Holy Week Resources

Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday celebrates the triumphal entry of Christ into Jerusalem. It is when many of the Jews acknowledged Christ as the one who fulfilled prophecy about someone who would return to sit on David's throne, a Messiah. They welcomed him in, as he rode towards the temple on a donkey, thus both imitating Solomon when he was crowned king, and fulfilling prophecy. The crowds shouted Hosanna, a shout that was both a praise and an acknowledgment that the Messiah could save them.
This is an event that is celebrated in Jerusalem every year.

 

I have had the chance to march in the Palm Sunday procession in Jerusalem on three occasions. It is an amazing event. Somehow it is both celebratory and reverent at the same time. I feel like this is what the Triumphal Entry would have been like. How amazing to have accepted Christ as King and Messiah. Really, we still do. As we have covenanted with him we have already sworn our fealty and promised our loyalty. He is our King!
Here is some reading you can do about Easter/Holy/Passion week in general http://huntsmanseasonal.blogspot.com/p/preparing-for-easter…
And here is some about Palm Sunday in particular https://huntsmanseasonal.blogspot.com/2017/04/palm-sunday.html?fbclid=IwAR0d5xz2Z6xK8bjTAso05zHUv3XXqXnUAm5C8pabFdQJvmqOZH19Zwwk5T8

 

 

Holy Monday

Each day Jesus would hike from Bethany (part way down the east side of the Mount of Olives) to the peak of the mount, and then down to the Kidron Valley and back up to Jerusalem. When the day was over he would make the return trip. On Monday, after this strenuous walk, he spent the day teaching in the temple.

As he began his journey on this day he came across a fig tree that had leaves but no fruit. Seeing this as a symbol of proclaiming righteous actions without a righteous heart, a topic the Savior would address all day, he cursed the Fig Tree, teaching an important symbolic lesson (Matt. 21:18-22; Mark 11:12-14, 20).

In the Mark account, when Christ came to the temple, he cleansed it  (Mark 11:15-19). Matthew has him doing it on the day before, after the Triumphal entry (Matt. 21:12-16). Matthew also talks about Christ healing people and being further accepted as the Messiah.

Then Jesus spent time teaching in the temple. He taught primarily about the faithlessness or hypocrisy of some Jewish leaders and about what he was about to do (Matt 21:23-22:15; Luke 19:47-20:19; Mark 11:27-12:12; John 12:20-36).

Though the Savior had little time left in this world, he spent his time on this day giving last warnings and prophesying of what he was about to do. His prophetic teachings and the symbolic teaching at the fig tree continue to be profoundly applicable in our lives today.

https://huntsmanseasonal.blogspot.com/2013/03/monday.html

 

 

Holy Tuesday

On Tuesday, the Savior hiked again from Bethany over the top of the Mount of Olives, taught in the temple, and then hiked back again that evening. As he began his trip, he again came across the fig tree he had cursed, finding it withered, which completed his symbolic lesson using that tree (Mark 11:20-26). On the temple Mount the leaders Jesus encountered tried to trap and discredit him. They first tried to trap in by asking a question that pitted the power of Caesar against Jewish nationalism (Matt 22:15-22). Then they asked him questions about the resurrection (Mark 12:18-27). Jesus and the Pharisees also spoke about his divine and Davidic origins (Matt 22:41-46). This was followed by the Savior further speaking about the difference between hypocrisy and true worship (Matt 23:13-40).

(This is a view from where the temple would have been looking up at the Mount of Olives)

The last part of this last bit of discourse at the temple included the Savior’s lament over Jerusalem. As Jesus and his apostles walked back home that night, his disciples asked the Savior to comment further on the prophecy he had made about Jerusalem and the temple. Tradition holds that this happened in a cave in which they often stopped to rest in the middle of their arduous journey. Somewhere during that return trip, the Savior gave the marvelous prophecy about the Last Days that is known as the Olivet Discourse. It can be found in Matthew 24, though a better version is found in Joseph Smith Matthew. In this way the Savior ended his last day on earth that was full of teachings by telling his disciples how to prepare for the future. Other things he taught at the temple before the journey home can be read in Luke 21:37-38 and John 12:37-50.

https://huntsmanseasonal.blogspot.com/2013/03/tuesday.html

Holy Wednesday

This is the invisible day, or one of the most important days, depending upon what school of thought you subscribe to. According to traditional thinking, we have nothing recorded for what the Savior did on Wednesday, and Thursday was the Last Supper. Others have thought that the Last Supper took place on Wednesday.
Part of the confusion stems from the discrepancy between the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke), and John. The Synoptic Gospels have the Savior doing the Last Supper at Passover time, which means that Jesus is killed the day after Passover. John speaks of the Savior being killed at the exact moment the Passover Lambs were being killed, which means that he was on the cross on the day before Passover. It could be that the Synoptic gospels were right, and John chose to speak of that time because it fit so well with his theme of Jesus being the Lamb of God. On the other hand, perhaps the Synoptic writers wanted to stress the Passover nature of the Last Supper, so they fudged on the time a little bit in their writings. There is another option. Typically when you try to find solutions to any seeming contradictions, the preferable solution is the one that can resolve the most contradictions. Thus I lean slightly towards this third option, but I really don’t know.
There were groups that celebrated Passover at a different time than the rest of the Jews. It is possible that when the Savior said he desired to keep “this” Passover with them, he meant he wanted to keep a Passover that was being celebrated a day earlier by some groups rather than the one most Jews were keeping. This would have him holding Passover on Wednesday, when some groups were holding Passover. He would then be crucified on Thursday at the same time as the Passover lambs for most people were being slain, and then would be in the tomb part of Thursday, all day Friday and Saturday, and some of Sunday, making three days in the tomb. This solution seems to answer all of the problems. Thus, I personally think of Wednesday as the day of the Last Supper and the suffering in Gethsemane. Yet the world really celebrates things as if the Last Supper is on Thursday and crucifixion was on Friday.
My solution to this is that there is so much to read in regards to what happened on the day of the Last Supper, I spread it out over two days (something I would do even if I was convinced that the Last Supper was on Thursday, just to have something good to read on Wednesday). Thus I suggest reading John 13-17 on Wednesday, and the Synoptic accounts of the Passover and Gethsemane on Thursday. Having two days to think about the marvelous events and teachings of the Passover and the profound experience of Gethsemane is a wonderful way to spend more time thinking about these truly glorious events.
I also suggest that as you read through John 13-17 that you think of Jesus trying to teach us how he and the Holy Ghost are trying to reunite us with the Father. This is their mission, and this is what he spends his final hours with his disciples talking to them about. It was his last teaching moment in mortality, and he was profound in what he taught.
https://huntsmanseasonal.blogspot.com/2013/03/wednesday.html

Maundy Thursday

 

This is Maundy Thursday. Maundy is an old English version of a Latin word for “commandment,” and remembers the New Commandment Jesus gave on this day to love each other as he has loved us. This is one of the most significant days of the Holy Week (or Passion Week). It was on this day that the Savior held Passover with his Apostles. He instituted the sacrament, washed their feet, and taught them some of the most significant and beautiful teachings of his ministry, as contained in John 14-17. Included in these teachings are the idea that he and the Father and the Holy Ghost are one, and that we can join them in that relationship. He then went to Gethsemane, and there he suffered more than mortal man can bear as he took upon himself the sicknesses, pains, torments, griefs, and sins of all mankind. Besides the Gospel accounts of these days, it is also worth reading Hebrews 2:18; Isaiah 53:4-5, 10-11; Isaiah 63:7-9; and from the Book of Mormon 2 Nephi 9:7-9, 21-22;  Mosiah 3:7-11; 1 Nephi 19:9; and Alma 7:11-12. Significantly, while the Gospels contain the account of Christ’s sufferings in Gethsemane, the Book of Mormon helps us understand it on a much deeper level. I am so very grateful that that added understanding, and am so very, very grateful that Christ suffered for us so that we can be one with God again. I testify that it is true!

 

I hope all of us can take some time today to consider the significance of what happened in the Upper Room and Gethsemane so long ago.

https://huntsmanseasonal.blogspot.com/2013/03/maundy-thursday.html

Good Friday

 

Good Friday

The Friday of the Passion Week (or Holy Week, is known as Good Friday. It is the day we commemorate the trials, crucifixion and burial of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. All four Gospel writers tell this story, and it is worth reading all four accounts. Here are some suggestions from my friend Eric Eric D. Huntsman's bog:

Jesus in the Hands of the Romans (Mark 15:1–19; Matt 27:1–30; Luke 23:1–25; John 18:29–19:15)

Jesus is Crucified (Mark 15:20–28; Matt 27:31–38; Luke 23:26–34, 38; John 19:16–24)

Jesus’ Final Hours (Mark 15:29–37; Matt 27:39–50; Luke 23:35–46; John 19:25–30)

Signs and Reactions to Jesus’ Death (Mark 15:38–41; Matt 27:51–56; Luke 23:47–49; John 19:31–37)

The Burial of Jesus (Mark 15:42–47; Matt 27:57–66; Luke 23:50–56; John 19:38–42 (see http://huntsmanseasonal.blogspot.com/2017/04/good-friday.html)

As a thought for today, I would just like to quote our dear former prophet, Gordon B. Hinckley, in a memorable address:

"To which I must first reply that no member of this Church must ever forget the terrible price paid by our Redeemer, who gave His life that all men might live—the agony of Gethsemane, the bitter mockery of His trial, the vicious crown of thorns tearing at His flesh, the blood cry of the mob before Pilate, the lonely burden of His heavy walk along the way to Calvary, the terrifying pain as great nails pierced His hands and feet, the fevered torture of His body as He hung that tragic day, the Son of God crying out, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).

This was the cross, the instrument of His torture, the terrible device designed to destroy the Man of Peace, the evil recompense for His miraculous work of healing the sick, of causing the blind to see, of raising the dead. This was the cross on which He hung and died on Golgotha’s lonely summit.

We cannot forget that. We must never forget it, for here our Savior, our Redeemer, the Son of God, gave Himself, a vicarious sacrifice for each of us. But the gloom of that dark evening before the Jewish Sabbath, when His lifeless body was taken down and hurriedly laid in a borrowed tomb, drained away the hope of even His most ardent and knowing disciples. They were bereft, not understanding what He had told them earlier. Dead was the Messiah, in whom they believed. Gone was their Master, in whom they had placed all of their longing, their faith, their hope. He who had spoken of everlasting life, He who had raised Lazarus from the grave, now had died as surely as all men before Him had died. Now had come the end to His sorrowful, brief life. That life had been as Isaiah had long before foretold: He was “despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. … He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him” (Isa. 53:3, 5). Now He was gone."

The thought of my Savior suffering on the cross brings me both immense sadness and hope. This was the greatest sacrifice of all.

 

https://huntsmanseasonal.blogspot.com/2017/04/good-friday.html

Holy Saturday

 

Saturday is the day the Savior is in the tomb. It must have been a dark and terrible day for the disciples of Christ, most especially his mother. Yet it was not a dark day for all. For those in Spirit Prison, it was a day of dawning light, a glorious and long awaited day.

We can read of guards being placed at the Savior’s tomb (Matt 27:62-66). We can read of the experience the Nephites had during this time (3 Nephi 8-10). We can also read of his ministry among the spirits of the dead in 1 Peter 3:18-4:6, where we learn that during this time he went to those who had drowned in the flood. In other words, he went to the most wicked people in the history of the world and gave them yet another chance. We can learn more of the Spirit World in Section 137 of the Doctrine and Covenants, and especially of the Savior’s ministry while his body lay in the tome in Section 138. I also encourage you to read this spectacular talk on that section (https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/general-conference/2018/10/the-vision-of-the-redemption-of-the-dead?lang=eng).

While his disciples were hiding, hurting, and in a dark sorrow, the Savior’s work was not really done yet. He labored still, on the other side of the veil, always accomplishing his Father’s desire to bring his children home.

It is also a day when we could consider where the tomb was. Tradition holds that it was in the place of the Holy Sepulchre. Many protestants have come to feel it was at place now called the Garden Tomb. While archaeology argues against that tomb being the right tomb, the nearby place of the skull could be the right place for the crucifixion, and there are tombs from the right time period on the hill above.

You can read more about both of those places. See

https://gardentomb.com/

and https://www.asor.org/anetoday/2021/03/commemorating-jesus-holy-sepulchre

Holy Saturday

 

Saturday is the day the Savior is in the tomb. It must have been a dark and terrible day for the disciples of Christ, most especially his mother. Yet it was not a dark day for all. For those in Spirit Prison, it was a day of dawning light, a glorious and long awaited day.

We can read of guards being placed at the Savior’s tomb (Matt 27:62-66). We can read of the experience the Nephites had during this time (3 Nephi 8-10). We can also read of his ministry among the spirits of the dead in 1 Peter 3:18-4:6, where we learn that during this time he went to those who had drowned in the flood. In other words, he went to the most wicked people in the history of the world and gave them yet another chance. We can learn more of the Spirit World in Section 137 of the Doctrine and Covenants, and especially of the Savior’s ministry while his body lay in the tome in Section 138. I also encourage you to read this spectacular talk on that section (https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/general-conference/2018/10/the-vision-of-the-redemption-of-the-dead?lang=eng).

While his disciples were hiding, hurting, and in a dark sorrow, the Savior’s work was not really done yet. He labored still, on the other side of the veil, always accomplishing his Father’s desire to bring his children home.

It is also a day when we could consider where the tomb was. Tradition holds that it was in the place of the Holy Sepulchre. Many protestants have come to feel it was at place now called the Garden Tomb. While archaeology argues against that tomb being the right tomb, the nearby place of the skull could be the right place for the crucifixion, and there are tombs from the right time period on the hill above.

You can read more about both of those places. See

https://gardentomb.com/

and https://www.asor.org/anetoday/2021/03/commemorating-jesus-holy-sepulchre

Resurrection Sunday / Happy Easter

 

 

 

Resurrection Sunday

This is the day that healed the broken hearted, the day that overcame all of our worst enemies and obstacles. Sometime on that Sunday morning, long ago, the body that had been laid in the tomb and wrapped in linen, suddenly drew breath again. Christ’s soul reentered that body, and He lived! He took the linen napkin off his face, and the rest of the burial wrappings off and left them in the tomb. The rock was rolled away, and the risen Lord, who, being the first to rise, left the tomb and conquered death for all of us!

Several women came to do more for his burial. They found the tomb open, with angels to witness that Christ was risen. They told the women to go tell the apostles. The astonished and confused apostles knew not what to make of their report. Peter and John ran to the tomb. They witnessed that it was empty, and left marveling. Mary Magdalene stayed behind, and she became the first witness of the risen Lord. After this disciples on the road to Emmaus, and then the apostles, also saw the resurrected Savior. With that, so many things Christ had tried to tell them began to finally make sense. Now even his closest disciples began to understand what it truly meant to be the Messiah.

Reading for today includes Matthew 27:62-28:20; Luke 24; Mark 16; John 20 and 21.

 

 

I testify of the reality of this event. I glory in the fact that those whom I love that have passed beyond the veil will one day rise again, and that having also risen, we will be reunited. In these days of terrible pandemic, with so many having died from a new disease, it is wonderful indeed to remember that death is not the end, that Christ has made it possible for us to live again. Because of the hopelessness that he vicariously experienced for us, we can experience the reassurance and joy that his disciples did on that glorious Sunday so long ago. May we celebrate his resurrection on this day and every other, for it is real!