The Final Days of Jesus Christ

​TYNDALE THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY AND BIBLICAL INSTITUTE

THE FINAL DAYS OF JESUS CHRIST

A HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT

SUBMITTED TO COURSEWORK@TYNDALE.EDU

SURVEY OF NEW TESTAMENT BIBL3302
BY

JOE HOOTEN
SOUTH BEND, IN 
MAY 20, 2012
THE FINAL DAYS OF JESUS CHRIST

My goal is to briefly recount and address the final week of Christ’s life on Earth. In order to do so I will be referring frequently to the chart below. 

The final days of Jesus Christ on Earth were the culmination of everything he came to the planet to accomplish. Knowing what was to come it is my impression that everything he did during this week had certain significance above and beyond the rest of his actions and teachings. While everything he did that was recorded for us in Scripture certainly had significance and his words and actions should be heeded, this week in particular, is supremely important. I believe the gospel writers must have felt something similar. Approximately 25% of the gospels are dedicated to this final week of Christ’s life. This leads me to the conclusion that Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John must have seen significance in this time period beyond the ordinary. 

Some traditions hold the triumphal entry of Christ into Jerusalem as being on Sunday and the day of the crucifixion on Thursday. The reasons for this are many and varied. Most of the conjecture comes down to tradition that was passed down in the early church and written into the dogma of Catholicism. However, after reading and rereading the gospel accounts, I agree with Daniel Goepfrich and others that the entry into Jerusalem had to have been on Monday. The reason for this is actually a reversal of the traditional line of thought. If Christ was crucified on “the day of preparation” for the high Sabbath, then that would have been Friday before 6pm. The reason for this is that the Sabbath begins on Friday at 6pm and ends on Saturday at 6pm. Therefore, Christ had to have been buried by 6pm on Friday evening or the Jews would have been violating the Sabbath in order to bury Christ. If the crucifixion was on Friday and not Thursday, working back through the gospel accounts the entry into Jerusalem had to be on Monday. Otherwise, with the entry on Sunday, there is a day missing in the gospel accounts of Christ’s final week, namely Wednesday. If the gospel writers dedicated so much time into giving an account of Jesus’s final days, why would they all leave out an entire day? I do not believe that they would! Instead, I believe that some of our traditions may be wrong. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time. 

Our record of Christ’s final days begins on Sunday, March 29th, A.D. 33. This is the day that Christ our Lord healed a couple blind men in Jericho. He had a meal with a man named Zacchaeus. He told the parable of the ten minas. In the parable, the nobleman gave ten of his slaves ten minas each (Luke 19:13). The first made sound investments and his ten minas earned him ten more, he was rewarded and made ruler over ten cities. The second also made good investments and his ten minas earned him five more, he was rewarded and made ruler over five cities. Another slave did nothing with his mina. He hid it and kept it safe. This one had his mina taken from him and given to the first slave. What I have always wondered when reading this parable is what happened to the other seven slaves and the minas given to them? Scripture does not tell us.

On the same day, later that evening, Jesus had dinner in Bethany. It was at this time that Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, anointed his feet with expensive aromatic oil, Judas states that it was worth three hundred silver coins (John 12:5). John tells us in chapter 12 verse 1 that this was six days before the Passover. Another reason why I am saying the triumphal entry happened on Monday, this anointing marked Jesus before his entry into Jerusalem and his crucifixion. 

The next day, John tells us (12:12), March 30th, A.D. 33, all four gospels record Jesus’ Triumphal entry into Jerusalem and just like it was written in Zechariah 9:9, the Lord rode into the city on the back of a donkey (John 12:15). Luke 19:47, 21:37; Mark 11:11; Matthew 21:14-16 each give us a small glimpse into what Jesus was doing each day he spent in Jerusalem and then where he spent the night in Bethany at the Mount of Olives. He spent his time teaching and healing in the temple courts telling parables and preparing his disciples for what was to come.

Tuesday, the 31st, on his way into the city, early in the morning, Jesus went to the fig tree looking for fruit. When he found none, he cursed the tree causing it to wither and die. I have often wondered why Jesus was looking for figs there, when we are told in Mark 11:13 that it was not the season for figs. Jesus cleansed the temple for the second time. And again, he spent his time teaching and healing in the Temple courts. And again, he spent the night in Bethany.

Wednesday, April 1st, A.D. 33, is the day Jesus did a large amount the teaching recorded for us during this week. He answered the question of his authority, he told several parables, he answered the Pharisees’ questions on taxes and the greatest commandment, the Sadducees’ questions on marriage and resurrection. He himself asked and answered the question of Messiah’s identity. He also issued his woes and warnings, pointed out the widow’s offering, and gave the Olivet discourse. It was also on this day that Judas the betrayer met with the chief priests for the first time. And again, Jesus spent the night in Bethany.

Thursday, the 2nd, is the day that the Last Supper was held. Recorded for us in the gospels that day is the preparation for the meal. The meal itself along with Jesus’ washing of his disciples feet is also recorded. The New Covenant was announced at this time. Then, after the meal, Jesus gives the Upper Room and Garden discourse. And, Jesus prayer is the Garden is recorded in all four gospels. Late Thursday evening Jesus is betrayed and arrested.
Overnight, Jesus stands trial before the Sanhedrin. Judas meets with the chief priests again and later commits suicide. Early Friday morning, Jesus’ accusers drag Pilate out of bed and Jesus appears before him. A short time later, Jesus appears before Herod and is beat and mocked for the first time. Then, he is taken before Pilate once again. Pilate offers the people their choice, Jesus or Barabbas, Barabbas is released and Pilate washes his hands of Jesus. It is at this time that the scourging began. Mel Gibson’s movie, The Passion, was likely tame compared to the true scourging that Jesus took as punishment for our sins. I shudder to think of what my Savior went through on his way to the cross to pay for my sins.

It was then Friday, April 3rd, A.D. 33, between 9 am and 3 pm that our Lord was crucified. It was one of the most brutal forms of execution that mankind has ever come up with. As he hung on the cross, the gospels record for us the final words of Jesus Christ. “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.”(Luke 23:34) Said as a plea to God on the behalf of those crucifying him. “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”(Luke 23:43) Said to the believing criminal on the cross next to him. “Woman, look, here is your son!”(John 19:26) Said to his mother, Mary. “Look, here is your mother!”(John 19:27) Said to John, the disciple whom Jesus loved. “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me.”(Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34) His desperate cry to God as the sun went dark. “I am thirsty.”(John 19:28) “It is finished.”(John 19:30) “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”(Luke 23:46) Said as Jesus voluntarily laid down his life for the sake of all humanity.

Then, sometime between the hours of 3pm and 6pm, Jesus’ body is prepared for burial and he is laid in the tomb, just in time for the Sabbath to begin at 6pm Friday evening. Saturday, the tomb is sealed and guarded by the Romans at the request of the Sanhedrin.

Sunday, April 5th, A.D. 33, sometime before the break of day, Jesus was resurrected! Praise the Lord! He is risen! 

PASSION WEEK

Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Late Th/Early Fri
Friday, 6:00am-6:00pm

Saturday
Sunday
BIBLIOGRAPHY
Benware, Paul N. Survey of the New Testament. Chicago: Moody Publishers, 1990. 

Cone, Christopher The Promises of God. Ft. Worth, TX: Exegetica Publishing & Biblical

Resources, 2005.

Goepfrich, Daniel Passion Week. Unpublished class notes, 2012.

The Pauline Prison Letters

TYNDALE THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY AND BIBLICAL INSTITUTE

THE PAULINE PRISON LETTERS:

A SYNTHETIC VIEW OF EPHESIANS, COLOSSIANS, PHILEMON, AND PHILIPPIANS

A HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT

SUBMITTED TO COURSEWORK@TYNDALE.EDU

SURVEY OF NEW TESTAMENT BIBL3302

BY

JOE HOOTEN

SOUTH BEND, IN

MAY 20, 2012

THE PAULINE PRISON LETTERS:

A SYNTHETIC VIEW OF EPHESIANS, COLOSSIANS, PHILEMON, AND PHILIPPIANS

   

    During the Apostle Paul’s time in prison, he wrote four letters. We know these letters today as the Pauline Prison Epistles. They are the letter to the Ephesians, the letter to the Colossians, the letter to Philemon, and the letter to the Philippians. These letters were written sometime around A.D. 61 – 62. While Paul did experience imprisonment during his time in Caesarea (Acts 23:33-26:32) many scholars including Paul Benware conclude that these letters were written during Paul’s imprisonment in Rome. Paul was imprisoned in Rome (Acts 28:30-31) and it seems likely that with references to “the praetorian guard” and “Caesar’s household” (Phil. 1:13; 4:22), it is during that imprisonment that Paul wrote these four letters.

Ephesians, Colossians, and Philemon were written at the same time and were sent together by Paul through Onesimus (the runaway slave of Philemon) and Tychicus. Scholars date these letters to A.D. 61. Philippians was probably the latest of the four letters written maybe a year or so after the first batch. The reason for this is that many events had to take place between the writing of the first three letters and Philippians. There are several journeys implied in the letter of Philippians. First, news reached Philippi that Paul was imprisoned in Rome. Then, a collection was taken and sent to Paul via Epaphroditus. Later, news of Epaphroditus’ illness made it back to Philippi and the church in Philippi sent word of their concern for Epaphroditus. Word didn’t spread very fast in those days (no cellphones or internet) and it took considerable time to travel between Rome and Philippi (no cars or airplanes). Given these facts, a date of A.D. 62 is reasonable for the writing of Paul’s letter to the Philippians.

    If there were to be one theme assigned to all four of Paul’s prison epistles, I would have to say the overarching theme is Jesus Christ. In Ephesians, the theme is the church, the Body of Christ. In Colossians, the theme is the sufficiency and deity of Christ. In Philemon, since this is a personal letter, it really has no theme, but brotherhood in Christ could also be a fitting theme. The theme of Philippians is joy in the Person of Christ.

The letter that we call Ephesians was probably not written directly to the church at Ephesus but rather was likely a circular letter that started in Ephesus and was passed around to all the churches in the area. Paul Benware says,

“For example, there are no personal references in the letter, no details of his ministry among them, no mention of greeting to particular individuals, and no warnings about any unique dangers or problems that they faced. It is inconceivable that Paul, who had spent three years with them, would be so absolutely impersonal. Only a circular letter could account for such a phenomenon.”

It is also likely that this was a circular letter because many early manuscripts do not include the words “at Ephesus” in chapter 1 verse 1.

    To summarize the book of Ephesians is fairly simple. The first half of the letter (1:1 – 3:21) is spent talking about the calling of the church. The second half of the letter (4:1 – 6:20) is spent talking about the practical conduct of the church. The first part of chapter one is spent in praise of God’s redemptive work. God the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are all assigned a specific role in producing our salvation. God the Father chose us out of all humanity for himself (1:3-6). Jesus paid for our salvation on the basis of his Blood, cleansing us from sin, and setting us free (1:7-12). The Holy Spirit seals us and acts as God’s down payment of our inheritance of eternal life (1:13-14). The rest of chapter one is Paul’s prayer for an understanding of God’s grace. Chapter two explains that salvation is because of God’s grace and Jews and Gentiles are reconciled because of that same grace. Chapter three reveals the mystery of the church as the Body of Christ, and then Paul prays again for power and understanding for believers.

    The second half of Paul’s letter is spent addressing how believers in the church should behave. First, the church is to act in unity, each acting according to the spiritual gifts that they have been given for the good of the Body. Second, believers are to live righteously, avoiding all sin. Third, Paul tells us that we are to be living under the control of the Holy Spirit. Next, Paul addresses believer’s roles in marriage and in the household. Finally, before his concluding comments, Paul reminds his readers that they are in a spiritual war with the enemy and lays out a battle plan for us to follow.

    The letter from Paul to the Colossians was written to correct the church in Colossae doctrinally, because they were being affected by wrong teaching and false doctrine. As is typical of one of Paul’s letters, he spends the first part of his letter addressing doctrine and the second half of his letter talking about putting the Christian life into practice. After offering thanksgiving and prayer for the church, Paul immediately begins to lay down the doctrine of Christ, his divinity and his saving work (1:15-23). In the third portion of Paul’s letter, he talks about his own ministry to the church at large and his concern for the local church at Colossae. Next, Paul begins his discussion of false philosophy. He warns against the false doctrines floating around in the church. Then, Paul lays out the sufficiency of Jesus Christ. Paul warns his readers of spiritual dangers and exhorts the church. Finally, before his concluding remarks, Paul spends some time talking about practical Christian living. He points out sinful attitudes and actions that should be avoided and virtues that should be practiced through the power of the Holy Spirit. He also exhorts his readers to godly lives within the home and encourages them in the prayer lives. Finally, he concludes with his usual style and grace.

    Philemon is a personal letter Paul wrote to his friend, mostly on behalf of their mutual acquaintance, Onesimus. Onesimus was a slave in Philemon’s household. He apparently stole from his master and ran away. Paul wrote this letter to persuade Philemon to forgive Onesimus and accept him back as a new brother in Christ. This letter is unique in that unlike everything else written by the Apostle Paul, it has no doctrinal instruction in it whatsoever. The outline of the letter is quite simple. First, the greeting. Then, an offer of thanksgiving and prayer. His request to Philemon and then Paul signs off.

    The last of the prison epistles is Paul’s letter to the Philippians. He wrote this letter as a thank you note for the financial gifts that the Philippians had sent him. Throughout the letter he uses the word “rejoice” or one of similar meaning 16 times. Paul’s letter breaks down nicely into six sections. He starts off his letter with greetings and thanksgiving and prayer for the Philippian believers. He then talks about his personal circumstances in Rome. He tells them about the impact his ministry is having, expresses his joy at the spread of the gospel, and he shared his continued commitment with them. In the next section, Paul shares his practical exhortations to the Philippians. He petitions them for unity and for humility. He calls them to godly living. In this section, he takes a short aside to address his fellow workers Timothy and Epaphroditus and their mission to Philippi. Paul then takes chapter three to discuss his past and present need, particularly his need for Christ. In the next section, Paul shares his secrets for joyful and contented living. In the last section, Paul, once more, offers thanks for the meeting of his needs. One of the most quoted and misapplied verse of Scripture is here in this passage. Many people quote Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” However, they pull it out of context to apply to anything they wish to do in life. The context of the verse begins in verse 11.

“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content in any circumstance. I have experienced times of need and times of abundance. In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of contentment, whether I go satisfied or hungry, have plenty or nothing. I am able to do all things through the one who strengthens me.”

(Php 4:11-13 NET)

Paul is saying that he has learned the secret to contentment!

    The Pauline prison epistles have been called the “Christological epistles” by many commentators. Christ is the focal point of these letters. And we have Christ to thank for the inspiration to Paul for these rich and wonderful letters. Thanks be to God!

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Benware, Paul N. Survey of the New Testament. Chicago: Moody Publishers, 1990.

Cone, Christopher The Promises of God. Ft. Worth, TX: Exegetica Publishing & Biblical

Resources, 2005.