event recorded
  • Jesus remains in Bethany throughout the day, spends the night in Bethany.

Thursday of Holy Week (Passover)

  • Peter and John sent to make preparation for Passover meal
  • After sunset, Jesus eats a meal with the twelve; washes disciples' feet; Judas departs
  • Lord's Supper instituted
  • Jesus at the Garden of Gethsemane; Jesus' agony.
  • Under intense stress and fear, and understanding the imminent sacrifice of his brutal torment, Jesus experienced a medical condition known as hematidrosis during which he was sweating blood (Luke 22:44). This would be extremely consistent with the level of anguish as relayed by Matthew (Matthew 26:38) and Mark (Mark 14:34). It is also extremely consistent with our current medical understanding. Hematidrosis is caused by the rupture of tiny capillaries near sweat glands.
  • Around 1am: "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.” Jesus (Mark 14:34)
  • Betrayal by Judas; arrested by Sanhedrin
  • To house of High Priest as Sanhedrin is convened; Peter betrays Jesus
  • Matthew 26:1
  • Mark 14:1
  • Luke 22:1

Friday of Holy Week (Good Friday)

  • The Trials of Jesus
  • The 1st trial, before Annas [nighttime hours]; Annas is looking for an accusation, biding time till Sanhedrin is gathered at High Priestly villa
  • The 2nd [and primary] trial before Sanhedrin, Jesus is condemned, misused
  • The 3rd trial, immediately at dawn [meanwhile, Peter denies Jesus a third time; Jesus looks upon him]; the condemnation repeated, then Jesus was taken to the Romans
  • The 4th trial before Pilate [till "beginning at Galilee"]
  • The 5th trial before Herod [looks for miracle]
  • The 6th trial before Pilate
  • Jesus is scourged; the city cries, "Crucify Him or we will tell Rome!"
  • Jesus is finally turned over to be crucified
  • Jesus mocked (Roman soldiers); the crown of thorns
  • Judas hangs himself
  • Jesus bears His cross to gate on the north of the city and is crucified around 9am
  • Jesus' Seven Sayings from the Cross"
    * Father, forgive them for they know not what they do."
    * "Today you will be with me in paradise" (after one of the thieves repents)
    * "Woman, behold thy son..."
    (Darkness noon to 3pm)
    * "My God, My God why have you forsaken me?"
    * "I thirst."
    * "It is finished."
    * "Into thy hands I commit my spirit."
  • The Death of the God-Man
  • About 3pm; the veil was torn, rocks rent; some graves opened and people rise [to mortality] and go into the city
  • Jesus' side was pierced
  • Passover lambs were slain in the temple
  • Jesus was buried by sundown
  • Matthew 26:1
  • Mark 14:53
  • Luke 22:54
  • John 18:13

Saturday of Holy Week (In the Tomb)

  • At the request of the Jewish leadership, Pilate grants a guard and sets a seal on the tomb of Jesus
  • Matthew 27:66

Resurrection Sunday of Holy Week

Some don't include Sunday as one of the days of Holy Week. However, since it is the crescendo of the greatest news humanity has ever heard - all human sins are forgiven if we accept Jesus, the savior - it should, without a doubt, be included.

  • Jesus Christ rises from the dead (before dawn) and makes five appearances on the day of His rising:
    * to Mary Magdalene [given a message to the disciples]
    * to the other women who come to the tomb [intending to complete the burial preparation of His body]
    * to two disciples on the Road to Emmaus
    * to Simon Peter [nowhere recorded, but alluded to in Luke 24:33 and 1 Corinthians 1:5]
    * to the astonished disciples [Thomas is absent]
  • Matthew 28:1
  • Mark 16:1
  • Luke 24:1
  • John 20:1

It's noteworthy that the first-century Jewish day/night cycles were from sundown to sundown. The slaying of the lambs between the evenings on Nisan 14 would have taken place on Friday afternoon, consistent with what is relayed in John 18:28. However, the day/night cycles of the Galilean Jews were likely from sunup to sunup. In this case, the slaying of the lambs on Nisan 14 would have taken place on Thursday afternoon, which is when Jesus and his disciples had the feast. In either case, the modern day/night cycle would need to be offset to account for these differences.

About the Author Arthur Khachatryan

Arthur is an author, a former agnostic, and current ambassador of Jesus of Nazareth who loves to share the best of reasons for God's ultimate reality. His love and passion are helping skeptics and Christians grow in their faith and knowledge of God through accessible materials.

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