Major Events Of Passion Week



Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem

Matthew 21:1-11, Mark 11:1-10, Luke 19:29-40, John 12:12-19


Jesus clears the temple

Matthew 21:12-13, Mark 11:15-17, Luke 19: 45-46


Jesus’ authority challenged in the temple

Matthew 21:23-27, Mark 11:27-33, Luke 20:1-8

Jesus teaches in stories and confronts the Jewish leaders

Matthew 21:28-23:36, Mark 12:1-40, Luke 20:9-47

Greeks ask to see Jesus

John 12:20-26

The Olivet Discourse

Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21:5-38

Judas agrees to betray Jesus

Matthew 26: 14-16, Mark 14:10-11, Luke 22:3-6


The Bible does not say what Jesus did on this day.  He probably remained in Bethany with his disciples


The Last Supper

Matthew 26:26-29, Mark 14:22-25, Luke 22:14-20

Jesus speaks to the disciples in the upper room

      John 13-17

Jesus struggles at Gethsemane

Matthew 26:36-46, Mark 14:32-42, Luke 22:39-46, John 18:1

Jesus is betrayed and arrested

Matthew 26:47-56, Mark 14:43-52, Luke 22:47-53, John 18:2-12


Jesus is tried by Jewish and Roman authorities and denied by Peter

Matthew 26:57-27:2,11-31, Mark 14:53-15:20, Luke 22:54-23:25, John 18:13-19:16

Jesus is crucified

Matthew 27:31-56, Mark 15:20-41, Luke 23:26-49, John 19:17-30


The Resurrection

Matthew 28:1-10, Mark 16:1-11, Luke 24:1-12, John 20:1-18

Beware the Leaven-Mar. 28, 2012

Beware the Leaven-March 28, 2012

Mark 8:11-13

In one way the demand for a sign ignores the great miracle work of the feeding of the four thousand, and in another way it implies that Jesus’ authority in preaching the kingdom was not enough proof either.  Thirdly a sign was given at the baptism of Jesus.  Their traditions have blinded them from the word of God.  Have ours perhaps done the same?  Can you think of some ways this may be true today?

Unless people recognize that God is present, speaking, and acting in Jesus, no form of testimony will persuade them to follow him.  No amount of explanation or evidence can provide that initial evidence of faith.  Although Jesus’ refusal seems harsh, it acknowledges the reality of human freedom.  Faith remains a mysterious gift of responding to God’s Word.

Mark 8:14-21

The Pharisees and Herod are enemies of Jesus.   As a metaphor, leaven or yeast frequently carries negative overtones, since it was thought to work by creating decay in the dough.  Although not specific to the Pharisees it seems to speak of the influence of the Pharisees.  The metaphor follows the story of the provision of bread for 4000 people.  In a later time also the infection of others as Jesus compares his body to the bread.

An interesting thought is Jesus’ rebuke of the disciples is not about forgetting food but about the condition of their hearts.  It is about their lack of understanding, and either originated with the disciples, or they have been or are in danger of being corrupted by the decay of Jesus’ opponents, or did they not understand because they did not have the context of the cross and the resurrection.

The crowds treat Jesus’ healings and exorcisms as evidence of his authority.  He is the shepherd who the sheep need.  His family thinks that Jesus may have gone insane.  His opponents feel that he uses satanic powers.  Jesus cannot be a religious teacher, since he shows disregard for training his disciples in piety and careful interpretation of the Law.  How did these things affect Jesus’ disciples?  Christians understand from the passion story:  One disciple betrays Jesus, another denies him, and the rest flee.

What are some examples of leaven that could cause us to become deaf to the gospel?

New Interpreters Bible, Vol. VII, and personal thoughts

The Resurrection Community

In the month of April we will celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  We take time to look at the triumphal entry into Jerusalem, his death on the cross, and then at first light, the resurrection of Jesus on that first Easter morning.  It seems that many times we focus on the cross and sacrifice of Jesus throughout the year but not so much the resurrection.  The reality of that moment changed human history from that point forward.  Death did not have the final say, and life could be lived with assurance that these days were not all that there was to life.

Understanding the resurrection and allowing the reality of it to sink into our personal and congregational lives are two different things.  This event should be transformative to our living.  Jesus was God born in the flesh, lived as an innocent man, yet suffered and died as a criminal for our sins, but the victory is in the empty tomb.  If the cross was the end what a bleak picture, but the victory over death at the empty tomb should give us courage to live daily for Christ, knowing there is nothing in this world that can separate us from his love.

In the weeks leading up to Easter, we acknowledge the season of Lent, a time of preparation for the crucifixion of Christ.  Often times this build up includes special services, music, dramas, and the focus is on his sacrifice and resurrection, as it should be.  However, during the appearances of Christ after the resurrection and before he ascended, he both confirmed his resurrection to those whom he appeared and gave them instruction for the days ahead.

The instructions included feeding sheep, tending lambs, making disciples, baptizing, teaching, obeying, and to be comforted by the promise of his presence.  The promise of his presence has been confirmed in the resurrection, that not even death could separate them or us from Christ.  This is the victorious life of the resurrection.  One another occasion they are instructed to remain together, until the gift of the Holy Spirit comes to them, in the Spirit there is power.  The authority or power is to be his witnesses not just of the death of Christ but his resurrection as well from the local places to the ends of the earth.

It is my prayer that churches all over the world Easter Sunday will see themselves as part of the resurrection community.  As part of the resurrection community we will seek to follow the instructions of Jesus, and live out our lives in faith and community together, witnessing to the resurrected Christ who changes hearts and lives.  The resurrection of Christ is not just an event to be celebrated but a continuing reality through which we live.  May we be faithful to live out the resurrection of Christ together, as his witnesses in the world today.


A New Covenant in Our Hearts-Mar. 25, 2012-Series Lent 5

Covenant Connections Series Lent 5-A New Covenant in Our Hearts-March 25, 2012:

Jeremiah 31:31-34; John 12:20-33

The prophet Jeremiah speaks of a time when the Lord will make a new covenant.  Not like the covenant with their forefathers who broke it but rather a covenant that will put the law in their minds and write it on their hearts.  The new covenant is not something to do just to appease and honor God, so it can be seen as jumping through some spiritual hoop, but rather in their minds and on their hearts because it is who they are.  In confirming I will be their God and they will be my people, it becomes much more of understanding of our identity in Christ.

In John’s gospel Jesus uses the illustration unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed.  But if it dies, it produces many seeds.  Then Jesus speaks of those who hold on so tightly to their lives that there is not life left, but if we are willing to let go for his sake we will have eternal life.  To serve him is to follow and obey him.  This new covenant in our minds and hearts, are like the seed being planted in us as that seeds (Christ) died he produced many seeds (followers) who share in the spreading of the gospel of Christ to the world.  Holding onto the seed of our own life and not allowing it to be fruitful will lead to the loss of that life.  However to those who are willing to allow their lives to serve as seeds can spread the message of Christ throughout their world and generation by generation through time.

Jesus words to his disciples speak of his own death and willingness to do so, but also the persecution that those who follow him may have to endure, the worst of which death.  It has been said that the seed bed of the gospel and for that case the early church was the blood of the martyrs.  It was through their sacrifice that the message of Christ flourished.  In our comfort ridden, and consumer driven society that tells us it is all about us, the great temptation is to hold on to our lives, and our perception that we are in control.  The new covenant planted in our minds and hearts, will call for us to follow faithfully, and sacrifice graciously for in loosing our life we will truly find life.

The Son of Man…Lifted Up-Mar. 18, 2012-Series Lent 4

Covenant Connections Series Lent 4-The Son of Man…Lifted Up-March 18, 2012:

Numbers 21:4-9; Psalm 107:17-22; John 3:14-21

In the book of Numbers we find and interesting story of the people of God becoming impatient as they journeyed in the wilderness.  There is a questioning of God’s purposes and then complaints about his provisions.  Do we sometimes grow impatient with God questioning his purposes or complaining about his provisions?  The Lord did not allow the grumblings to continue but rather punished the people’s disobedience.  For he is a holy God.  When the people began to understand their sin against God they begged for mercy, and the Lord being loving as well, made another provision in the bronze snake fashioned on a pole that those who would look at it would live.

This scripture points to the fact that often in this journey of life we grow impatient with God, or want to understand all that he is doing.  It doing so we begin to set ourselves up as an authority or judge questioning God, and worse we begin to complain about provisions.  One of the provisions that was not mentioned was protection.  The community was protected from the animals, and when that provision was no longer in place they understood how much they were truly dependent on God.

In Psalm 107 it makes mention of their rebellious ways, and the suffering that can come from rebellion.  Most often we sow the seeds of our own destruction and make is worse by blaming God and setting ourselves up in opposition to him rather than trusting him and turning to him during uncertain times.  The Lord is compassionate and when they turned to him he sent forth his word to heal and rescue.  Recognizing their rescue produced praise and thanksgiving.  The significance is the sending for the word of God brought healing and salvation.  These passages in Numbers and Psalms foreshadow the still rebellious and desperate need of the people and the provision of God for healing and salvation through his word.

John begins his gospel with helping us to understand that the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us (John 1:14) and is the Word come from the Father.  In John 3:14-15 Jesus makes reference back to the provision of God with the snake lifted up on the pole to bring healing and restoration to the people and to draw people to trust in God.  Christ make the comparison that in rebellion from God, that God himself would make a way, a provision, for healing and salvation provided in the Son of Man, being lifted up.

In life there may be a temptation to trust only ourselves and what we can accomplish, not praising God for daily bread, or life but rather complaining and questioning.  In doing so, it show love for darkness rather than light.  The light and salvation of the world was the Son of Man (Jesus Christ) being lifted up for our healing and salvation.  Trust the provision of God for healing and salvation which is his Son Jesus, and give thanks to him for his grace and mercy.

Two by Two-Mar. 14, 2012

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Mark 6:6-29

In this passage of scripture there are two stories, one of Jesus sending out his disciples in two, and the other tells of the beheading of John the Baptist.  What do these two things have to do with where we are today and what did it mean in its context?

Last Wednesday’s study focused on the Parable of the Sower, in which some of the seed does not make it to the point where it becomes fruitful and is destroyed right away, other seed at the first sign of trouble will fall, because they have no roots.  Still others will grow up among the weeds and distractions of this world and eventually be choked out or distracted to the point of fruitlessness.  In these two stories we find certain elements of this previous parable at work.

What seemed to be in question at the conclusion of last week’s lesson was whether or not the disciples really understood Christ and their calling.  In our lesson today Jesus sends out the disciples two-by-two to confirm that initial calling and to begin some of the more practical work of trusting God for everything.  Jesus knew that there was a time when these men would be his voice in the world and they would have to trust God in all.  This sending out of the disciples to spread or preach the word is in contrast to the spreading of the word about Jesus was as a result of healing.

The disciples where able to carry out the ministry of Jesus, but they do not possess an independent authority.  They are merely extensions of Jesus’ own activity.  In other words they do not have the power to do really any of the things they are doing apart from the authority given to them by Jesus and so it is not their work but his.

Ministry in the church recognizes an obligation to continue Jesus’ work.  It sometimes appears that the church has set its own institutional survival ahead of the gospel.  We do not have a power or authority of our own rather the works that are done or accomplished are a continuation of the work begun in Christ.  This work is the proclamation of the kingdom of God, and the reconciliation of God to man and man to one another.

Jesus sending them out in pairs could have made for safe travel.  In the time of Jesus many thieves would wait in the outlying areas away from town and wait for individual travelers to come by so they could do them harm and/or rob them.  Another possibility again emphasizes that Jesus called pairs of brothers and many in the New Testament traveled in pairs.  There is yet a theory that suggests the use of pairs should be associated with the legal requirement for two witnesses to testify in a case (Numbers 35:30; Deuteronomy 19:15).  If this theory holds true then there is an implication of judgment against those who refuse to hear the messengers (witnesses) of the gospel.

There is also mention of what they were allowed to do, and take along as part of their missionary task.  In Jesus time there were those that were traveling preachers who looked a certain way, and did things a certain way.  Jesus sought to have his disciples to appear different from those others.  In one way this was done so that the disciples would learn to trust God’s provisions for everything.  They were not to carry money bags so others would not believe them as religious charlatans or magicians, seeking to make the healing power of God or the redemptive power of his message a commodity to be bartered.

Jesus asks them to stay in the first place they are offered until their work in that place is accomplished.  In other words he did not want them to continue to try to move around or be seen as those wanting only to try to better their station within a community.  The Apostle Paul also mentions that “the worker is worthy of his pay,” I Corinthians 9:14, 17-18.  It seems to be more of the issue of rejecting the hospitality of the one who first took them in, and the presumption of valuing a better station more than the gospel or the people they are seeking to heal and save.

The final instructions given provide a response to those who reject the message of Jesus brought to them by the disciples.  As you leave the town or city shake the dust off of your feet.  The shaking of dust off of the feet was a gesture of cursing a place.  Basically the town has refused to hear God’s word.

There will always be those that are unwilling to hear the word of the Lord.  However, there will be those that are willing so shake off the dust and continue to spread the word.  This is very similar to the previous week’s Parable of the Sower.

The next part of scripture foreshadows the dangers awaiting Jesus and possibly his followers as well both in his time and today.  It appears that Herod recognizes Jesus as John the Baptist’s successor in some sense.  The placement of this story is important, tough times will come and Jesus’ disciples now and then must be ready to understand this is a very real possibility.  Often times this can come through manipulating those with earthly position with that same position.  There is a willingness to sacrifice others to maintain honor, prestige, and power remains one of the great temptations of persons in positions of authority.