While Holy Week marks the final week of Jesus’ earthly life, it is also the end of the Catholic Liturgical season of Lent on Holy Thursday and the 40 day Lenten fast on Holy Saturday. The week begins with Palm Sunday. The exact timeline is debatable but here is a possible timeline of Jesus’ final week:
On the Sunday before his death, Jesus began his trip to Jerusalem. Nearing the village of Bethphage, He sent two of his disciples ahead to look for a donkey and a colt. Riding on the donkey, He humbly but triumphantly entered into the city of Jerusalem. The gathering crowds spread their cloaks and palm branches on the road and sang “Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.
Upon arriving, Jesus entered the temple area and with righteous anger overturned the tables and seats of the money changers and merchants saying, “My house shall be a house of prayer.”
Growing hungry in the morning, he approached a fig tree but found it not bearing any fruit so he cursed it and it immediately withered away. The disciples asked how it did that and Jesus told them that even they could move mountains with prayer and faith.
He arrived in the temple area again and with mounting hostility, the chief priests, scribes and elders questioned Jesus’ authority and wanted Him to tell them where it came from. He refused because they would not answer a question He proposed to them.
He then told several parables including “The Two Sons”, “The Tenants”, and “The Wedding Feast” and the Pharisees and Sadducees continued to try and entrap Jesus with things like paying taxes, the resurrection, the greatest commandment and the messiah being David’s son.
Jesus predicts the destruction of the temple and the beginning of calamities but tells His disciples not to be alarmed because these things must happen and it will not be the end. He tells them of the coming of the Son of Man upon the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. He states that day and hour of the coming is unknown to everyone but the Father.
Later at the house of Simon the leper in Bethany, Jesus is anointed with the expensive jar of perfumed oil and with this He tells His disciples that this act is preparing Him for burial.
Holy Thursday is the first day of the Feast of the Unleavened Bread and preparation for the Passover. Jesus’ disciples prepare the upper room for it as Jesus had ordered. That evening after sunset, Jesus washed the feet of his disciples as they prepared to share in the Passover. While they were eating, Jesus announces to His apostles that one of them will betray Him. And then He took the bread and wine and instituted the Holy Eucharist.
After supper and signing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives where Jesus fortold the denial by Peter. And then they went to Gethsemane so that Jesus could pray. The agony He was feeling was so great at this time that an angel appeared to strengthen Him.
Upon finding His disciples asleep three times, He told them to get up because His betrayer was at hand. At this time, Judas and a crowd with swords and clubs sent by the chief priests and elders arrived and arrested Jesus. They sent Jesus to Caiaphas the high priest along with the Sanhedrin who tried to get Jesus to give false testimony. He remained silent until finally He said that the Son of Man is coming. Peter, hiding out in the courtyard, denied knowing Jesus three times.
In the morning, the Sanhedrin leads Jesus to Pilate. Pilate questions Jesus but could not find any crime He committed. He offered to release a murderer named Barabbas or Jesus and the crowds called for Barabbas and for Jesus to be crucified. He washed His hands
Soldiers then took Jesus away and stripped Him of His clothes, crowned Him with a crown of thorns, mocked and spit on Him and then beat Him before leading Him away to be crucified. They pressed a man named Simon into service to help Jesus carry His cross. Upon arriving at Golgotha around nine in the morning, they crucified Him along with two criminals. From noon onward, darkness came over the land. At three o’clock, Jesus cried out “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me.” Jesus then cried out again and died. His body was taken down and placed in a tomb.
The chief priests requested that a guard be placed at the tomb so that Jesus’s body could not be stolen and then later claimed to have risen from the dead. Pilate agreed and so they secured the tomb, fixed a seal upon the stone and set a guard.
At dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to the tomb to anoint Jesus’ body. They found the stone rolled away and the tomb empty and an angel of God was there who told them that Jesus was not there and that He had been raised from the dead. He told them to go tell the disciples. Jesus met them on their way there and told them not to be afraid. He sent the Marys to Peter and the apostles to tell them to meet Him in Galilee.
He met the eleven apostles there at Galilee. There, He commissioned them “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” After telling them He will be with them until the end of the age, he ascended into Heaven and took His seat at the right hand of God the Father.
Alleluia! Christ the Lord is Risen.