What was Jesus doing 2000 years ago today?

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As I write this, it’s Wednesday of Holy Week or Passion Week, the week leading up to Easter Sunday.  In some traditions, today is called Ash Wednesday.  Tomorrow is Maundy Thursday…then there’s Good Friday, etc.

Have you ever wondered what Jesus was doing on each of these days almost 2000 years ago?

The specific timing of all the events described in the Gospels is a little hard to pin down, largely because the Gospel-writers weren’t very concerned with chronology and date/time details.  They were much more interested in showing the themes of God’s plan of redemption as it unfolded.  But we ask different questions these days and one of the things we want to know is how the specific sequence of events described in the Gospels plays out. So how did they?

Well, here’s my best reconstruction of the events of the Passion Week:

  • Saturday:  Jesus anointed at Bethany
  • Sunday:  “Triumphal” Entry to Jerusalem
  • Monday:  Temple cleansing & cursing the fig tree
  • Tuesday: Withered fig tree discovered & Olivet Discourse (Jesus’ teaching on the Mt. of Olives)
  • Wednesday: ??? (nothing is explicitly recorded as having happened on this day, though some conservative Christian scholars actually think the Last Supper & arrest took place this night)[1]
  • Thursday:  Last Supper & Arrest[2]
  • Friday: Crucifixion and spiritual transition to heaven (cf. Luke 23:43)
  • Saturday: Jesus rests in heaven
  • Sunday: Resurrection!

At the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter if we have the exact sequence of all the events properly slotted into the right days of the week.  What matters is that these things happened at all!  Jesus really did die for our sins and he really did rise again on Sunday morning!


[1] This view is built on some details in the Gospel of John that are considered difficult to reconcile with a Thursday arrest (cf. John 18:28) as well as the belief that Jesus’ prediction that he would be in the grave for 3 days and 3 nights (Mat 12:39-40) is more easily understood as having been literally fulfilled if he was crucified on Thursday.

[2] Again, some conservative Christian scholars believe the arrest took place on Wednesday night and Jesus’ crucifixion actually took place on Thursday.

 

 

Author: Craig Smith

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