On 29 March 2015, the Christian world will celebrate Palm Sunday, which commemorates Jesus’s entrance into Jerusalem for what turned out to be the final few days of his life. This final week, especially his suffering in Gethsemane, betrayal, and crucifixion, are also widely known as “The Passion,” and commemorations of these and other events of this seven-day period (ending with his resurrection on Easter Sunday) take place during Holy Week. The things that occurred during this final week have special significance for Christians, and they are among the few events in Jesus’s life that are mentioned in each of the four Gospels.
In this episode, Eric Huntsman and Julie Smith join Mormon Matters host Dan Wotherspoon for a close look at the events of this week, as well interesting textual issues (both things included and how, as well as differences). They also speak freely of devotional angles one might contemplate as part of a Holy Week commemoration, as well as at other times. What can we learn about Jesus’s entry into Jerusalem? His overturning of money-changer tables and causing of a ruckus in the temple? His anointing with expensive oil by a woman with an alabaster jar? The Last Supper? His ordeal in Gethsemane? His betrayal? Finally, what can we learn from the rending of the temple veil at following his crucifixion?
This episode dovetails nicely with “An Easter Primer” (Episodes 159-163) released in March 2013. In that series of episodes, Jared Anderson, Zina Petersen, and Kristine Haglund introduce us in great detail to the textual record (and wider background) of his crucifixion, burial, and resurrection, as well as a history of liturgies and the special music and celebrations of Holy Week throughout history and today, including things like Passion plays and devotional experiencing of the Stations of the Cross.
Together, these episodes serve well as rich introductions in preparation for Holy Week commemorations. May yours be wonderful!
After listening, please share your ideas and questions in the comments section below!
Julie M. Smith, Search, Ponder, and Pray: A Guide to the Gospels (Greg Kofford Books, 2014). Also Kindle edition
Eric D. Huntsman, For God So Loved the World: The Final Days of the Savior’s Life (Deseret Book, 2011)
Julie M. Smith, “Narrative Atonement Theology in the Gospel of Mark,” BYU Studies 54, no. 1 (If not a subscriber to the journal, cost of $.99 to download PDF)
Raymond Brown, The Death of the Messiah: From Gethsemane to the Grave (2 vol. Boxed Set)
Craig A. Evans and N.T. Wright, Jesus, the Final Days: What Really Happened
Marcus J. Borg and John Dominic Crossan, The Last Week: What the Gospels Really Teach about Jesus’s Final Days in Jerusalem
Shimon Gibson, The Final Days of Jesus: The Archaeological Evidence
Having been raised LDS, I have always been troubled that the Garden event has been cast almost singularly as the point that Jesus suffered for “each one of everybody’s sins.” This seems to be supported by teachings from LDS leaders who promote a undefinable concept something to the effect that “I do not know how or I cannot explain how this could be, but it happened.” I struggle with believing that every sin was either instantaneously seen or comprehended or it would have to been hours to view or account for each sin individually. For me, I appreciate the possibility that the atonement can be constructed as a series of events that culminate into a collaborative whole purpose. To be born into this world, live sinless, endure accusation, stress, anguish, pain, and have to experience a death and all the while still have hope could account for how Jesus can succor us and take upon himself our iniquities and infirmities. I sense that Jesus gave up something or privilege from the pre-mortal world and joined with us and “descended below them all” that allows him to become the mediator for us. This Passion Week was indeed part of a greater whole.
What a great discussion with beautiful insights. Thank you so much.
Loved this! Thanks Dan and participants for putting this together!
I loved this. Is there a link for Julie’s article?
Just posted the link to Julie’s new BYU Studies piece on Narrative Theology. See above.