Can you believe that Easter is just over a week away?? Even though I've been anticipating its arrival for weeks, it's hard to believe that it's finally here. I'm so excited! Seriously, Easter is my absolute favorite time of the church year. I love the songs. The pomp. The circumstance. The sheer joy of the resurrection.
But before we can celebrate the resurrection, we have to remember the death.
Apart from celebrating Christmas and Easter, the church I grew up in didn't really pay much heed to the church calendar. But I need to walk through and reflect on the events of Holy Week. I need to experience the jubilation of Palm Sunday and the rising unrest that followed on Holy Monday and Tuesday. I need to feel the shock of the betrayal on Spy Wednesday and the horror of the arrest on Maundy Thursday. I need to remember the awful reality of the death on Good Friday and the grief that set in on that Holy Sabbath Saturday. And then, maybe, just maybe, I'll be able to really celebrate the resurrection on Easter Sunday.
And so this year, to help prepare my heart for Easter Sunday, I've worked out a simple Bible reading plan for Holy Week. Each day, starting on Palm Sunday and ending on Easter Sunday, I'll read the corresponding day's events in the Gospel of Luke, as well as a supporting passage from the Old Testament.
I'd love for you to join me! I've included the entire plan below, but I've also created a little printable that you can tuck into your Bible and use throughout the week. Scroll all the way to the bottom of this post and click on the "download" icon to access the printable, and be sure to drop me a line if you're using the guide!
Holy Week With Jesus
a simple and free Holy Week Bible Reading Guide
Using This Guide
I hope you find this brief timeline of events helpful as you move through Holy Week with Jesus. If you're reading with me, leave a comment and let me know, or use #HolyWeekWithJesus on social media so we can encourage one another!
Begin each day with a prayer for understanding and clarity. Ask the Lord to reveal himself to you through your reading. Next, read the appropriate scriptures slowly. Take a few minutes to process what you’ve read. Reflect on what it teaches you about the character of God as revealed through Jesus Christ. What did you learn about God? What did you learn about yourself? Reflect on your reading throughout the day. Let it seep into your soul and transform you from the inside out.
On Palm Sunday, Jesus entered Jerusalem with his disciples riding a borrowed donkey. He arrived to much celebration, but it was the beginning of the end of his human life.
On Holy Monday, Jesus asserted his authority by throwing out anyone and everyone who was doing business inside the temple complex. The Jewish leaders were less than impressed with the display of power.
On Holy Tuesday, temple leaders challenged Jesus by putting him to the test. Literally. They raised a number of theological debates with him and questioned both his teaching and his God-given authority.
On Spy Wednesday, Jesus continued his teaching, which only riled up Jewish leaders. The tipping point came when a woman honored Jesus by anointing him with really expensive oil. This didn't sit well with Judas, who went straight to the religious authorities and offered to deliver Jesus into their hands.
On Maundy Thursday, after celebrating the Passover with his disciples, Jesus went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray, where Judas betrayed him. He was arrested and tortured while Peter denied him.
On Good Friday, the Jewish leaders, with the help of Pilate, subjected Jesus to a mock trial that resulted in a death sentence for the one who would be called the King of the Jews. He was hastily crucified and quickly buried before the Sabbath began that evening.
On Holy Saturday, not much happened...that we know of, at least. Since it was the Jewish Sabbath, all activity came to a grinding halt, and Jesus' followers had to wait until the next day to properly prepare his body for burial.
On Easter Sunday, a couple of women went to Jesus' tomb to anoint him for burial, but when they arrived, he wasn't there. The tomb was empty, and an angel greeted them with the news that Jesus was alive. The women hurried back to tell the others, and Jesus surprised his grieving disciples by showing up in their midst.