The events of Easter took place over a week, traditionally called Passion Week.
It began on Palm Sunday. After all his teaching and healing, Jesus had built a following.
On the Sunday before he was to die,
and his followers arrived at Jerusalem. The city was crowded. Jewish people were arriving from to celebrate Passover.
This commemorates how they had escaped from slavery in Egypt nearly 1,500 year earlier.
Jesus rode into the city on a young donkey. He was greeted like a conquering hero. Cheering crowds waved palm branches in tribute. He was hailed as the Messiah who had come to re-establish a Jewish kingdom.
The next day they returned to Jerusalem. Jesus went to the temple, the epicentre of the Jewish faith, and confronted moneychangers
and merchants who were ripping off the people. He overturned their tables and accused them of being thieves. The religious authorities were alarmed and feared how he was stirring up the crowds.
On the Tuesday, they challenged Jesus, questioning his authority. He answered by challenging and condemning their Hypocrisy.
Later that day Jesus spoke to his disciples about future times. He warned them about fake religious leaders;
the coming destruction of Jerusalem; wars, earthquakes and famines; and how his followers would face persecution.
By midweek the Jewish religious leaders and elders were so angry with Jesus that they began plotting
to arrest and kill him. One of Jesus’ disciples, Judas, went to the chief priests and agreed to betray him to them.
Jesus and the 12 disciples gathered on the Thursday evening to celebrate the Passover meal. This is known as the Last Supper. During the evening, Jesus initiated a ritual still marked by Christians – Holy Communion – which
commemorates his death. Jesus broke bread and shared it and a cup of wine with his disciples.
Judas then left to meet the other plotters. Jesus continued to teach the others and then went outside into an olive grove to pray. He even prayed
for all future believers. He agonised over what was to come but chose the way of obedience.
Bible book, Luke, records him praying, ‘Father if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will but yours be done’.
Minutes later Judas arrived with soldiers and the chief priests and Jesus was arrested.