Passion Week Timeline

Jesus’ Final Week







Anointing in




Temple Cleansing

Fig Tree & Teaching in Temple/Mt. of Olives

John 11:55-12:1, 9-11

Mt. 21:1-11

Mk. 11:1-11

Lk. 19:29-44

Jn. 12:12-19



Mt. 21:12-22



Mk. 11:12-18








Plot against Jesus

Prep. For Passover, Last Supper & Gethsemane

Trial(s), Sentence, & Execution

















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2 Betrayals & The Cross

 I want to take you back to the last Passover meal that Jesus shared with his disciples. It would have been early April. It’s just after sundown on Thursday evening, Jesus and the disciples were all gathered in the upper room around a table. Two of the disciples, Judas and Peter who were reclining at the table with Jesus would fail him within the next couple of hours. But the reason for their failure and their response to their failure would be decisively different.

As Jesus is sharing the Passover meal with the disciples, He tells them that from that table, one of the twelve would deliver Him up to be crucified. (The Greek word for “betray” and “deliver up” is the same.) Just 24 hours before, on Wednesday evening, Judas using his own wisdom and for his own reasons decides to betray Jesus by handing Him over to the Chief Priests. (If you want the passages, Luke 22:3-6, Matthew 26:14-16, Mark 14:10-11)

Skip ahead to Thursday evening after the Last Supper, Jesus and His disciples are together and Jesus looks at Peter and tells him that Peter’s going to deny Jesus three times that night. Peter says, “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You (Mt. 26:35).” Peter had already decided to die with the Lord because he truly trusted that Jesus was the Messiah, he just wasn’t as ready as he thought he was! Both of these men failed, both of these men betrayed the Lord Jesus, but just as their actual betrayals were different the word “betrayal” has different meanings and the differences are important. One definition means: “to deliver a person into someone’s hands.” Another definition means: “to fail or desert especially in time of need.” . Judas never really sees Jesus as Lord, and so in his own thinking he doesn’t fully realize the choice he has made. Peter on the other hand, is so in love with Jesus as the Lord that Peter is trying to serve faithfully but is overconfident in his human strength. Both men had betrayed Christ, but their reasons were different and as we shall see their responses are quite different also, which reflects their relationship with Christ.

Matthew records Judas’ response with these details:  “Early in the morning, all the chief priests and the elders of the people came to the decision to put Jesus to death. They bound him, led him away and handed him over to Pilate, the governor. When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and the elders. “I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood (Matt. 27:1-4).”  Judas felt remorse, and that’s it. The Greek word means to regret a decision, to be sorry afterwards.  In English, the word remorse means: to have a deep torturing sense of guilt felt over a wrong that one has done, and that’s exactly how Judas probably felt.  He felt terrible, for what he had did, and confessed his wrong to the Chief Priests.

I want you to flash back to a couple of hours earlier.  Jesus has been lead away to Caiaphas’ it’s around 3am on Friday morning. Peter is sitting in the courtyard, and a servant girl asks Peter if he was with Jesus and Peter denies it, a little while later another girl asks Peter if he was associated with Jesus and again he denies it, and still later some others come and say, “You have to be one of the disciples, you talk just like them, and for the third time Peter denies Him.  And just then Jesus’ words hit him.  ‘”Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.’ And he went outside and wept bitterly (Mt. 26:75).”  Peter starts to weep bitterly.  Peter runs off, because he knows that he has betrayed Christ, but he runs off still very much in love with Christ and still trusting Him.  The Apostle Paul, years later would write, “Godly sorrow leads to repentance, which brings salvation, and leaves no regret (2. Cor. 7:10).  Do you see the difference in their responses?

Judas felt “remorse” — the terrible self-condemnation when one realizes that they have done a really bad thing.  But Judas trusted himself all along and when he realized he had sinned, he punished himself for his sin by killing himself.  He never let the Lord actually be the Lord at any point in the transaction.

Peter “repented” — the turning around of mind and life and throwing ones self on the mercy of the Lord.  He trusted the Lord all along, even when he himself failed.  He felt terrible, too, but it was because he knew Jesus is Lord and he had failed to live up to his own knowledge of Christ.

Both men had high standards; both men took responsibility for their sins, both men felt terrible for what they did.  But Judas, who never trusted the Lord, in the first place (John 6:70) let his bad feeling about himself turn him further away from the Lord, committing murder against himself.  Peter was driven by his moral failure to the Lord in humility and sorrow.  Remorse just feels bad for itself.  Repentance runs to the Lord’s grace (John 21:7). 

Their responses and my own failures cause me to think about the Cross of Christ

1.      The Cross reminds us to turn and run to the Lord instead of away from Him when we fail.

2.      The Cross reminds us that the grace we live in is not cheap!  The purchase price for betraying Jesus was cheap, but the purchase prize for your soul was not.  It cost Jesus everything.

3.      The Cross reminds us that we will never be in a state where we do not need grace, and as believer’s we’ll never be in a state where we don’t have it.

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Peter: Before and After

Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd…

Acts 2:14a

Would you please notice two things from these 14 words? First, please notice that Peter of all people, stood to speak.  Think about Peter for a second, what has happened to Peter in these last six weeks? On the night the Lord Jesus was arrested, Jesus told His disciples that they would all fall away on account of Him, and Peter says, “No Lord, even if all fall away on account of You, I never will!”  And then as Jesus was led away to Caiaphas’ courtyard, Peter cowered before a little girl and denied Christ three times. Peter then watched as they crucified Jesus, and buried Him. Three days later, the women come and tell Peter that the body isn’t in the tomb. Peter and John probably think the women are crazy, but they start running to the tomb and when Peter enters it, and he sees that the body isn’t there, he’s gotta be thinking, “What in the world is going on here?” 

Later, after Jesus’ Resurrection, Jesus came and asked Peter three times if Peter truly loved Jesus, and Peter said, “Yes, Lord you know all things, you know that I love you.” So Jesus re-instated him as an Apostle.  So here’s Peter, now preaching on the day of Pentecost!  What’s the difference? 

The difference is over these past six weeks, the Lord has emptied Peter of himself, his pride, and his strength, and filled him with the Holy Spirit, and now Peter is empowered to stand in front of all these people and proclaim the Gospel message! My firm belief is that the Lord is still doing this type of thing in our lives.  The Lord is still emptying us of our pride, our strength, our very-self, so that He can fill us with His life through His Spirit and transform us, just as He did Peter, to bring Him honor and glory as we bear witness of Him in our communities.

Second, notice there’s another whole thought here about restoration, when a brother or sister falls from grace.  Peter has repented, the Lord has forgiven, and the Believers, their responsibility now is to come alongside encourage, pray and support him. It would have been so easy for the disciples to say, “I’m not going to trust Peter again.  He blew it.  I can’t support him anymore.  He can’t be in the ministry anymore…how can he even call himself a Christian?”  But that’s not what the disciples did, they stood with Peter, and they supported and encouraged him. Woe to the Body of Christ, woe to us, if when a brother or sister falls, we offer judgment, and condemnation instead of grace and encouragement.


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Engaging People

samaritan-womanIn John 4 (you can read here), Jesus engages a despised Samaritan woman, and in so doing sets us an example on how we should engage the people we come into contact with.  If you want to be a good witness for the Lord Jesus, you might want to consider His example.


  1. He accepts the woman as she is, even though He knows every thing about her (v9).  We know very little about people, and sometimes what we do know we don’t like, and so we don’t accept them. We don’t think that the Lord could actually be at work in their soul.  You know there are times when we don’t think like the Lord at all.  If there’s one thing I could change about me this would be it, to be able to see people as Jesus sees them, and to be able to accept people the way Jesus does here.
  2. He actually spoke to the woman (v7).  If you want to evangelize people, if you want to witness to people, you’ll have to speak to someone.  Creation is a silent witness, you and I are not.  Jesus was very relational; He engaged in conversation, He didn’t pass out Bible tracts.  He sat down and had conversations with people. He built relationships with them, and I’ve found it’s more effective to be relational in witnessing, than trying to be the Bible-Answer Man.  Build the relationship, tell of what Jesus has done, don’t worry about answering every theological question.  If they ask you a question you don’t know, be honest and tell them you don’t know, but you’ll do some digging and get back with them the next time you meet for coffee.
  3. He levels with her about her sin (v 17-18).  We try to be so merciful sometimes that we don’t deal with other’s sin.  We tell people that their “okay” and God loves them and they think, “Well sure God loves me, I’m a good person, everybody tells me so.” Yet the Good News is not really Good News until you first hear the bad news, and the bad news is apart from faith in Christ, God isn’t all that happy with humanity.  By the way, the only way you can deal with another person’s sin is through building a solid enough relationship that you can actually deal with the real issues of life.  This is what Jesus does with this woman, and it reminds us that sometimes we have to say the hard things and call sin, sin.
  4. He communicates the truth with her (v 21-24).  It’s not about where you worship, it’s about how and whom you worship, and it needs to be done through the Son.  By the Spirit of God in accordance with the truth He has said in His Son, and in the Scriptures.
  5. He introduced Himself to the woman (v26).  “I am He.”  When you relate to people about God, you must bring up Jesus Christ, and what He has done.  Even a simple statement like, “Jesus is Lord” is enough.  You must bring up the Name of Jesus Christ. In our plurastic soceity, if you say, “I believe in God” without specifically saying Jesus Christ they are left to wonder which God you believe in.  Be clear. Introduce them to the Jesus of the Scriptures.
  6. He stopped talking (v27-28).  He let her go.  He knew when to stop. When you don’t have anything else to say, stop talking. There’s nothing worse than a Christian (outside of a Jehovah Witness) who continues to jam the Gospel down somebody’s throat when their done listening!  You gotta know when to stop.

Let’s pray that our engagement with the people the Lord gives us to speak to will be effective and fruitful for the Kingdom.

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Encountering Jesus

John 4 is quickly becoming one of my favorite passages in the Scriptures (click here to read). It’s the passage where Jesus chooses to go into a community where the religous leaders of that day would not go.  At a well, a woman encounters Jesus. By accepting the woman as she is, and speaking truth into her life, Jesus provides the context for the woman to discover who He is.

After encountering Jesus the woman goes back into her town and shares her experience with her community and many are influenced to explore her claims about Jesus.  After spending two days with Jesus, many come to life-transforming faith, no longer because of the woman’s testimony, but by first-hand experience with “the Savior of the world.” (John 4:42) 

It seems to me that this is a paradigm for our lives as the Body of Christ, where we desire to follow Jesus’ example by providing a place where we can connect with God and with our community.  Each week we will, like the woman, encounter Jesus through genuine worship, Biblical truth, and authentic friendships, which will in turn strengthen our discipleship, and challenge us to engage our community through lives of service and love. 

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The Gospel Effect…

In Servant Magazine this past month this short article caught my eye.

While covering a disaster story in central Africa, seasoned CBC journalist Brian Stewart made an emergency refueling stop and were greated by a cheerful Christian minister offering tea.  Recalls Stewart, “My veteran cameraman later sighed in exasperation, ‘Do you think you could ever get us to a story, somewhere, anywhere wehre those Christians aren’t there first.’ Stewart admits: “I was never able to…I’ve never reached a war zone, famine or crisis anywhere where some church organization was not there long before me…laboring heroically during the crisis and long after all the media and visiting celebrities have gone.”  When Stewart and the BBC’s Michael Buerk first broke the story of the great Ethiopian famine, the world reacted and TV was credited for saving millions.  But Stewart acknowledges, “We went because for months church…groups on the ground had seen famine coming and had been beseeching the world to take notice…Christian work on the frontlines infects those around them, even those who are not Christian, with a sense of Christ’s deep mystery and power.  I’ve felt it. It changes the world.”

Servant Magazine, issue 81, pg. 9

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After His resurrection Jesus taught that “as the Father has sent me, I am sending you” (John 20:21). Jesus declares that He will send us, the only question becomes where?  Just as Jesus was sent to a specific place at a specific time, we are also sent to a specific place at a specific time. Does that mean we have to up and move to a foreign country to be serving God?  Nope, not necessarily.   We are called to be on mission in our community. We need to take our vacation and go on a mission trip in our town or city, and consider it just as worthy as going to Mexico or Africa.  We have been sent to be on mission in our context, where we understand the culture, we understand the lives, minds and dreams of our neighbors, so that we can effectively speak into their lives the truth of Christ, and our community can witness the reality of the Gospel being lived-out in their midst by co-workers, neighbors, and friends.  What we might need to change, however, is our mind-set, we need to learn to think about our culture in a redemptive way.  We need to start viewing our lives from a Gospel mindset.  We need to start viewing our place of employment, our home, our school as our mission field, and live the reality of the Gospel out in every sphere of our life.

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Save Me From…

I realize that most who read this blog are not old, but just in case a TCF member drops by I thought I should have something for them also.  I recently was listening to D.A. Carson speak about his father, Tom, who was a pastor in Canada, and upon his passing, D. A. went through his journals and found this entry.  Great prayer for old men and women.

“Save me from the sins of old men”

“Save me from, “A tendency to look backwards and idealize the past.”

“Save me from, “The temptation to resent younger men coming along.”

“Save me from, “Being too quick to turn on the television because I am lonely.”

“Save me from, “Insufficient intercessory prayer for my grandchildren.”

“Save me from, “The willingness to trust the news, instead of the Good News.”

“Save me from the sins of old age.”

May I also add this prayer, “Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come (Ps. 71:18).

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Discerning God’s Will

I have been praying through some decisions these past couple of weeks, and as I was relating this to someone the other day they asked, “how do you go about discerning God’s will for your life?”  Great question.  Now this is not some formula for making the Lord do what I want, but how I sense His calling in my life.

1. Prayer-Trusting that the Holy Spirit will impress upon my/your spirit what He wants us to do.

2. Steep ourselves in God’s Word-Romans 12:1-2

3. Godly Counsel-Exodus 18:13-27

4. Redeemed Wisdom-like the kind in Proverbs (rather than the wisdom of the world) Acts 1:15-17, 21-22

5. Providence (His work in circumstances) Either in opening or closing of doors. Acts 16:7-8

6. We seek the Lord, more than His will. If we’re truly seeking the Lord, and the Lord’s mind regarding all things, He won’t allow us to miss His will.  In Matthew 5:6, Jesus says, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” If you’re truly seeking after God, you can trust that promise.

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America’s Ugly Exported “Gospel”

The preaching is from John Piper. 

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