The Last Week Of Jesus' Life

Submitted by Peter Forbes - May 1999


A Summary Of The Week

This study will review the events of the last week of Jesus' life. The week commenced with Jesus' arrival in Bethany six days before the Passover.

This summary of the related passages for each day will provide a useful ready reference for noting the parallel passages and is used as the basis for the rest of the study.

Six Days Before The Passover
Matthew Mark Luke John
      12:1
Five Days Before The Passover
Matthew Mark Luke John
21:1-11 11:1-10 19:29-44 12:12-19
Four Days Before The Passover
Matthew Mark Luke John
21:18-19 11:11-18 19:45-48 12:20-36
Three Days Before The Passover
Matthew Mark Luke John
21:18-25:46 11:20-13:37 20:1-21:36  
Two Days Before The Passover
Matthew Mark Luke John
26:1-16 14:1-11 22:1-3 12:2-8
One Day Before The Passover
Matthew Mark Luke John
26:17-56 14:12-52 22:7-53 13:1-18:12

The summary detailed below records the days before the Passover and the events recorded in the Gospels that took place on each day. The parallel accounts of the same event in each Gospel will help to clarify the details of the events of the week. The time of the day when the event took place and the location where the event took place are also included where possible. It is not possible, with some of the events, to be certain exactly what time of day or where an event took place. However in such cases an 'educated guess' has been made.

The objective of the overview in the summary is to provide a working framework of the events of the week that will enhance our studies and make it easier for us to visualise the flow of events.

Six Days Before The Passover

Events as recorded in gospel Matthew Mark Luke John time of day Place
Jesus arrives in Bethany       12:1 afternoon Bethany

Five Days Before The Passover

Events as recorded in gospel Matthew Mark Luke John time of day Place
Triumphal entry into Jerusalem 21:1-11 11:1-10 19:29-44 12:12-19 Morning Outside Jerusalem
Jesus wept over Jerusalem     19:41      
Jesus looks round   11:11       Temple
Returns to Bethany with disciples   11:11     Evening Bethany

Four Days Before the Passover.

Events as recorded in gospel Matthew Mark Luke John time of day Place
Jesus curses the barren fig tree 21:18-19 11:11-18     Morning Mt of Olives
Cleansing of the temple 21:12-13 11:15-18 19:45-48     Temple
Some Greeks desire to see Jesus       12:20-36   Temple
Jesus responds to unbelief of the crowd       12:37-50   Temple
They return to Bethany   11:19     Evening Bethany

Three Days Before the Passover

Events as recorded in gospel Matthew Mark Luke John time of day Place
The disciples see the withered fig tree 21:18-22 11:20-26     morning Mt of Olives
Priest's question Jesus' authority 21:23-27 11:27-33 20:1-8     Temple
Which son did his father's will? 21:28-32         Temple
Parable of the vineyard 21:33-46 12:1-12 20:9-19     Temple
Parable of the wedding banquet 22:1-14         Temple
Paying taxes to Caesar 22:15-22 12:13-17 20:20-26     Temple
Sadducees question about resurrection 22:23-33 12:18-27 20:27-40     Temple
Which is the great commandment? 22:35-40         Temple
Which is the first commandment?   12:28-34       Temple
Whose son is Christ? 22:41-46 12:35-37 20:41-44     Temple
Woe unto you ... hypocrites 23:1-39 12:38-40 20:45-47     Temple
The poor widow's gift   12:41-44 21:1-4   late p.m.? Treasury
`The Olivet prophecy 24:1-36 13:1-32 21:5-36   evening Mt of Olives
Watch, days of Noah 24:37-51         Mt of Olives
Ten virgins 25:1-13         Mt of Olives
The man travelling into a far country 25:14-31 13:33-37       Mt of Olives
Sheep, goats and judgment 25:31-46         Mt of Olives

Two Days Before the Passover

Events as recorded in gospel Matthew Mark Luke John time of day Place
Sanhedrin plot to kill Jesus

26:1-5

14:1-2

22:1-2

  Morning Palace of high priest?
Mary Anoints Jesus for his burial 26:6-13 14:3-9   12:2-8 Evening Bethany
Judas' agreement to betray Jesus 26:14-16 14:10-11 22:3-6     Temple?

 

One Day Before the Passover

Events as recorded in gospel Matthew Mark Luke John time of day Place
Preparation for the Passover meal 26:17-20 14:12-17 22:7-14   Morning Jerusalem
Disciples strive 'who is the greatest'     22:24-30   Evening Upper room
Jesus washes the disciples' feet       13:1-20   Upper room
Identification of Jesus' betrayer 26:21-25 14:18-21 22:21-23 13:21-30   Upper room
Last Supper instituted 26:26-29 14:22-25 22:15-20     Upper room
Judas leaves       13:32   Upper room
A new commandment I give you       13:31-35   Upper room
Prediction of Peter's denial 26:31-35 14:27-31 22:31-38 13:36-38   Upper room
Discourses in the Upper Room       14:1-31   Upper room
Then they sung an hymn 26:30 14:26       Upper room
Then they leave the Upper Room       14:31   On the way to Cedron
Abide in me      

Chpt 15

  On the way to Cedrom
I go my way      

Chpt 16

  On the way to Cedron
Jesus lifted up his eyes to heaven      

Chpt 17

  On the way to Cedron
Jesus prays in Gethsemane 26:36-46 14:26-42 22:39-46   Night Gethsemane
Jesus betrayed, arrested, forsaken 26:47-56 14:43-52 22:47-53 18:2-12   Gethsemane

 

A Note On Days

In order to understand better the time periods and events recorded in the Gospels we must appreciate that the Jewish way of recording days differs from the Western approach.

In the West our 'day' starts at midnight. The Jewish 'day' starts in the evening. This is seen in the way in which God describes the creation saying 'and the evening and the morning were the [nth] day' [Genesis 1:5 , 8, 13, 19, 23, 31] where [nth] stands for the day of creation.

So we see in the Gospels that the 'day' commences at 6.00 p.m. which is sundown, roughly, in Israel. So when Jesus arrived in Bethany 'six days before the Passover' [John 12:1] we know that he arrived in Bethany before 6.00 p.m.. The 'next day' [John 12:12] when Jesus entered into Jerusalem on the colt is five days before the Passover as the 12 hours of the night have passed and they daylight hours of the day have just begun.

The Jewish method of reckoning days is the only method that allows for all the details in the last week of Jesus' life to be fitted together as can be seen from the table at the end of this study. So remember 'The evening and the morning' is the 'day'.

Places In the Last Week Of Jesus' Life

This map is of a very small part of the land of Israel. It provides a guide to the location of the places mentioned in the last week of Jesus' life. Jericho and Ephraim are included because Jesus made his way from a city called Ephraim via Jericho to Bethany on his way up to the Passover when he was crucified. Emmaus is the village to which the two were walking on the resurrection morning.

The Mount of Olives is North and East of Bethany. Indeed Bethany is on the lower slopes of the Mount of Olives.

A Calendar Of Events

And Parallel Passages In The Last Week Of Jesus' Life

The four gospel records provide a detailed diary of the events of the last week of Jesus' life that culminated in the crucifixion.

By piecing together the four accounts and placing them within the time frame of the week we are better able to understand what happened during those days.

The following pages provide an outline of that week, placing the four gospel records together and setting the events into the day that they happened. Thus, at a glance, it is possible to see which passages provide information about the events of the week and on which days the events took place. The notes that follow are an expansion of the tables at the beginning of the studies. The location of the events has been left off the tables in the remainder of the study to simplify them and because the full tables are available at the front of the study.

Whilst it is possible to develop a calendar using any of the synoptic [Matthew Mark Luke] Gospel records Mark provides a framework that is the easiest to follow as can be seen from the table below.

We know that Mark 11:1 is 5 days before the Passover because it is the day after Jesus arrived in Bethany that we know was 'six days before the Passover' [John 12:1].

Passage in Mark Day before Passover
11:1

5

11:12

4

11:20

3

14:1

2

14:12

1

Using the gospel of Mark as a basis it is possible, with relative certainty, to slot the other gospel records into this framework and thereby establish clearly what happened on each of the days of the week that culminated in the crucifixion of Jesus.

The tables that follow show, in the left hand column, the event that took place. The next four columns show the related passages in the gospels and the final column shows the time of the day when the event took place. Thus it is possible, at a glance, to see what events took place on each day and to see the related passages of Scripture at the same time.

Six Days Before the Passover.

Events as recorded in gospel Matthew Mark Luke John time of day
Jesus arrives in Bethany       12:1 afternoon

Six days before the Passover they arrive in Bethany in the afternoon. [John 12:1].

We should be aware of how the arrival in Bethany 'six days before the Passover' [John 12:1] fits into John's gospel account. None of the other gospel writers even mention the arrival in Bethany. Their focus is on the entry into Jerusalem on the next morning [Matthew 21:1 Mark 11:1
Luke 19:29].

The last detailed event of John's gospel was the raising of Lazarus at Bethany. [John 11:1-44]. Because of the raising of Lazarus the Pharisees 'took counsel together for to put him (Jesus) to death'. [John 11:53]. The effect of this discussion amongst the Pharisees was that 'Jesus therefore walked no more openly among the Jews; but went thence unto a country near to the wilderness, into a city called Ephraim, and there continued with his disciples.' [John 11:54]. The next event which John records is 'And the Jews' Passover was nigh at hand: ...' [John 11:55] Thus John skips the events that took place in 'a city called Ephraim' [John 11:54]

None of the gospel records speak directly about the time Jesus was in the 'city called Ephraim'. However there is a section in Luke's record from chapter 10 to 18:14 that is not found in any other record. The section culminates with [Luke 19:29] 'And it came to pass, when he was come nigh to Bethphage and Bethany ...' which matches the day after the arrival in Bethany of John 12:1.

The section Luke 10:38-42 is, therefore, speaking of a time when Jesus was in Bethany. The suggestion is that this was at the time of the raising of Lazarus. We know that Jesus left Bethany after the raising of Lazarus and went to 'a city called Ephraim' [John 11:54]. Therefore it is reasonable to conclude that this section of Luke from chapter 11 to 18:14 relates to events that took place whilst Jesus was in the city 'called Ephraim'. This section, then, deals with the interval between the raising of Lazarus and the arrival in Bethany six days before the Passover.

Whilst John then records the anointing of Jesus in Bethany, that event did not occur until two days before the Passover [Matthew 26:2,6 Mark 14:1]. John relates the details of the meal in Bethany at this point in the record because the meal in Bethany is thematically linked with the raising of Lazarus from the dead that is recorded in John 11:1-44. The meal in Bethany of which John 12 speaks was a celebratory meal to commemorate the raising of Lazarus. Further study also shows that the meal in the upper room [John 13-14:31] also has a number of powerful links with the meal at Bethany.

It will be clear that John has little to say about the events of days 5 to 2 before the Passover. His focus is on the meal and its relationship to the whole matter of the raising of Lazarus and then the meal in the upper room and subsequent events.

This should alert us to the fact that whilst Matthew Mark and Luke take a fairly systematic chronological journey through the events of the last week; John is more thematic in the things spoken of. Therefore, if for this reason alone, it is unwise to base a chronology of the last week of Jesus' life on John's gospel. Furthermore, if we find apparent discrepancies between John and the other records we should not assume that John is either speaking of a different event or that there is some error in one or more of the other records.

We should take account of this when considering any part of the gospel records. Each gospel writer has, by the spirit, specific points that are being made. Often the record is structured to highlight these features. If we focus on attempting to reconcile apparent contradictions rather than on the detail in each gospel writer's theme we may well miss the richness of the message.

We will deal in detail with the timing of this meal in Bethany when we look at the day that is two days before the Passover.

By telling us that Jesus was in Bethany [John 12:1] 'six days before the Passover' John provides a specific day from which we can commence our chronology of the week. As will be seen as we continue this study it is John alone which provides the start point for this week and therefore acts as the lynch pin in settling when Jesus died. The chart at the end of this work shows how all the details fit beautifully together to show when Jesus died, how that day fitted into the Passover preparations. Further the study demonstrates what day of the week Jesus' died and how he was in the grave 'three days and nights'.

Five Days Before the Passover.

Events as recorded in gospel Matthew Mark Luke John time of day
Triumphal entry into Jerusalem 21:1-11 11:1-10 19:29-44 12:12-19 Morning
Jesus wept over Jerusalem     19:41    
Jesus looks round   11:11      
Returns to Bethany with disciples   11:11     Evening

After the digression of John 12:2-11 John tells us that [John 12:12] 'on the next day' Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Therefore we can be certain that this day is actually five days before the Passover.

Five days before the Passover we have what may be called the triumphal entry into Jerusalem. There is not much recorded about this day. As Jesus arrives at the city he wept over the city. The triumphal entry into Jerusalem is one of the few events in Scripture that are recorded in all four gospel records.

This, of itself, should alert us to the great significance of this event in the life of Jesus. As if to reinforce the significance of the event it is the only event in the day that is recorded in any detail. From a consideration of the four gospel records we learn that Jesus, to the acclamation of his disciples [Luke 19:37] and the people [John 12:12-13] travelled up to Jerusalem. As he neared the city he wept over it [Luke 19:41] and spoke of the judgment that was to come upon the city [Luke 19:42-44] he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple and looked round [Mark 11:11] and then went back to Bethany [Matthew 21:17].

Now those events would hardly fill a whole day. Let us assume that Jesus left Bethany at about 8.00 am - which, taking account of practices in the CENTER East is probably a late estimate of the start of his day. Jerusalem is no more than two miles from Bethany. Jesus and his disciples, even allowing for a short time to secure the ass, would have taken no more than and hour and a half to walk to Jerusalem. Thus we can see Jesus arriving at the city walls to the acclamation of the people by about 10.00 am. Even being thronged by a great crowd Jesus could be on Temple Mount within 15 minutes of arriving at the city. After he had 'looked round' it was 'eventide'. How long, we might ask, does it take to 'look round' the temple. From the time that Jesus arrived at the temple to eventide, based on our assumptions, was about 5 hours if we assume evening starts at 5 p.m. The events we have just discussed are described thus in Mark 11:11 'And Jesus entered into Jerusalem, and into the temple: and when he had looked round about upon all things, and now the eventide was come, he went out unto Bethany with the twelve.' On considering the events of the day we are forced to realise that the entry into Jerusalem was the most important event by far on that day.

Weeping Over The City

As the city came into view Jesus wept over it and spoke of it's destruction [Luke 19:41-44]

Thus the joyous procession stopped as the city came into view. Jesus probably dismounted from the animal he was riding upon to survey the city rising up before him at the top of the hill from the Kedron Valley. Doubtless his demeanor puzzled the crowds who were singing praises to him as he traveled up from the floor of the valley. However their expectations did not match Jesus' own understanding of those things which were to befall him during the next week and the subsequent destruction of the temple and the city by the Romans which took place some forty years later in AD 70. As Jesus wept over the city he spoke of the judgment that was to come. On this occasion Jesus laments what is to come upon the city. His prime concern is that the city is to be destroyed. In the Olivet prophecy at the end of the third day before the Passover his great concern is that the disciples will be prepared for the event. However there are some links between this lament in Luke 19 and the Olivet Prophecy. They are tabulated below.

    <--------Olivet Prophecy --------->
Prophecy Luke 19:42-44 Matthew Mark Luke
compass thee

19:43

24:20

   
children

19:44

24:19

13:17

21:23

not one stone

19:44

24:2

13:2

 

Thus it can be seen that Jesus spoke of the destruction of the city at the beginning and at the end of the last week of his life whilst he was at Jerusalem.

Jesus Looked Round

Mark 11:16 informs us that Jesus 'looked round about upon all things' after he had entered the temple. This action was highly symbolic. Jesus was treating the temple as a house which had been declared as leprous.

Event Law of Leprosy Jesus
first look Leviticus 14:34-38 John 2:13-14
7 days later Leviticus 14:39 Mark 11:11
If still leprous remove stones Leviticus 14:42 Mark 11:16
destroy house Leviticus 14:44-45 Destruction of Jerusalem

The law of Moses was quite specific in instructing Israel how they should deal with a house which had leprosy. If it is suspected that the house is stricken with leprosy the priest is advised. of the problem and [Leviticus 14:36-38] 'Then the priest shall command that they empty the house, before the priest go into it to see the plague, that all that is in the house be not made unclean: and afterward the priest shall go in to see the house: And he shall look on the plague, and, behold, if the plague be in the walls of the house with hollow strakes, greenish or reddish, which in sight are lower than the wall; Then the priest shall go out of the house to the door of the house, and shut up the house seven days:' After seven days the priest was to return and re assess the situation. If the house was still leprous [Leviticus 14:40-41] 'Then the priest shall command that they take away the stones in which the plague is, and they shall cast them into an unclean place without the city: And he shall cause the house to be scraped within round about, and they shall pour out the dust that they scrape off without the city into an unclean place:'. If this remedy did not work [Leviticus 14:44-45] 'Then the priest shall come and look, and, behold, if the plague be spread in the house, it is a fretting leprosy in the house: it is unclean. And he shall break down the house, the stones of it, and the timber thereof, and all the mortar of the house; and he shall carry them forth out of the city into an unclean place.'

So we see that there was a threefold inspection by the priest. On the first occasion the condition is confirmed. The second visit examines the condition and the third visit condemns the house which is still plagued with the fretting leprosy'.

On the occasion of the first Passover during the ministry of Jesus he cleansed the temple. for we read [John 2:13-16] 'And the Jews' Passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem, And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers' money, and overthrew the tables; And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father's house an house of merchandise.'

On this fifth day before the Passover Jesus [Mark 11:11] 'entered into Jerusalem, and into the temple: and when he had looked round about upon all things, and now the eventide was come, he went out unto Bethany' This visit answered to the second visit of the priest. On this occasion Jesus was assessing whether his first cleaning three years earlier had achieved the desired effect. His inspection confirmed that the house was still leprous. There was nothing left to do. Jesus knew that the house had to be destroyed.

He returned the next day and [Mark 11:15] 'Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves;' On this occasion we are informed that he [Mark 11:16] 'would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple'. which answers to the injunction [Leviticus 14:36] 'Then the priest shall command that they empty the house, before the priest go into it to see the plague, that all that is in the house be not made unclean: and afterward the priest shall go in to see the house:'

The destruction of the temple by the Romans in AD 70 when not one stone was to be left upon another answers to the breaking down of the leprous house.

The phrase 'looked round' is unique to Mark's Gospel account and is found in the following places:- Mark 3:5,34 5:32 9:8 10:23 11:11.

Great Expectations

It may be that the people had great expectations of Jesus as he entered Jerusalem. Doubtless this is why they cried 'Hosanna'. Their expectation was that Jesus would overthrow the Roman occupation and establish the kingdom of God. Doubtless that he looked round the temple but did not do anything would start to sow seeds of doubt in the minds of the thousands who would later cry 'crucify him, crucify him' [Luke 23:21].

Whilst Luke [19:45] seems to indicate that Jesus cast out the money changers on this occasion when he entered the temple the other records [Mark 11:11-12] show that he left the city and went to Bethany and that the casting out of 'them that sold and bought' [Matthew 21:12] took place on the next day as recorded in those gospel records.

We will return to the way in which the people greeted Jesus and some of the implications of that later in the study when we consider the way in which Psalm 118 figures in this last week.

The return to Bethany advertises that Jesus and the disciples used Bethany as their base during the week. See [Mark 11:12, 19 14:3]. We might be led to think that Jesus spent each night on the Mount of Olives when we read 'And in the day time he was teaching in the temple; and at night he went out, and abode in the mount that is called the mount of Olives.' [Luke 21:37]. However when we realise that Bethany is on the Eastern shoulder of the Mount of Olives we can see how the details in Mark 11:19 and 14:3 are reconciled with the comment in Luke 21:37.

Summary Of The Fifth Day Before The Passover

We see, therefore, that the fifth day before the Passover begins the work of the last week of Jesus' life. The triumphal entry into Jerusalem excited the people who were expecting 'that the kingdom of God should immediately appear.' [Luke 19:1]. However Jesus wept over the city, knowing that it was soon to be burnt to the ground by the Romans. On this occasion his lament was about the destruction of the city, in particular, whereas in the Olivet Prophecy at the end of the third day before the Passover his particular concern was that the disciples would be ready for the events he was speaking of. It is possible that the people had great expectations of Jesus at this highly charged time of the Passover. However his inactivity in the temple when he simply 'looked round' [Mark 11:11] must have caused the common people to wonder what was going to happen and the religious leaders to watch and discuss that night what Jesus was going to do.

Four Days Before the Passover

Events as recorded in gospel Matthew Mark Luke John time of day
Jesus curses the barren fig tree 21:18-19 11:11-18     Morning
Cleansing of the temple 21:12-13 11:15-18 19:45-48    
Some Greeks desire to see Jesus       12:20-36  
Jesus responds to unbelief of the crowd       12:37-50  
They return to Bethany   11:19     Evening

On the way in from Bethany - by the Mount of Olives - Jesus cursed a fig tree - Why was he hungry? Didn't Mary and Martha make breakfast?

That Jesus 'hungered' may provide another insight into his humanity. He knew that within the week he would have been taken by cruel hands and crucified. He had told his disciples this on a number of occasions [e.g. Matthew 17:22-23 Mark 10:33] He was aware of what that entailed. All men and women in Israel would be aware of what was involved in crucifixion. However our Lord, with his understanding of the Old Testament prophets, would have an even clearer understanding of what was to take place.

In times of stress the appetite is diminished and bodily functions are less in our control. That Jesus, having recently left Bethany, was hungry is an indication of the stress he was enduring at this time.

The Cleansing Of The Temple

This is the second time that Jesus cleansed of the temple. John 2:13-17 records the first cleansing of the temple. This was on the occasion of the first Passover in the ministry of Jesus 3 years earlier. Selling animals for sacrifice was permitted under the Law of Moses. 'And if the way be too long for thee, so that thou art not able to carry it; or if the place be too far from thee, which the LORD thy God shall choose to set his name there, when the LORD thy God hath blessed thee: Then shalt thou turn it into money, and bind up the money in thine hand, and shalt go unto the place which the LORD thy God shall choose: And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat there before the LORD thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household,' [Deuteronomy 14:24-26]. Jesus was not objecting to the fact that men and women were buying animals for sacrifice. Rather he was objecting to the way in which it was being done.

As he cast out the money changers Jesus said 'It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; [Isaiah 56:7] but ye have made it a den of thieves. [Jeremiah 7:11]' [Matthew 21:13] It can be seen that Jesus is drawing together two passages from the Old Testament.

Isaiah 56:1 informs us that God's 'salvation was near' and therefore the man 'that keepeth the Sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil.' [Isaiah 56:2] was to be 'blessed'. The salvation that was 'near' was Jesus. The Sabbath that was being polluted was the Sabbath of the Passover. It was being polluted with the buying and selling of animals. The Jews were about to reject the salvation that their God was offering in Jesus. Because of this rejection salvation was to be offered to the gentiles. Isaiah 56:4-7 speaks of this:- 'For thus saith the LORD unto the eunuchs that keep my Sabbaths, ... Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off. Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the Sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant; Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all nations.'

The CENTER Wall Of Partition

The prophet had spoken of the house as being 'a house of prayer for all nations but Herod's temple was used exclusively for Jewish worship. The Jews, in the way that they had set out the courts in the temple precluded gentiles from approaching near to the inner sanctuary. On temple mount surrounding the temple area was a wall - the 'CENTER wall of partition' [Ephesians 2:14] - which a gentile could not pass. In fact at the gates in the wall where Jews could pass through there were signs stating that any gentile who passed beyond this pint would be responsible for his own death. Thus gentiles were shut out of the temple.

Greeks Desire To See Jesus

After the cleansing of the temple we are informed 'And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship..., saying, Sir, we would see Jesus'. [John 12:20-21] The promise of Isaiah 56 regarding the 'sons of strangers' is coming true. Such an event would have been a great comfort to our Lord at this time. Whilst the Jews were polluting the temple there are gentiles who wish to be associated with it.

By joining the quotation from Isaiah 56 with 'but ye have made it a den of thieves' quoting Jeremiah 7:11, Jesus is drawing the attention of the Jews to the consequences of polluting the temple. Jeremiah spoke immediately prior to the destruction of the temple by the Babylonians.

Jeremiah had been told to 'Stand in the gate of the LORD'S house, and proclaim there this word, and say, Hear the word of the LORD, all ye of Judah, that enter in at these gates to worship the LORD. Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place.' [ Jeremiah 7:2-3] Because the people did not listen to Jeremiah's words the temple was overthrown.

Jesus has already told the people on the previous day 'If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.' [Luke 19:42-44]. Interestingly these words are linked in Luke to the cleansing of the temple because the cleansing of the temple is the next event recorded in Luke even though it took place on the following day as can be seen from a consideration of Mark 11:12-17 which presents the cleansing of the temple on the day after the entry into Jerusalem on the ass.

In stark contrast to the Greeks who desired to see Jesus 'the scribes and chief priests ... sought how they might destroy him: for they feared him,' [Mark 11:18].

This contrast between the Scribes and chief priests on the one hand and the Greeks on the other is the reason why John tells us 'But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him:' [John 12:37] because the Jews were fulfilling the words of Isaiah who said 'Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?' [Isaiah 53:1] which is also quoted in John 12:38. The 'arm of the Lord' had been revealed to the gentiles.

In fact this unbelief had also been predicted by Isaiah in Isaiah 6:9-10 'Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue:' [John 12:42]. Two of them will, when all hope seems to be lost, come out into the open. Both Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea are amongst those spoken of here in John 12:42.

Summary Of The Fourth Day Before The Passover

Jesus spent last night in Bethany. On his way into Jerusalem with the disciples he cursed the fig tree because he was hungry. It is suggested that the hunger demonstrated that he was stressed at the prospect of the day's events.

On entering the temple he cleansed it of money changers. This is the second time that he had done this during his ministry. The first occasion was the first Passover in his ministry three years earlier.

The unbelief of the leaders is contrasted with the desire of some Greeks who desired to see Jesus. This response from gentles must have been a great comfort to our Lord.

The day ended with Jesus returning to Bethany again.

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