by Liz Kanoy
The 8 Days of Easter
This is Holy Week: Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday. Do you know what happened on
the days leading up to the crucifixion and after? Russ Ramsey, pastor and
author, has written a helpful article for The Gospel Coalition titled "Easter
Week in Real Time."
When we celebrate Christmas there is a merrier tone, but when we celebrate
Easter (though we should be glad in our hearts) there should be a more serious
tone. We need to understand the cost of our happiness and the great sacrifice
that made it possible.
Day 1: Palm Sunday (Matthew 21:1-11, Mark 11:1-11, Luke 19:28-44, John 12:9-19)
It is likely that you celebrated this event in your church yesterday. Maybe your
church had children waving palm branches to help them connect to the story. But
while this is a triumphal entry, it is Jesus' first step toward His death.
Matthew 21:4 tells us:
"This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying, "Say to the
daughter of Zion, 'Behold, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a
donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.'" *The prophecy is cited
from Zechariah 9:9 and Isaiah 62:11.
"When Jesus rode into Jerusalem perched on a colt, it was the first time since
raising Lazarus from the dead that he'd shown his face in the city."
Jesus had become somewhat of a celebrity among people who had heard of the
miraculous raising of Lazarus from the dead, and they wanted to see Him and
treat him like a king. But Jesus wasn't arriving to be their king on account of
Lazarus; the story of Lazarus would have had the religious leaders in even more
of an uproar and determined to put an end to His life, which He knew... Jesus'
glory would be greater than that of a local king.
Day 2: The Monday before Easter (Matthew 21:12-22; Mark 11:12-19; Luke 19:45-48)
Ramsey describes Jerusalem as a beehive, and the triumphal entry was like
hitting that angry hive with a stick. If some of the people weren't angry enough
at Jesus' entry to the city, He would now declare to them their failure to live
up to God's covenant with them. But Jesus was already a marked man as Ramsey
This is the Monday when Jesus entered the temples and drove out all those who
bought and sold things there. Matthew tells us that even upon seeing the
wondrous things Jesus did and hearing the children cry out "Hosanna to the Son
of David!" the chief priests and scribes were indignant. Their hearts and minds
were made up about this man whom they considered the biggest nuisance to ever
But Jesus responds to his disciples' awe with Scripture from Psalm 8:2,
"'Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies you have prepared praise'?"
"Much of what the Gospels tell us about Monday centers on the
theme of Jesus' authority--both over the created world and his right to judge
it." Jesus is fulfilling all of the Scriptures; He is the one with the authority
in this situation not the religious leaders.
Day 3: The Tuesday before Easter (Matthew 21:23-26:5; Mark 11:27-14:2; Luke
20:1-22:2; John 12:37-50)
Jesus spent Tuesday teaching God's Word in the temple to all who would listen;
"But Tuesday afternoon is the last time Jesus publicly teaches in the temple as
a free man. His words on this day are his closing argument, his manifesto,"
In Matthew 26:1-5 Jesus tells His disciples,
"You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man will be
delivered up to be crucified." Then the chief priests and the elders of the
people gathered in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, and
plotted together in order to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him. But they
said, "Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar among the people."
"If Monday's arrival in the temple was an all-inclusive, living
parable of cleansing God's house, Tuesday's entrance is a direct, verbal
confrontation with the appointed leadership." And as we read in the gospels, the
appointed leadership did not take it well...
Day 4: The Wednesday before Easter (Matthew 26:6-16; Mark 14:3-11; Luke 22:3-6)
On Wednesday Jesus rested; He allowed a woman to pour expensive ointment on His
head. When His disciples exclaimed at the price of the oil and what they
considered a waste, Jesus responded,
"For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you want, you can do good
for them. But you will not always have me. She has done what she could; she has
anointed my body beforehand for burial." -Mark 14:7-8
The Gospel Transformation Bible notes, "The woman's extravagant generosity in
pouring out her 'very expensive ointment' on Jesus stands in stark contrast to
the greed that drove Judas to betray Jesus for thirty pieces of silver. The
condition of one's heart will reveal itself in one's actions."
For thirty pieces of silver, Judas gave over a life. In Zechariah 11:12 we also
see the price of thirty piece of silver. The NIV Study Bible reminds us that
this was the price of a slave as cited in Ex. 21:32; D.A. Carson, the general
editor, continues, "This payoff is an insult that utterly rejects God as
shepherd...Matthew sees this same scenarios of rejecting God played out again
when Judas betrays Jesus, the Good Shepherd for 30 pieces of silver."
Day 5: Maundy Thursday *from the Latin Mandatum translated "commandment"
(Matthew 26:17-75; Mark 14:12-72; Luke 22:7-71; John 13:1-18:27)
Maundy Thursday covers the washing of the disciples' feet, the announcement of
His coming betrayal, the Passover meal, prayer at the Mount of Olives, and
ultimately His arrest in Gethsemane. As Ramsey comments, Jesus isn't just there
to pray at the Mount of Olives...He is there to wait. He knows what's coming, He
has been waiting for it, and He is ready to fulfill His promise.
"But the Scripture will be fulfilled, 'He who ate my bread has lifted his heel
against me.' I am telling you this now, before it takes place, that when it does
take place you may believe that I am he. Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever
receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one
who sent me." *The Scripture is Psalm 41:9
Later this night the Sanhedrine met to decide Jesus' fate, and they called for
Day 6: Good Friday (Matthew 27:1-61; Mark 15:1-47; Luke 23:1-56; John
Today is the day Jesus was delivered over to Pilate the governor of Judaea. When
Pilate asked Jesus if He was King of the Jews, He responded that Pilate had said
so. Still, Pilate believed Jesus had done nothing deserving of death and tried
to free Him by asking the people which prisoner they wanted released (as was
custom)--but the people shouted Barabbas. Even at the urging of his wife not to
harm this man because of a dream she had, Pilate continued on in the death
proceedings. Jesus was beaten, mocked, and crucified--but there was something
different about His death.
Mark 15:37-39 states,
"And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last. And the curtain of the
temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who stood
facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, 'Truly this man
was the Son of God!'"
"Never before or since has more been lost and gained at the same time. The world
gained the atoning sacrifice of Christ. But for those present, either the
significance of the moment is lost on them or their hearts break as the One they
thought to be the Savior of the world dies at the hands of Rome. They can't stop
it, and they don't realize it's for them. They hoped in him, and though he'd
told them he would suffer many things and rise three days later (Mark 8:31), how
could they have possibly known this was what he meant?"
Day 7: Saturday (Jesus' body lay dead in the tomb)
Matthew 27:62-66 reveals,
"The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the
Pharisees gathered before Pilate and said, "Sir, we remember how that impostor
said, while he was still alive, 'After three days I will rise. 'Therefore order
the tomb to be made secure until the third day, lest his disciples go and steal
him away and tell the people, 'He has risen from the dead,' and the last fraud
will be worse than the first." Pilate said to them, "You have a guard of
soldiers. Go, make it as secure as you can." So they went and made the tomb
secure by sealing the stone and setting a guard."
Less is written about this day in Scripture than any other day in Holy Week, but
this is the only full day where Jesus' body lay buried. As Ramsey writes, the
chief priests may have scoffed at Jesus' prophecy but they did not forget it.
The religious leaders were paranoid that something might happen still.
Day 8: Resurrection Sunday (Matthew 28:1-20; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-53; John
Some of the women disciples (not the twelve) went to the tomb to prepare Jesus'
body with burial spices and oils, but they found that the stone had been rolled
away and the body was missing. Luke 24:4-8 tells us,
"While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling
apparel. And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the
men said to them, "Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here,
but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the
Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and
on the third day rise." And they remembered his words, and returning from the
tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest."
He was not there. He is risen! But Jesus wasn't a martyr for a cause as Ramsey
explains, "No one took his life from him. He laid it down. For whom? For his
flock, his people." He continues,
"Easter says of Jesus, 'He meant it! He meant to lay down his life for you. And
as surely as he has taken it up again, he knows you and loves you.'"
The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus was not an accident, it was full of
purpose for God's glory and our salvation.
Reflect on these 8 days of Easter during this Holy Week, and read the Scriptures
prayerfully with purpose. Share this wonderful truth with your family and friends
as we approach celebration this Sunday.
About The Author:
Liz Kanoy is an editor for Crosswalk.com.
Source: Christianity.com Daily Update
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Sermons, Bible Commentaries and Bible Analyses for Kyomtho - Easter Sunday
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