Holy Week. This is what we call the final week of Jesus’ life here on earth. He didn’t begin here, He created this time. He doesn’t end here, because He is eternal. Yet, his 33 purposeful years as one of us came down to one final week. What can we learn from Jesus’ actions, emotions and words during this time when we know that He knew what was in store for him?

EMOTIONS

I can’t even fathom the depth of emotions Jesus was feeling as he faced the most extreme week of his life.
The Bible tells of him weeping over Jerusalem as he entered it: he felt deeply about his people that lived there over the course of thousands of years, the weight of his people’s denial and hardness of heart being placed on his own heart.
“And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it,”
Luke 19:41

Just a couple of days later….
“Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.”
John 12:27
Several days later, Jesus was in such anguish as he poured out his heart to his Father over his pending persecution that the night he was arrested in the garden, he actually sweat blood during his intense prayer time with God.
“And he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death..”
Mark 14:34

“And being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”
Luke 22:44

Jesus no doubt was hurt by both Peter’s denial of knowing him on 3 separate occasions, and by one of his trusted disciples, Judas Iscariot, who betrayed his trust and turned him over to the religious leaders to be arrested.
“After saying these things, Jesus was troubled in his spirit, and testified, “Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.”
John 13:21

Jesus also felt joy, as he knew that he was pleasing his Father by being obedient unto death. He earnestly shared many final things with the 12 during this week because he wanted his disciples to know and be filled with this same joy too.
“These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”
John 15:11

We can learn from Jesus’ emotions: he felt them, he showed them, but he did not let any of them (but genuine love) have a stronghold on his life or deter him from his mission.
We can also see the importance of joyously worshipping and praising the Lord, even laying down before our King our ‘stuff’, but ultimately our own lives.

ACTIONS

Jesus rode on the donkey into Jerusalem portraying himself to be a humble king, rather than one clothed in and requiring pomp and circumstance. He did this to fulfill prophecy, and to show his God-given purpose was one of peace.
“And Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written, “Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt!”
John 12:14-15
He cleansed the temple by throwing out those who had turned it into a money-making business (note to pastors), then continued to teach in it every day, regardless of those religious leaders plotting for his death. Note he cleansed it first, then taught. He had much to share still with those who would listen.
“And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold, saying to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a den of robbers.” And he was teaching daily in the temple.”
Luke 19:45-47

Jesus made an example out of a fig tree that wasn’t bearing fruit by cursing it. Jesus did so as it could not satisfy his hunger even though it had the leaves which meant it should have figs growing. It withered and died as a result of the curse. A prime example of the hypocrisy of looking like one is bearing fruit but not having living proof.
“…he was hungry…When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. And he said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.”
Mark 11:12b-14a

He served his disciples by washing their dirty feet. This act of service in humility was very lowly for any teacher, let alone the Lord God!
“Jesus …. rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.”
John 13:4-5

He spent his last evening eating and celebrating the Passover with his closest friends. He shared a special, traditional meal with his disciples, instituting Communion in remembrance of Jesus’ sacrificial act of love.
“And as they were eating, he took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank of it. And he said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.”
Matthew 14:22-24

Jesus spent hours praying in preparation for his crucifixion.
“Sit here, while I go over there and pray….And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed…Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed…”
Matthew 26:36b, 39a, 42a

He willingly went with the soldiers who arrested him, beat him, mocked him, and sadistically crucified him.
“So he asked them again, “Whom do you seek?” And they answered, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus answered, “I am he.” Then they seized him and led him away.”
John 18:7-8a, Luke 22:54

Jesus had compassion on his mother by entrusting her to John’s care in his absence.
“When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.”
John. 19:26-27

Our Lord finished his mission: to lay down his life for mankind. He completed what God the Father had sent him here to do: to live among us and display love to the fullest, to teach us God’s heart, and to bear our burdens as the sacrificial lamb of God.
“When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, ‘It is finished’, and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.”
John 19:30

Finally, after being buried, Jesus rose from the dead 3 days later!!
“And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back – it was very large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here…”
Mark 16:4-6

Hallelujah! We can learn from Jesus’ actions: knowing what he had to do, he faced it head on, yet continued to do his good work with those he came in contact with to bring glory to the Father.
In exchange, he conquered death! We also need to keep moving forward, living our lives by bearing fruit, with the faith that we too will rise again and conquer death because of Jesus.

SPOKE

With limited time remaining, Jesus spoke with intensity, passion and purpose. He shared prophetic predictions from preparing for the Passover, his coming death, Peter’s denial, and all the way to the end times culminating with his return.
“And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations inperplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves, people fainting with fear and withforeboding of what is coming on the world. For the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.”
Luke 21:25-27

Jesus spoke with wisdom, outwitting the religious leaders who kept trying to ensnare and trap him. He was perceptive.
“Is it lawful for us to give tribute to Caesar, or not?” But he perceived their craftiness, and said to them, “Show me a denarius. Whose likeness and inscription does it have?” They said, “Caesar’s.” He said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”
Luke 20:22-25

He was thankful for God’s provision of the cup of wine and the bread.
“And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves….And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you.”
Luke 22:17,19

Jesus was honest with God the Father about his anxiousness of his pending death.
“And going a little further, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”
Mark 14:35-36a

He was quiet and did not speak when questioned by the pious priests, nor did he condemn those that persecuted him.
“And the High Priest stood up and said, ‘Have you no answer to make?’… But Jesus remained silent.”
Matthew 26:62

Jesus spoke words of kindness, compassion, forgiveness, comfort, truth, yet also of his abandonment, curses, thirst, and completion.
“And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
Luke 23:34a

We can learn from Jesus’ words: he was very intentional and honest with what he said. Take time to think before you speak, and ask yourself, “would Jesus say this?”

CONCLUSION

Jesus knew that the final outcome far outweighed the immediate cost. So, he chose to go through the whole week, not just the easy, good parts where people were worshipping him, eating and drinking with him, and listening to his speeches.

Comparatively, we can see our need to fully engage in whatever God has asked of us, regardless of whether it is easy and fun, or hard and painful. The outcome will far outweigh our minimal cost.

Food for thought: Will your time here on earth be fruitful for God in actions and words? Will your emotions control you, or will you control them?

Fun facts: 1 week = 7 days = 168 hours = 10,080 minutes = 604,800 seconds.

Photo by: Kari Wiseman – Garden of the Gods

All 4 of the gospels tell of this week in detail, as it was very fresh in the minds of his disciples, and their desire for mankind to know what truly transpired. For further reading, this is where each gospel begins its tale of Jesus’ Holy Week:
Matthew 21:1, Mark 11:1, Luke 19:28, John 12:1.