A Journey Through the Last Week of Jesus’ Life

Palm Sunday, The Day of Temporary Triumph: Mark 11:1-11

… 8Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut in the fields. Then those who went ahead and those who followed were shouting,

Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

11Then he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple; and when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.

I wonder two big things about this text. First, I wonder what it would have been like to be the colt, mentioned earlier in the text, that Jesus rides in on. That thing’s the original badass. Mostly, I wonder what it would be like to be there, to witness the promise coming true, right in front of my eyes – to wish I had a jacket or palm branch to pave the way for the one who comes in the name of the Lord. What would it have been like for Jesus, to feel glad at bringing hope and still to know what would be coming next?

Monday, The Day of Anger: Mark 11:12-19

…15Then they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who were selling and those who were buying in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves; 16 and he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple. 17 He was teaching and saying, “Is it not written,

‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’?
    But you have made it a den of robbers.”

Sometimes anger shows up where and when we least expect it.  Sometimes the stresses of life make it worse and our anger bubbles out from us. Anger tells us that something is not right between us and another person or between us and a certain situation. Jesus’ anger told him that something was not right between him and the world he came to love. His anger came from a place of both deep caring, and profound hurt.

Tuesday, The Day of Waiting: Mark 13:32-37

32 “But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33 Beware, keep alert;[a] for you do not know when the time will come. 34 It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his slaves in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. 35 Therefore, keep awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, 36 or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly. 37 And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.”

Watch for the promise – when all the hurts and disappointments of life give way to despair, wake up, and wait for the promise to unfold in unexpected ways in your life.

Wednesday, The Day of Anointing: Mark 14:3-9 

 While he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper,[a] as he sat at the table, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very costly ointment of nard, and she broke open the jar and poured the ointment on his head. But some were there who said to one another in anger, “Why was the ointment wasted in this way? For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii,[b] and the money given to the poor.” And they scolded her. But Jesus said, “Let her alone; why do you trouble her? She has performed a good service for me. For you always have the poor with you, and you can show kindness to them whenever you wish; but you will not always have me.She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for its burial. Truly I tell you, wherever the good news[c] is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her.”

She’s been standing in the entryway for 5 minutes that seem an eternity. With every step she takes toward Jesus, a lifetime of hurt and disappointment flashes before her eyes as she brings this, her last luxury, to the feet of Christ. As she breaks the jar – a precious family heirloom – the oil anoints Jesus’ head, anointing her too – and the hurts and disappointments of life are given new meaning: hope and restoration through Christ. Let Christ’s anointing fall on you and bring you hope and restoration. May you be healed in mind, body and spirit, and may God restore you as God prepares you to be the person God would have you be.

Thursday, The Day of Fellowship: Mark 14:17-26

22 While they were eating, he took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.” 23 Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, and all of them drank from it. 24 He said to them, “This is my blood of the[c] covenant, which is poured out for many. 25 Truly I tell you, I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”

I imagine it as a jolly meal that turns somber. “Wait,” Peter says, “what?” “Oh, I’m gonna miss him and his random comments,” Jesus thinks to himself. They journey together through griefs they didn’t know could exist in the world, and the night ends in darkness.

Friday, The Day of Suffering: Mark 15:12-20

16 Then the soldiers led him into the courtyard of the palace (that is, the governor’s headquarters[c]); and they called together the whole cohort. 17 And they clothed him in a purple cloak; and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on him. 18 And they began saluting him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 19 They struck his head with a reed, spat upon him, and knelt down in homage to him. 20 After mocking him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him.

He stands in the temple courts, his soul hanging on by a thread as his bruised and beaten body tries to stand upright. “Oh, Jesus,” a temple guard mocks, “kings wear crowns! Here, I made a special one just for you.” Every thorn piercing his forehead is a reminder of loneliness, humiliation and the absence of God. The guards parade around him and drape him with a purple cape. They mockingly bow to him for several minutes that feel like a cruel eternity and then, off comes the robe. He can wear his regular clothes to be crucified in. They slam a cross onto his back and begin the long walk to that far away hill.

Saturday, The Day of Silence

Easter Sunday, The Day of Resurrection: Luke 24:1-9

But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in, they did not find the body.[a] While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them. The women[b] were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men[c] said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen.[d] Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.” Then they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb, they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest.

Christ is risen!

Christ is risen indeed!

Thanks be to God!


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