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Ethics & Religion
March 31, 2021
Column #2,068
The Last Week of Jesus
By Mike McManus

The last week of Jesus's life is important to remember because so much of what he did and said inspires us today. That week began triumphantly. On his way to Jerusalem Jesus was greeted by a crowd who heard that he had raised Lazarus from the dead. They took palm branches to meet him and shouted, "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord."

Judas goes to the chief priests and betrays Jesus for a bribe. Peter pledges to go with Jesus to prison and death. But Jesus replies, "I tell you Peter that before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times."

Judas led the chief priests and the temple guard to Jesus who he approaches to kiss him. Jesus asks, "Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?" As they led Jesus away, a woman recognized Peter and said, "This man was with him."

Peter denied it, saying "Woman, I don't know him." An hour later, another said, "You are one of them." Again, he denied it, and did so once more. Just as he was speaking the rooster crowed. Remembering the prediction of Jesus, Peter wept bitterly.

The four Gospels of Mark, Matthew, Luke and John differ in their focus. Mark is the shortest of all, and was written first. It is about half the length of John. And 91% of Mark's Gospel is contained in Matthew and 53% of Mark is found in Luke.

The apostle John, "the disciple whom Jesus loved," is believed to be author of the last Gospel written perhaps in AD 85 or later. The writer states his purpose clearly: "These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name."

John reports that Jesus told his disciples, "A new command I give you. Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

The Jews led Jesus to the palace of the Roman governor, Pilate. Interestingly, Pilate is puzzled. "What charges are you bringing against this man?" he asked.

"If he were not a criminal, we would not have handed him over to you," they replied. Pilate replied, "Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law."

"But we have no right to execute anyone," the Jews objected. Pilate asked Jesus, "Are you king of the Jews?"

"Is that your own idea?" Jesus asked, "Or did others talk to you about me?"

"Am I a Jew?" he replied. "It was your people and your chief priests who handed you over to me. What is it that you have done?"

Jesus replied, "My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place."

"You are a king, then!" said Pilate.

Jesus answered, "You are right in saying that I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this reason I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me."

Pilate ordered Jesus to be flogged, and then tried to release him. But as soon as the chief priests saw him, they shouted, "Crucify! Crucify!"

Pilate finally relented but fastened a notice to the cross in three languages: "JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS."

Mary, his mother, stood near the cross along with John. Jesus said to his mother, "Dear woman, here is your son," and to the disciple, "Here is your mother."

From that time on, John took her into his home.

On Sunday, the disciples were in a room with a locked door. Jesus suddenly appeared among them and said "Peace be with you." He showed them his hands and his side. They were overjoyed. Jesus said, "As the Father has sent me, I am sending you."

Thomas, who was not present, said to them, "Unless I see the nail marks on his hands...and put my hand into his side, I will not believe."

A week later, Thomas was with the disciples. Jesus appeared and told Thomas, "Put your finger here. See my hands Stop doubting and believe."

Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead to inspire millions to put their trust in Him and his teachings.

_________________________

Copyright (c)2021 Michael J. McManus, President of Marriage Savers and a syndicated columnist. To read past columns, go to www.ethicsandreligion.com. Hit Search for any topic.

 

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