(Originally published April 13, 2017)
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We all need sacred reminders on the calendar to help us pause and lean into the deep purpose of our earnest connection with God's amazing love. But maybe you're distracted by all of the preparations of serving and pouring out during this week as we celebrate a week of Passover and approach Easter. At some point, we all lose focus. But let's allow one of the busiest weeks of Jesus' life to encourage and refresh our entire being. It was His last week leading up to Passover. Friday "Arrival in Bethany" - Nisan 8 Read + Reflect // Mark 11:1-10; John 12:1 Jesus drew near to Jerusalem, arriving at Bethany six days before Passover on Friday to spend time with friends, Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. On Nisan 9, Saturday (Sabbath—day of rest), the Beloved spent the Sabbath in traditional fashion with His friends.
Pause + Breathe + Focus on Friendship
Sunday "The Triumphal Entry" - Nisan 10 Read + Reflect // Mark 11:1-11; John12:12-19 On the first day of the week—the next day, Jesus fulfilled Zechariah 9:9 and entered Jerusalem, visited the temple and returned to Bethany. It was Nisan 10 when the Passover lambs were selected. Likewise, the entry into Jerusalem was the day when Jesus presented Himself as Israel’s Paschal (Passover) Lamb. On Sunday, a great crowd came to Bethany to see Jesus. They welcomed His messianic majesty with the words of Psalm 118:25, 26.
Pause + Breathe + Focus on Messianic Majesty
Monday "Cleansing of the temple" - Nisan 11 Read + Reflect // Mark 11:15-18; Luke 19:45-48
On the way from Bethany to Jerusalem, Jesus cursed the fig tree, and in Jerusalem, He challenged and disrupted the temple practice of setting up shop in a particular area of the temple’s outer structure, the ‘Court of the Gentiles.’
Since non-Jews could not enter the temple, large parts of the courtyard were reserved for Gentiles who came to pay their respects to the Most High.
Justice turned over tables + prophetically affirmed,
“Is it not written: ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples’? But you have made it a den of thieves” (Mark 11:17; Isaiah 56:7).
The word for “peoples” in the Greek text comes from ethnos, “race”, “nation.” In Hebrew the word is goyim, “gentiles.” Yeshua was justly defending the right of gentiles to offer prayer to God in a place free of animals, dung (aka sh!t), and greedy money changers.
Some religious leaders began to plot ways to kill him. That evening Jesus left Jerusalem, presumably returning to Bethany.
Pause + Breathe + Focus on Holy, Prophetic Disruption
Tuesday "Day of Parables" - Nisan 12 Read + Reflect // Mark 11:20—13:37; Luke 20:1—21:36
On the way to Jerusalem, the disciples saw the withered fig tree. At the temple in Jerusalem, Yeshua’s authority and wisdom were questioned by some religious leaders. That afternoon He went to the Mount of Olives overlooking Jerusalem and delivered His discourse to those assembled.
Two additional things occurred on that day: (1) Jesus predicted that in two days He would be crucified at the time of the Passover; and (2) Judas planned the betrayal of his friend and leader with some religious leaders.
Pause + Breathe + Focus on Storytelling That Warns
Wednesday - Nisan 13
Although the Gospel does not mention this day, the counting of the days (Mark 14:1; John 12:1) seems to indicate that there was another day, which the Gospel record nothing.
Pause + Breathe + Focus on Silence + Stillness
Thursday "Passover, Last Supper" - Nisan 14 Read + Reflect // Mark 14:12-26; Luke 22:7-23
Yeshua and His disciples prepared the Passover lamb, and they had their seder meal together. He gave the Passover meal new meaning—the bread + wine = His body, soon to be offered up prophetically, yet treacherously through relationship betrayal.
The Messiah shared heartfelt words with His disciples and offered an intercessory prayer on their behalf. After belting out a hymn with everything that was at His core, He walked with them and they arrived at the Garden of Gethsemane.
Yeshua suffered and prayed in agony awaiting what was to come. Later that night, He was betrayed and arrested. He was tried first by Annas and later by Caiaphas and other religious leaders.
Note: No leaven/yeast would be eaten or in sight from Nisan 14 to Nisan 21.
Friday "Crucifixion (think public lynching)" - Nisan 14 Read + Reflect // Mark 15; John 18:28—19:37
Following betrayal, arrest, abandonment, false testimonies, friend denial, condemnation, merciless beatings, and mockery... Early in the morning, Yeshua was tried by the Sanhedrin, Pilate, Herod Antipas, and Pilate again. He was led to carry His execution instrument—the cross + crucified at 9 a.m. and died at 3 p.m. and was buried later that day. Yeshua died at the time when the Passover lambs were being sacrificed.
Pause + Breathe + Focus on Injustice
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Saturday "Sabbath" - Nisan 15
In the tomb, Yeshua's body is placed in a borrowed tomb before 6:00 p.m. Friday evening, when the Sabbath began and all worked stopped. The Pharisees hired Roman guards to keep watch of the tomb. His bruised + freshly anointed body would rest there throughout the Sabbath—the day of rest.
Pause + Breathe + Focus on Bodily Rest
Sunday "Resurrection" - Nisan 16 Read + Reflect // Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-49; John 20 Yeshua, the Messiah made His second bodily appearance by emerging from the womb of a cave—the first time, He emerged from the womb of a teenage girl—Miriam/Mary. He was resurrected from a temporal state of disembodiment—death. He was the first of many resurrections to come (I view resurrection as a rising to new embodiment). His new embodiment was a type of firstfruits offering. (First fruit offerings were made on the day after the Sabbath. Leviticus 23:9–14; 1 Corinthians 15:23).
Pause + Breathe + Focus on Personal + Collective Resurrection Embodiment
So whether you're tired or energetic, clueless or confident, glad or grieving, determined or doubtful. No matter what, the Spirit (Ruach) reminds us that Yeshua's love will always invite, command, and promise: "Come to Me... I will give you rest." A soul rest that calls us to tend to ourselves + our relationships from the inside out, as trustees of our divine birthright gifts.
Breathe in deeply your belovedness. Breathe out the Beloved's devotion to your bewilderment + belonging.
Adapted from Chronological Aspects of the Life of Christ by Harold W. Hoehner. Copyright 1977 by The Zondervan Corporation; 1973, 1974 by Dallas Theological Seminary. Used by permission of The Zondervan Corporation.
Until next time,
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LEAVE A COMMENT: What resonates with your heart the most about Yeshua's focus in His last and busy week? What has your week, this Passion week looked like for you?