Despite the sorrow and fear caused by the worldwide pandemic, we can have hope in Jesus’ power over death. As we read from the scriptures may our hearts be turned to God.
Holy Week in General
“A Working Chronology of the Savior’s Final Days,” Eric D. Huntsman
We know that the Resurrection happened on a Sunday, and the other events of the week can be estimated by working through all the Gospels. Observing the events of the week adds meaning to our Easter celebration.
“Preparing for Easter,” Eric D. Huntsman, LDS Seasonal Materials
Dr. Huntsman’s blog collates readings from the four Gospels for each day from Palm Sunday to Easter morning, along with commentary and suggested hymns for individual, family, or class worship.
“The Passion (Final Week of Jesus’s Life),” podcast with Eric D. Huntsman and Julie M. Smith, March 25, 2015, by Dan Wotherspoon.
A close look at the events of this week, as well interesting textual issues about the Gospels. See also Mormon Matters’ podcast series on Easter.
Palm Sunday: Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem (Matthew 21:6 –11)
“Palm Sunday,” by Eric Huntsman, blog with link to readings, photos, and music.
All four Gospels report the events of the triumphal entry. Jesus mourns over Jerusalem, his disciples procure a donkey, and crowds greet him with palm fronds.
Monday: Cleansing the temple (Matthew 21:12–16)
“Monday,” by Eric Huntsman, blog
Jesus appears to have spent most of this day in the courts of the Temple, where he was questioned by the authorities and taught the people.
Tuesday: Teaching in Jerusalem (Matthew 21–23)
“The Question of Authority and Jesus’s Parable of the Two Sons in Matthew 21,” by John W. Welch, BYU New Testament Commentary
Several significant points are embedded in this instructive story as this parable takes the question of authority into divine realms. Involved here is no ordinary father, no ordinary vineyard, or any ordinary pair of sons.
“A Warning to the Jews (Matt. 23),” Richard D. Draper, BYU New Testament Commentary
The revelation that flowed on Tuesday, two days after the triumphal entry, was mostly startling, and some of it was frightening.
“Tuesday,” by Eric Huntsman, blog
Jesus taught again in the temple, and the authorities attempted to catch Jesus in his words.
Wednesday: Continued Teaching (Matthew 24-25)
“Jesus is Anointed (Mark 14:1-11),” by Julie M. Smith, from The Gospel According to Mark.
The anointing story is the narrative bridge between Jesus’ life and death; it is both the last story relating events from the daily life and the first part of the story of his death. It is the hinge between the accounts of his life and his death; its location in the text mirrors its theological function since the anointing story explores the link between Jesus’ life and death.
“Seven Versions of Jesus’ Prophecy on the Mount of Olives,” by S. Kent Brown, BYU New Testament Commentary.
Looks at seven versions (three Gospels, three JST versions, and JS-Matthew) of the prophecy. Mark’s Gospel includes the story of the poor widow’s two mites placed interestingly before the sermon about the fate of Jerusalem.
“Wednesday,” by Eric Huntsman, blog.
The Gospel of Mark allows three events on Wednesday: the plot of the Jewish leadership against Jesus, the story of an unnamed woman in Bethany anointing Jesus’ head, and Judas’ decision to betray Jesus.
Thursday: The Passover and Christ’s Suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26)
“Farewell Discourses and the High Priestly Prayer,” Eric D. Huntsman, BYU New Testament Commentary
The Gospel of John enriches our understanding of the events and teaching of Jesus’ last night with passages that include Jesus’ last discourses and his beautiful Intercessory Prayer (John 13:31-17:26)
“Dating the Death of Jesus Christ,” Jeffrey R. Chadwick, BYU Studies, Volume 54, no.4
While we can’t be certain, evidence suggests that Jesus was crucified on a Thursday in the spring of AD 30, on the eve of Passover, the 14-day Jewish month Nisan, which in that year fell on April 6 in the old Julian calendar.
“John’s Account of the Last Supper: The Lamb of God: Unique Aspects of the Passion Narrative in John,” Eric D. Huntsman, BYU New Testament Commentary
John’s account of the Last Supper contains unique elements recorded nowhere else.
“Maundy Thursday,” Eric Huntsman, blog
This day tells of the Last Supper, the sacrament instituted, the washing of the disciples’ feet, and, most of all, the prayer and agony in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Friday: Trial, Crucifixion, and Burial (Matthew 27:1-61)
BYU Easter Conference Presentation, Eric D. Huntsman, video
Huntsman discusses how as Latter-day Saints have sometimes felt that other Christians emphasize the Cross too much, perhaps we have overcompensated by not emphasizing it enough.
“Why Should the Cross be Meaningful to Latter-day Saints?” Gaye Strathearn, BYU New Testament Commentary
The events on the cross are an integral part of the Atonement. The cross, as the place of being “lifted up,” is a symbol of God’s great love for his children. We are asked to take up our cross as disciples of Christ. Jesus kept the signs of the crucifixion on his resurrected body.
“The Trial and Death of Jesus,” John W. Welch, BYU New Testament Commentary
Why was Jesus killed? Who was responsible? Looking at the legal circumstances, it is clear that Jesus was in full control from beginning to end.
“Raising Lazarus: Jesus’s Signing of His Own Death Warrant,” John W. Welch, BYU New Testament Commentary
Without seeing the raising of Lazarus as a background, it is hard to imagine a reason why a large multitude of people would have followed Jesus into Jerusalem shouting, “Hosanna! Save us now!” and why the chief priests turned the crowds away and were able to execute him so quickly.
“The Legal Cause of Action against Jesus in John 18:29-30,” John W. Welch, BYU New Testament Commentary
The accusation in John 18:29-30 holds a key for understanding the legal cause of action and strategy of the chief priests in the proceedings against Jesus.
“Good Friday,” Eric Huntsman, blog
Good Friday can be a tender and reflective time for individuals and families to pause and consider how Jesus, as our great high priest, offered himself as a sacrifice for us.
Saturday: Christ’s body lies in the tomb (Matthew 27:62-66) while His spirit ministers in the spirit world (D&C 138)
“Saturday,” Eric Huntsman, blog
The only event the Gospels record for the day after the crucifixion is the posting of a guard at the tomb at the request of the chief priests and Pharisees (Matthew 27:62-66). Because this was ostensibly Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath, Jesus’ family and friends stayed away from the tomb that day.
“The Great World of the Spirits of the Death: Death, the Great War, and the 1918 Influenza Pandemic as Context for Doctrine and Covenants 138,” George S. Tate, BYU Studies 46, no. 1.
In October 1918, Smith received a comforting vision of God’s love and of Christ and saints ministering and preaching the gospel among the spirits of the dead while his body lay in the tomb. The vision teaches that the dead who repent will be redeemed and become heirs of salvation.
Sunday: The appearance of the resurrected Christ (Matthew 28:1-10)
Special Witnesses of Christ: Videos
The First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles present short videos of themselves in holy places, bearing testimony of Christ. Some videos are from the series created in 2000 and some are new.
“The Atonement and the Resurrection,” D. Todd Christofferson, Religious Educator
Elder Christofferson imagines being with the Savior through his sacrifice and resurrection. From a talk at BYU Easter Conference, March 26, 2005.
“Easter or Resurrection Sunday,” Eric Huntsman, blog
For those closest to Christ, the pain and grief and separation suddenly melted away in the joy of the first Easter.
“What Does the Book of Mormon Teach Us about the Resurrection?” Book of Mormon Central, video and text
The Book of Mormon teaches Christ’s Resurrection as the way in which humanity can overcome our spiritual and physical deaths that were brought about the Fall and our own transgressions, and return to the presence of God to be judged, in our bodies, according to our thoughts, words, and deeds. The Book of Mormon and Bible together clarify that everyone will be resurrected.