Creating a timeline of Holy Week may not be a scholarly pursuit. It may be filled with holes from an historical critical and even literary perspective. I want us to consider the work of faith and the journey of the heart this week. The writers of the Gospels had a message to share about the love and sacrifice of Jesus. He came to welcome all people into a new kind of life – a life filled with forgiveness and hope – no longer judgement and the whimsy of a distant god.
On Tuesday Jesus leaves Bethany and finds the fig tree that had been cursed withered; here now he teaches on faith in Matthew 21:
20 When the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying, “How did the fig tree wither at once?” And Jesus answered them, “Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen. And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”
Jesus then went to the temple. He never stopped teaching the entire week he was in Jerusalem. There he was questioned about his authority in Matthew 21:
And when he entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came up to him as he was teaching, and said, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” Jesus answered them, “I also will ask you one question, and if you tell me the answer, then I also will tell you by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John, from where did it come? From heaven or from man?” And they discussed it among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ But if we say, ‘From man,’we are afraid of the crowd, for they all hold that John was a prophet.’
On his way back to Bethany Jesus taught the parable of the Wicked Tenants, paying taxes to Caesar, he answered questions by the Sadducees regarding the resurrection, and who’s son was the Christ, and warned about the religious posers known as the Scribes (Luke 20). This was also the day that Judas struck a bargain with the Pharisees to betray Jesus; perhaps he falsely thought he would cause Jesus to begin the revolt against the religious and Roman authorities
37 Each day Jesus was teaching at the temple, and each evening he went out to spend the night on the hill called the Mount of Olives, and all the people came early in the morning to hear him at the temple. Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread, called the Passover, was approaching,
2 and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were looking for some way to get rid of Jesus, for they were afraid of the people. Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve. And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus. They were delighted and agreed to give him money. He consented, and watched for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them when no crowd was present. (Luke 21 & 22)
Jesus would spend the night once again with his friends in Bethany. Wednesday would be a day off perhaps a day to prepare for what he was about to go through. The Gospels seem silent about what happened on Wednesday. There would be no rest for the conspirators and those plotting to arrest and kill Jesus. Jesus does remind us that we too should rest before taking on tasks of greater and lesser magnitude. Sabbath, as he said, was made for us and can be taken as much on a Wednesday as a Saturday or Sunday.