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Jesus' Last Week Before Death
Bible Study for April 17 - 23, 2000
This week's scripture:
This week we aren't using one or two verses. We will be reviewing Matthew 21 - 28
Note: In this study I refer to "preachers" a lot. This is not modern day pastors. These were the priests, teachers, and elders of the Jewish faith at the time. That's the only term I could come up with so you would understand that they were religious leaders in their day.
The most important week in history
Have you ever wondered what Jesus' last week before he was crucified? That's what we are going to do this week. This lesson will be a little long, so you might want to break it down and read a few sections a day. If you want to read God's version, and not MrGene's, read the scripture above.
A holiday was coming. Passover was an important holiday to Jews in Jesus' time, even more important than today. Jews from all over the world would go to Jerusalem to offer sacrifices in the Temple. They would travel so far that it wouldn't be practical to bring the sacrifices with them, so they would buy them at the Temple.
Jesus was going to travel to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover, also. But he knew that the people there would try to kill him. He had been out in the country preaching, teaching, casting out demons, healing people, and doing all kinds of miracles. He was so popular, that the people had decided he was surely the new King of Israel.
He sent his disciples to borrow a donkey, so that he could ride into Jerusalem instead of walk. He wasn't being lazy, he was doing what a verse in the old testament said he would do. Check out Zechariah 9:9. Anyway, the disciples borrowed the donkey and put their coats on his back as a saddle for Jesus. He hopped on, and to Jerusalem they went.
A large crowd was on the road to Jerusalem, they didn't think that a donkey being ridden by the King should have to walk on the ground. So they started putting their coats on the road so the donkey wouldn't get his feet dusty! That's how much they loved and adored Jesus on that Sunday. And when they didn't have enough coats to lay on the ground they started cutting the leaves from palm trees and lying them on the road. That's where we get the name "Palm Sunday." Cool. If Jerusalem had been in Alabama (we have a lot of Pine trees) it would probably be called
While all of this was going on, the crowd was yelling stuff like, "Hosanna to the son of David!" They were giving him the royal treatment. Yelling praises, trying to shake his hand, trying to get his attention. He was getting more attention than Mark McGuire got last year after hitting all of those home runs. All of the visitors that were in town for the holiday started asking who this dude was. I guess that everyone who had heard or had seen what Jesus had done were proud to tell the visitors about Jesus. They were talking about people getting healed of blindness, him turning a few fish sticks and rolls into enough food to feed 5000 men and their families, even how he made dead people come back to life! This was going to be their new king, the Savior! Don't you think the disciples were proud to be with Jesus on that day?
Well, that's all I know about Jesus' last Sunday before Easter. Jesus probably prayed a few hours, and went to sleep. He was starting the hardest week of his life, and he knew it. He knew that in a few days, he would be dead.
Jesus was going to spend the next few days in church, the Temple. At some point, Monday or Tuesday, it was early in the morning as he went back into town, headed for the Temple. He was hungry. He saw a fig tree and walked over to it to get a bite. We don't eat many figs, these days, unless they are in a fig newton. But they are good. Anyway, when he got to the tree, he saw that it didn't have any fruit on it. Just a bunch of leaves. You can't eat fig leaves. So Jesus just told that tree that it would never have fruit again, and it withered up and died! The disciples were amazed by that one. They had seen him bring dead people to life, but not kill anything. When they asked him how he did it, he told them that it was just a little faith. He said that if we believed, and asked for something in prayer, that we would receive it. If we told a mountain to jump in the sea, it would jump in the sea!
So Monday Jesus goes to the Temple. Remember that there were people selling stuff for sacrifices there? There were also people exchanging the local money for the foreign money. They were all making a huge profit in the church. Jesus saw this and was mad. He said that they were turning his house of prayer into a den of robbers. He turned over their tables and kicked them out of there! This made them mad. Not only them, but the preachers (chief priests) at the Temple, too. They were probably making a commission from the people selling stuff.
Jesus stayed in the Temple, and made the preachers even more mad. Jesus started healing people. People that were blind, he made see. People that were cripple, he made them walk. This made the preachers look bad, because they weren't doing that stuff. Then these kids started running (in the church, you KNOW preachers hate that) and shouting (ditto) "Hosanna to the Son of David!" Then the preachers went to Jesus and said, "Do you hear what those kids are yelling?" They were hoping he would say, "Kids, I'm just Jesus, Ya'll be quiet in this church!" But he didn't. He threw a scripture at them. He did that all the time. He said, "Yes, have you never read, 'From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise'?" He had 'em stumped.
He was tired, so he left to go to a town called Bethany to spend the night.
Jesus went back to the Temple. He started doing what he did best, teaching and preaching. But the preachers (chief priests) wanted to trick him. They wanted him to say something that would be evidence in court to kill him. If not that, at least enough that all of the crowds around Jesus would turn away from him. They couldn't trick Jesus! He knew the Bible too well. Whenever they would ask him a question, he knew an answer, backed up by scripture, that they couldn't argue with. Then he would tell stories that would prove that even "tax collectors and prostitutes" would have a better chance of getting into heaven than the preachers.
You see, the preachers in that day had a thing for titles. They wore fancy clothes and demanded undue respect from the worshipers. He told his disciples not to call themselves "Rabbi", "Father", or "Teacher." He said that people who put themselves on a pedestal would get knocked off, and that people that acted humble would be lifted up. Jesus said we should all act like servants to those that needed us.
The more Jesus taught, the madder the preachers got. When they couldn't trick him, they sent others to try and trick him. They couldn't do it, either, and everyone was amazed at how smart Jesus was. The preachers knew they were licked, so they quit asking him questions. They went over to a guy's house (Caiaphas) and started discussing how they would kill Jesus.
That night Jesus went back to Bethany. He stayed at Simon's house. A woman brought over a bottle of very expensive perfume, opened it, and poured it on Jesus' head. The disciples were confused. They said, "That was dumb! She could have sold that perfume and given the money to the poor." They knew that Jesus' had a thing about giving to the poor. But Jesus surprised them by saying that she had done the right thing, she was getting him ready to be buried.
I don't know exactly what Jesus did on Wednesday. I'm sure he either went back to the Temple, talked to people in Jerusalem, or went to talk to people in the country side. I'm sure he was teaching people and spending a lot of time in prayer.
I know something was happening behind his back. Remember, just a few days ago his disciples were walking with him into Jerusalem. They were with him in the Temple. They were hearing his teaching and watching him heal people. But one of them, Judas Iscariot, was deciding to make a little cash. He heard Jesus say that he was about to die. Judas wanted to secure his future, with money. He should have been thinking about securing his future with God!
Judas went to the preachers (chief priests) and asked how much they were willing to pay if he handed over Jesus. They gave him 30 silver coins.
So from that time on, one of Jesus' own disciples started looking for a way to turn Jesus in.
This was the first day of the holiday. It was supposed to be the day they had a special meal, called the "Feast of Unleavened Bread." Jesus probably spent the day teaching and praying. He sent some disciples to borrow a place in the city to have their feast.
While Jesus was eating with his 12 disciples, he told them that one of them would betray him. He even knew it was Judas. Why did he let Judas hang around? Jesus knew that one of them would have to fulfill scripture. So he let Judas do what had to be done. This meal was called the "Last Supper." It is where we get the ritual called "communion." Jesus told us to drink the wine, and remember his blood that he shed for our sins. He told us to eat the bread, and remember his body. After they ate, they sang a hymn together. Then they went to a place called the "Mount of Olives."
Jesus was talking to his disciples and told them that they would all disown him. Peter, one of the disciples, was a little hot headed. He told Jesus that even if he had to die, he would never deny Jesus. Jesus told him that before the sun came up the next morning, that Peter would deny him 3 times! Peter disagreed, and all of the disciples agreed with Peter, they would NEVER deny Jesus.
Thursday night / Friday morning
Jesus and the disciples left the Mount of Olives and went to Gethsemane. He told the disciples to sit tight while he went to pray. He took 3 disciples with him a little way, and then he started getting really sad. He told the 3 disciples to watch out for him, he went a little further away from them, fell to his face, and prayed. When he returned to the disciples, he found them asleep! He woke them up, told them to pray to resist temptation, then he left them to go and pray. He did this 3 times, and every time the disciples fell asleep! The last time he told them that his time was about up, and his betrayer was coming.
While he was speaking, Judas came up the hill. Judas wasn't alone. With Judas was a large crowd of people armed with swords and clubs. The preachers (chief priests) and elders had sent them. Judas had given them a signal, the one he kissed was to be arrested. Judas said hello to Jesus and kissed him. Jesus knew what was going on and told Judas to do what he had come for.
The men grabbed Jesus and arrested him. One of Jesus' followers had some guts. He pulled out his sword and cut off the ear of one of the soldiers. John said that Simon Peter did it, and that makes sense. Anyway, Jesus touched the soldiers ear and healed him! One of the guys arresting him! Even more surprising, they arrested Jesus anyway. Jesus told them it was dumb to hire a betrayer, and sneak up in the night, because he was in the temple every day. They could have grabbed him for free any day of the week. But he explained that it was to fulfill prophecy. Those dumb old jealous preachers didn't realize that they were helping complete what was told of in the Old Testament. They took Jesus into town, and all of the disciples and followers deserted him and ran away. Hours before they said they would follow him, even if it meant death!
Jesus was taken to Caiaphas (definitely not a southern name). He was the head preacher (High Priest). The teachers of the law and elders were there. Peter followed the crowd there, and hid among the guards to find out what would happen.
The preachers started asking Jesus a bunch of questions, but Jesus wouldn't answer them. Finally Caiaphus asked Jesus, under oath, if Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus said that he was, and that one day they would see him sitting at the right hand of God. With that, Caiaphus said that Jesus was guilty of blasphemy (sort of taking the Lord's name in vain) and asked the others what they thought. They agreed and said that Jesus should be put to death. Then they started spitting on him, hitting him with their fists, slapping him, and making fun of him. Don't you know that when they died, and went before God for judgment, that Jesus was sitting there saying, "I told you so!"
Remember, Peter was sitting outside listening. 3 times people recognized him and said that Peter was with Jesus. He sore up and down that he had never even met Jesus! The third time he did this, a rooster crowed announcing that it was Friday morning. He had denied Christ 3 times, just as Jesus said he would.
The preachers took Jesus to the governor, Pilate, to have Jesus killed. The preachers didn't have the authority to do it. At the same time, Judas realized he had messed up. He tried to give the money back, and the preachers wouldn't take it. Judas threw the money into the Temple and ran off and killed himself.
The preachers used the money to buy a burial place for foreigners. That fulfilled a prophecy in Jeremiah.
When Jesus was in front of Pilate, he was asked if he was King of the Jews. Jesus said he was. The preachers brought evidence against Jesus, and Jesus wouldn't defend himself. Pilate had no choice but to go through with the plan to kill Jesus. He didn't want to. Even Pilot's wife went to him and said that Jesus was innocent, and have nothing to do with it. She had a dream about it.
Pilate had one more chance to get out of this mess. It was a holiday, and they had a custom. The governor could release one prisoner back to the Jews. He knew that only five days before, on Sunday, Jesus had come into town being treated like a king! The crowds loved him. Jesus had been performing miracles all week. Surely if he offered to let Jesus go the crowds would be happy. He made his odds a little better by offering them only two choices. Jesus or Barabbas. Barrabas was a murderer and was hated. But the preachers convinced the crowd that Barabbas should be released and Jesus killed. When Pilate asked which of the two should be released, the crowd yelled, "Barabbas!" Pilate asked what crime had Jesus done? What should be done to him? The crowd yelled that Jesus should be crucified. Pilate was shocked, and washed his hands. He said he didn't want Jesus' blood on his hands. The crowd yelled, "Let his blood be on us and on our children." So Pilate had Jesus beaten with whips, and turned him over to be crucified.
The governor's soldiers took Jesus away. A crowd of the soldiers circled Jesus. They stripped him naked and put a scarlet robe on him, made a crown out of thorns and put that on his head, and put a staff in his right hand. Then they started spitting on him, making fun of this "king of the Jews". They took the staff and beat him in the head over and over again. Then they put his own clothes back on him and led him away to be crucified.
You might not know what "crucified" is. If the government puts someone to death today, they use either electrocution or lethal injection. Fairly recently they would have used firing squad or hanging. In Jesus' day, the used crucifying. They used wood shaped like a T or an X. They would tie a prisoner to it. It was so high the prisoner's feet couldn't touch the ground. The person would hang by their arms until their lungs collapsed or they died because they had no food or water. It could take days for someone to die. But because the holiday was coming they had to speed up Jesus' death. There are several references in the New Testament that says that Jesus was nailed to the cross, not tied to it. That means they hammered huge nails through his hands and feet to hold Jesus to the cross.
Since Jesus was beaten so bad, he was not strong enough to carry the cross (as was custom) to the place they crucified him, Golgotha. So the soldiers forced a man named Simon of Cyrene to carry the cross. The soldiers nailed Jesus to the cross. They gambled for his clothes. Pilot ordered a sign to be put on the cross above Jesus' head. It said "This is Jesus, King of the Jews." The preachers wanted to add to it "this man claims to be" but Pilate wouldn't let them. Crowds of people came by and yelled insults at Jesus. There were two robbers that were being crucified beside Jesus. They were yelling insults at him. One of them ended up asking Jesus for forgiveness.
Some miracles were about to happen. The Jewish Temple had a special sanctuary called the Holy of Holies. Normal people like us weren't allowed in there, only the preachers. In fact, only special preachers. That part of the Temple was separated by a heavy curtain, and normal people weren't allowed to even look in there.
From noon until 3 in the afternoon, it was dark! It should have been daylight, but God was sending a sign. At a little after 3, Jesus died. Immediately, there was an earthquake. Rocks split, the curtain in the Temple split open. Tombs opened up and many holy people were raised from the dead. When the soldiers saw all of this, they were scared. They now knew that Jesus was the King. Several women were watching what was going on. They believed in Jesus and had been following him for a while.
A man named Joseph had a grave that he had just had made in the side of a mountain. It was solid rock. Joseph was a follower of Jesus. He asked Pilate if he could have Jesus' body, to bury him. Pilate agreed. He took Jesus' body, wrapped it in clean cloth, and put it in the grave. Then he rolled a huge rock in front of it. What Joseph didn't realize was that he wasn't giving Jesus the tomb, he was only letting him borrow it!
Jesus was dead and in the grave. The preachers were happy! But they were afraid that the disciples would steal the body. They knew that Jesus had said he would come back to life in three days. So they went crying to Pilate again. He ordered them to take a guard and secure the grave the best way they could.
They made sure the body was there, made sure the huge stone was covering the grave, and put a seal on it. Then they left the grave guarded, so no one could mess with it.
Sunday - the first Easter
This was the third day of Jesus' death. Friday night, Saturday, and Sunday morning. At dawn two of Jesus' followers, women, went to look at the tomb. There was an earthquake. Well, it wasn't actually an earthquake , it just seemed like one. What happened was that an angel came down from heaven, rolled back the huge stone, and sat on it. The angel scared the soldiers (guarding the grave) so bad shook and passed out. They probably went #1 in their pants! The angel told the women not to be afraid. He said that Jesus had just risen from the dead like he said he would. He told them to check out the grave, then go tell the disciples to meet Jesus in Galilee. They did what he said. On the way, they ran into Jesus! They started worshipping him. That was the right thing to do. He told them to do as the angel had told them.
After the guards had come to, they ran to the preachers and told them everything that happened. They paid the guards to tell Pilate that disciples had stolen Jesus' body.
There was only one thing they couldn't stop.
Jesus was alive! Alive! They beat him, whipped him, nailed him to a cross, killed him, buried him, sat guards on his grave, but he came back! He truly is the Son of God! He didn't have to do it, but he wanted to pay for your sins. That's the only way he could pay for it, and he did. Jesus stayed on the earth for another 40 days. Then he went to heaven and sent the Holy Spirit to be with us. He is still listening to your prayers today.
This week's prayer:
Jesus, Lord, Savior,
Thank you for dying on the cross for me. I know that I have sinned, and you went through all of that to take away my sin. Forgive me. I promise to stay away from sin.
Story for week April 17 - 23, 2000
Joey, the hero
It was the day of the big baseball game. Today was a double header. Kids4God was playing the Braves. It is in the first game, the 9th inning. The stands were crowded with people. If any of the Kids4God crew weren't in the game, they were watching it. The league championship was on the line!
Fred Red was especially excited. He had never seen a baseball game.
"This is an exciting game, humans!" he said.
Peanut remarked, "Baseball is the national past time."
"What did he say about Palestine?" asked Elder Everett.
"Turn up your hearing aid!" Peanut and Fred Red yelled at the same time.
"The game is tied, there are 2 outs, and human Joey is the last batter." Fred Red said.
Elder updated them on the game situation. "Kara is on 2nd, and Allie is on 3rd base. If Joey gets a hit, Kids4God will win the game!"
"Oh, no! Human Joey just swung the wooden stick and missed, it's strike 2!"
Peanut explains, "This could be the last pitch of the game. If Joey hits, they win the game. If he strikes out, the game will go into extra innings."
They wait excitedly as the pitcher looks at Allie and Kara on their bases, and then hurls a fast ball right down the middle.
"Human Joey hit the ball! The human Allie is running to home plate!"
"Kids4God team wins!" Elder Everett yells.
The crowd goes wild. All of the ball players wait at home plate for Joey to come back. They hoist him on their shoulders. Everyone in the stands is yelling, "Hooray for Joey!"
Joey walks to the stands to say "hi" to everyone.
"Good game, Joey." elder Everett said as he patted Joey on the back.
Fred Red jumped in, "You won the game, human Joey."
"Thanks, but I had a lot of help." said Joey.
" No Joey, you are the best." said Peanut.
Joey tried to convince them, " Come on guys, it was just a hit."
Elder Everett said, "Joey, you are the king of baseball!"
"I'm just a kid. I just got one good hit in a game."
"I think you are a champion, human Joey. Let's go home now, I consumed too many hot dogs."
But Joey couldn't go. "I can't go home now, today we have a double header."
"What is a double header, human Joey?"
Elder Everett explains, "That means he gets a short rest, and they play another game."
Peanut was still hungry, "Well, let's go get a banana split, then come back to watch the second game."
"Sounds good to me." said Elder Everett.
They all left, except for Joey. He and the other members of the Kids4God team were getting ready for the second game with the Braves.
When the gang gets back to the ball park the second game is in full swing. Peanut is feeling a little bloated after a banana split with extra nuts.
The game is going well for the Kids4God team. They are beating the Braves 1 - 0 and they are in the 9th inning. It looks like the Kids4God team is going to win 2 games against the Braves today. Caleb has been pitching a great game. Sean, David, and Dale had made some great outs. Colton had a hit that helped Ashley get the games only score.
Fred Red opens a discussion in the stands. "At least human Joey's team is winning this time."
Peanut replies, "Yeah, they are ahead, one to nothing."
Elder Everett isn't so optimistic. "But the other team has two men on base."
Fred Red is confident. "There is only one out to go. Human Joey's team will win this game."
Just then, one of the Braves hit a long fly into deep right field.
Peanut tells everyone, "The ball is going to Joey."
Fred Red says, "If human Joey catches it, the game is over."
Elder Everett yells, "Joey dropped it!"
"A human runner scored."
Peanut had worse news, "Now another runner scored. The Braves beat the Kids4God, 2 - 1."
Elder Everett said. "Joey lost the game. Here he comes."
As Joey walks up, all of the Kids4God fans are booing him. Including Elder Everett and Peanut. The alien Fred Red didn't know what it meant, but he booed with them.
Joey begged, "Come on guys. Don't boo me!"
Elder Everett was mad. "You lost the game."
Fred Red said, "That was a bad catch, human Joey."
Peanut said, "You couldn't catch flies with honey."
Joey answered, "I just missed one little catch!"
"Yes, human Joey, but you lost the game. Let's go, humans."
They all left the ball park, leaving Joey standing there. He was crying.
You know, Jesus was treated the same way. On Sunday, before the first Easter, crowds were yelling "hooray!" By Friday, the same crowds were either yelling "Crucify Him!", or were hiding.
Read the Bible Study for the details.
Welcome to the game page!
Just print out the game and play it on paper, or try to do it in your head!
Try to unscramble these words.
1. r d i i c c u e _ _ u _ _ c _ _ _
2. r s p o e s a v P _ _ _ o _ _ _
3. p l t e e m T _ _ _ _ _
4. l p a m _ _ _ _
5. n a n a s h o _ _ s _ _ n _
6. i g f _ _ _
7. h t a b e y n B _ _ _ _ n _
8. p a s c a a i h _ a _ a _ _ a _
9. e e t r p _ e _ _ r
10. e i l a v _ l _ _ _
Answers for word game April 17 - 23, 2000
1. r d i i c c u e crucified
2. r s p o e s a v Passover
3. p l t e e m temple
4. l p a m palm
5. n a n a s h o hosanna
6. i g f fig
7. h t a b e y n Bethany
8. p a s c a a i h Caiaphas
9. e e t r p Peter
10. e i l a v alive
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