Holy Week 2011 – Participants’ Guide

As followers of Jesus we are called to live the resurrection, to have eyes and ears focused on the Risen Christ. Jesus’ resurrection is the central marker of the Christian faith. As you prepare for Easter, use this guide to help you navigate through the last week of the life of Jesus.

SUNDAY April 17 – Palm Sunday:

Today is the day of Jesus’ Triumphal Entry, where he comes into Jerusalem riding a donkey while people cheer and lay palm branches and cloaks down on the road.

Passages: Mt. 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:28-44; John 12:12-19

Suggestion: Sometime this week, watch Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ (rated R) with your house church, your friends/family or by yourself.

MONDAY April 18:

Jesus enters the Temple and has a Temple Tantrum, turning over all of the tables of the moneychangers. He also performs the only miracle of destruction, when he tells the fig tree that it would no longer produce figs.

Passages: Mt. 21:12-17; Mk 11-12-19; Lk 19:45-48

Suggestion: Spend time alone reading the passages out loud. What might Jesus have been thinking as he knew what would happen to him in the week ahead?

TUESDAY April 19:

On this day, the disciples notice that the tree that Jesus spoke to yesterday had withered. Jesus returns to the temple and teaches. His authority is questioned by the religious leaders. He is also anointed in Bethany.

Passages: Mt 21:18-23:39; Mk 11:20-12:44; Lk 20:1-21:38; Mt 26:1-13; Mk 14:1-9; Jn 12:1-11

Suggestion: Reflect upon the teachings of Jesus. Which of the four readings sticks out to you the most? Why?

WEDNESDAY April 20:

Nothing is recorded in Scripture as to what Jesus did on this day, but he certainly would have been thinking how all of human history would be changed in just a few short days.

Suggestion: Consider going on a prayer walk. As you walk and pray, ask God to prepare your heart and allow you to truly grasp the depth and the significance of Easter this weekend.

THURSDAY April 21:

Today, Jesus and his disciples prepare for the Passover feast and eat the Last Supper together. Here Jesus washes their feet and tells them one will betray him. He and his disciples travel to the Garden of Gethsemane on the side of the Mount of Olives. It is here that Jesus prays and is arrested.

Passages: Mt 26:17-68; Mk 14:12-52; Lk 22:7-53; John 13:1-18:11

Suggestion: From the perspective of one of the disciples, journal about what you might have felt when Jesus washed your feet and when he was arrested in the Garden.

FRIDAY April 22 – Good Friday:

Jesus is put on trial, flogged, forced to carry his cross, mocked by Roman soldiers and executed in the cruel Roman form of crucifixion on a hill called Golgotha (“the place of the skull”).

Passages: Mt. 27:11-61; Mk 15:1-47Lk 23:26-56; Jn 19:17-42.

Suggestion: Find an image of a cross. Spend several minutes looking at and reflecting upon the cross. Consider the significance and centrality of this symbol and what it means 2,000 years later. End by reciting the Lord’s Prayer.

SATURDAY April 23 – Holy Saturday:

Jesus’ body remains in the tomb during the Jewish day of Shabbat (Sabbath).

Passages: Mt 27:32-66

Suggestion: As Jesus “rested” on this day, be reminded of the rest that Jesus calls us to. Spend some time resting today by taking a nap or relaxing. Consider reflecting on the Apostles’ Creed.

SUNDAY April 24– Easter Sunday

Very early in the morning, the disciples go to Jesus’ tomb to find it empty. The course of human history is changed forever. He is Risen! He is risen indeed!

Passages: Mt 28:1-15; Mk 16:1-11; Lk 24:1-49; Jn 20:1-18

Suggestion: Get up early and read the passages listed above. Rejoice in Jesus and his resurrection from and power over death! Greet people throughout the day saying, “He is Risen!” Share this day with friends and/or family members.