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!
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