SCRIPTURES FOR HOLY WEEK
Mark 11: 1-11
As they approached Jerusalem & came to Bethphage & Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of His disciples, saying to them, "Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it & bring it here. If anyone asks you, �Why are you doing this?� tell him, �The Lord needs it & will send it back here shortly.�"
They went & found a colt outside in the street, tied in a doorway. As they untied it, some people standing there asked, "What are you doing, untying that colt?" They answered as Jesus had told them to, & the people let them go. When they brought the colt to Jesus & threw their cloaks over it, He sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted, "Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!"
Jesus entered Jerusalem & went to the temple. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.
The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, He went to find out if it had any fruit. When He reached it, He found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. Then He said to the tree, "May no one ever eat fruit from you again." And His disciples heard Him say it.
On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple area & began driving out those who were buying & selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changes & the benches of those selling doves, & would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. And as He taught them, He said, "Is it not written: �My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations�? But you have made it �a den of robbers.�"
The chief priests & the teachers of the law heard this & began looking for a way to kill Him, for they feared Him, because the whole crowd was amazed at His teaching. When evening came, they went out of the city.
In the morning, as they went along, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots. Peter remembered & said to Jesus, "Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered.!
"Have faith in God," Jesus answered. "I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, �Go, throw yourself into the sea,� & does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, & it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins."
They arrived in Jerusalem, & while Jesus was walking in the temple courts, the chief priests, the teachers of the law & the elders came to him. "By what authority are you doing these things?" they asked. "And who gave you authority to do this?"
Jesus replied, "I will ask you one question. Answer me, & I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. John�s baptism�was it from heaven, or from men? Tell me!"
They discussed it among themselves & said, "If we say, �From heaven,� he will ask, �Then why didn�t you believe him? But if we say, �From men��." They feared the people, for everyone held that John really was a prophet). So they answered Jesus, "We don�t know." Jesus said, "Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things."
He then began to speak to them in parables: "A man planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a pit for the winepress & built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers & went away on a journey. At harvest time he sent a servant to the tenants to collect from them some of the fruit of the vineyard. But they seized him, beat him & sent him away empty-handed. Then he sent another servant to them; they struck this man on the head & treated him shamefully. He sent still another, and that one they killed. He sent many others; some of them they beat, others they killed.
He had one left to send, a son, whom he loved. He sent him last of all, saying �They will respect my son.� But the tenants said to one another, �This is the heir. Come, let�s kill him, & the inheritance will be ours.� So they took him & killed him, & threw him out of the vineyard. What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come & kill those tenants & give the vineyard to others. Haven�t you read this scripture: "�The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone; the Lord has done this, & it is marvelous in our eyes�?"
Then they looked for a way to arrest Him because they knew He had spoken the parable against them. But they were afraid of the crowd; so they left Him & went away.
Later they sent some of the Pharisees & Herodians to Jesus to catch Him in His words. They came to Him & said, "Teacher, we know you are a man of integrity. You aren�t swayed by men, because you pay no attention to who they are; but you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not? Should we pay or shouldn�t we?"
But Jesus knew their hypocrisy. "Why are you trying to trap Me?" He asked. "Bring me a denarius & let me look at it." They brought the coin, & He asked them, "Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?" "Caesar�s," they replied. Then Jesus said to them, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar�s & to God what is God�s." And they were amazed at Him.
Then the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him with a question. "Teacher," they said, "Moses wrote for us that if a man�s brother dies & leaves a wife but no children, the man must marry the widow & have children for his brother. Now there were seven brothers. The first one married & died without leaving any children. The second one married the widow, but he also died, leaving no child. It was the same with the third. In fact, none of the seven left any children. Last of all, the woman died too. At the resurrection whose wife will she be, since the seven were married to her?"
Jesus replied, "Are you not in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God? When the dead rise, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. Now about the dead rising--have you not read in the book of Moses, in the account of the bush, how God said to him, �I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, & the God of Jacob�? He is not the God of the dead, but of the living. You are badly mistaken!"
One of the teachers of the law came & heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked Him, "Of all the commandments, which is the most important?" "The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: �Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart & with all your soul & with all your mind & with all your strength.� The second is this: �Love your neighbor as yourself.� There is no commandment greater than these."
"Well said, teacher," the man replied. You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but Him. To love Him with all your heart, with all your understanding & with all your strength, & to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than burnt offerings & sacrifices."
When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, He said to him, "You are not far from the kingdom of God." And from then on no one dared to ask Him any more questions.
While Jesus was teaching in the temple courts, He asked, "How is it that the teachers of the law say that the Christ is the son of David? David himself, speaking by the Holy Spirit, declared: "�The Lord said to my Lord, "Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet."� David himself calls Him �Lord.� How then can He be his son?" The large crowd listened to Him with delight.
As He taught, Jesus said, "Watch out for the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes & be greeted in the marketplaces, & have the most important seats in the synagogues & the places of honor at banquets. They devour widow�s houses & for a show make lengthy prayers. Such men will be punished most severely."
Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put & watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came & put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny.
Calling His disciples to Him, Jesus said, "It tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasuring than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything�all she had to live on."
As he was leaving the temple, one of His disciples said to Him, "Look, Teacher! What massive stones! What magnificent buildings!" "Do you see all these great buildings?" replied Jesus. "Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down."
As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John & Andrew asked Him privately, "Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are all about to be fulfilled?"
Jesus said to them, "Watch out that no one deceived you. Many will come in My name, claiming, �I am He,� and will deceive many. When you hear of wars & rumors of war, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, & kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, & famines. These are the beginning of birth pains. You must be on your guard. You will be handed over to the local councils & flogged in the synagogues. On account of Me you will stand before governors & kings as witnesses to them. And the gospel must first be preached to all nations. Whenever you are arrested & brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit."
"Brother will betray brother to death, & a father his child. Children will rebel against their parents & have them put to death. All men will hate you because of Me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved."
"When you see �the abomination that causes desolation� standing where it does not belong�let the reader understand�then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let no one on the roof of his house go down or enter the house to take anything out. Let no one in the field go back to get his cloak. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women & nursing mothers! Pray that this will not take place in winter, because those will be days of distress unequaled from the beginning, when God created the world, until now--& never to be equaled again. If the Lord had not cut short those days, no one would survive. But for the sake of the elect, whom He has chosen, He has shortened them. At that time if anyone says to you, �Look, here is the Christ! or, �Look, there He is!� do not believe it. For false Christs & false prophets will appear & perform signs & miracles to deceive the elect�if that were possible. So be on your guard, I have told you everything ahead of time."
"But in those days, following that distress, �the sun will be darkened, & the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, & the heavenly bodies will be shaken.� At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power & glory. And He will send His angels & gather His elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens."
"Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender & its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that it is near, right at the door. I tell you the truth; this generation will certainly not pass away all these things have happened. Heaven & earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away."
"No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. It�s like a man going away: He leaves his house & puts his servants in charge, each with his assigned task, & tells the one at the door to keep watch. Therefore, keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back�whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: Watch!"
Now the Passover & the Feast of the Unleavened Bread were only two days away, & the chief priests & the teachers of the law were looking for some sly way to arrest Jesus & kill Him. "But not during the Feast," they said, "or the people may riot."
While He was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home
of a man know as Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very
expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar & poured the perfume
on His head.
"Leave her alone," said Jesus. "Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, & you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have Me. She did what she could. She poured perfume on My body beforehand to prepare for My burial. I tell you the truth, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her."
Then Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went to the chief
priests to betray Jesus to them. They were delighted to hear this & promised
to give him money. So he watched for an opportunity to hand Him over.
So He sent two of His disciples, telling them, "Go into the city, & a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him. Say to the owner of the house he enters, �The Teacher asks: Where is My guest room, where I may eat the Passover with My disciples? � He will show you a large upper room, furnished & ready. Make preparations for us there."
The disciples left, went into the city & found things just as Jesus had told them So they prepared the Passover. When evening came, Jesus arrived with the Twelve. While they were reclining at the table eating, He said, "I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me�one who is eating with me."
They were saddened, & one by one they said to Him, "Surely not I?" "It is one o the Twelve," He replied, "one who dips bread into the bowl with Me. The Son of Man will go just as it is written about Him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born."
While they were eating, Jesus took break, gave thanks & broke it, & gave it to His disciples, saying, "Take it; this is My body." Then He took the cup, gave thanks & offered it to them, & they all drank from it. "This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many, " He said to them. "I tell you the truth, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it anew in the kingdom of God." When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
"You will all fall away," Jesus told them, "for it is written: �I will strike the Shepherd & the sheep will be scattered.� But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee." Peter declared, "Even if all fall away, I will not." "I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "today�yes, tonight�before the rooster crows twice you yourself will disown me three times." But Peter insisted emphatically, "Even if I have to die with You, I will never disown You." And all the others said the same.
They went to a place called Gethsemane, & Jesus said to His disciples, "Sit here while I pray." He took Peter, James & John along with Him, and He began to be deeply distressed & troubled. "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death," He said to them. "Stay here & keep watch." Going a little farther, He fell to the ground & prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. "Abba, Father," He said, "everything is possible for You. Take this cup from Me. Yet not what I will, but what You will."
Then He returned to His disciples & found them sleeping. "Simon," He said to Peter, "are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? Watch & pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak." Once more He went away & prayed the same thing. When He came back, He again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. They did not know what to say to Him.
Returning the third time, He said to them, "Are you still sleeping & resting? Enough! The hour has come. Look, the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Let us go! Here comes My betrayer!
Just as He was speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, appeared. With him was a crowd armed with swords & clubs, sent from the chief priest, the teachers of the law, and the elders. Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: "The One I kiss is the man; arrest Him & lead Him away under guard." Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, "Rabbi!" and kissed Him. The men seized Jesus & arrested Him. Then one of those standing near drew his sword & struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.
"Am I leading a rebellion," said Jesus, "that you have come with swords & clubs to capture Me? Every day I was with you, teaching in the temple courts, & you did not arrest Me. But the Scriptures must be fulfilled." Then everyone deserted Him & fled. A young man, wearing nothing but a linen garment, was following Jesus. When they seized him, he fled naked, leaving his garment behind.
They took Jesus to the high priest, & all the chief priests, elders & teachers of the law came together. Peter followed Him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest. There he sat with the guards & warmed himself at the fire.
The chief priests & the whole Sanhedrin were looking for evidence against Jesus so that they could put Him to death, but they did not find any. Many testified falsely against Him, but their statements did not agree. Then some stood up & gave this false testimony against Him: "We heard Him say, �I will destroy this man-made temple & in three days will build another, not made by man.�" Yet even then their testimony did not agree.
Then the high priest stood up before them & asked Jesus, "Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?" But Jesus remained silent & gave no answer. Again the high priest asked Him, "Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?"
"I am," said Jesus, "And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One & coming on the clouds of heaven."
The high priest tore his clothes. "Why do we need any more witnesses?" he asked. "You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?" They all condemned Him as worthy of death. Then some began to spit at Him; they blindfolded Him, struck Him with their fists, & said, "Prophesy!" And the guards took Him & beat Him.
While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came by. When she saw Peter warming himself, she looked closely at him. "You also were with that Nazarene, Jesus," she said. But he denied it. "I don�t know or understand what you�re talking about," he said, & went out the entryway. When the servant girl saw him there, she said again to those standing around, "This fellow is one of them." Again he denied it. After a little while, those standing near to Peter said to Peter, "Surely you are one of them, for you are a Galilean." He began to call down curses on himself, & he swore to them, "I don�t know this man you�re talking about."
Immediately the rooster crowed the second time. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken to him, "Before the rooster crows twice, you will disown Me three times." And he broke down & wept.
Very early in the morning, the chief priests, with the elders, the teachers of the law & the whole Sanhedrin, reached a decision. They bound Jesus, led Him away & handed Him over to Pilate. "Are You the king of the Jews?" asked Pilate. "Yes, it is as you say," Jesus replied.
The chief priests accused Him of many things. So again Pilate asked Him, "Aren�t You going to answer? See how many things they are accusing You of?" But Jesus made no reply, & Pilate was amazed.
Now it was the custom at the Feast to release a prisoner whom the people requested. A man called Barabbas was in prison with the insurrectionists who had committed murder in the uprising. The crowd came up & asked Pilate to do for them what he usually did.
"Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?" asked Pilate, knowing it was out of envy that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him. But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have Pilate release Barabbas instead. "What shall I do, then, with the one you call the king of the Jews?" Pilate asked them.
"Crucify him!" they shouted. "Why? What crime has he committed?" asked Pilate. But they shouted all the louder, "Crucify Him!" Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, & handed Him over to be crucified.
The soldiers led Jesus away into the palace (that is, the Praetorium) & called together the whole company of soldiers. They put a purple robe on Him, then twisted together a crown of thorns & set it on Him. And they began to call out to Him, "Hail, king of the Jews!" Again & again they struck Him on the head with a staff & spit on Him. Falling to their knees, they paid homage to Him. And when they had mocked Him, they took off the purple robe & put His own clothes on Him. Then they led Him out to crucify Him.
A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander & Rufus, was passing by on his way from the country, & they forced him to carry the cross. They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means The Place of the Skull). Then they offered Him wine mixed with myrrh, but He did not take it. And they crucified Him. Dividing up his clothes, they cast lots to see what each would get.
It was the third hour when they crucified Him. The written notice of the charge against Him read, THE KING OF THE JEWS. They crucified two robbers with Him, one on His right & one of His left. Those who passed by hurled insults at Him, shaking their heads & saying, "So! You who are going to destroy the temple & build it in three days, come down from the cross & save yourself!" In the same way the chief priests & the teachers of the law mocked Him among themselves. "He saved others," they said, "but He can�t save Himself! Let this Christ, this King of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see & believe. Those crucified with Him also heaped insults on Him.
At the sixth hour darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabach-thani?"�which means, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?"
When some of those standing near heard this, they said, "Listen, He�s calling Elijah." One man ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put in on a stick, & offered it to Jesus to drink. "Now leave Him alone. Let�s see if Elijah comes to take Him down," he said. With a loud cry, Jesus breathed His last.
The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, heard His cry & saw how He died, he said, "Surely this man was the Son of God!"
Some women were watching from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. In Galilee these women had followed Him & cared for His needs. Many other women who had come up with Him to Jerusalem were also there.
It was Preparation Day (that is, the day before the Sabbath).
So as evening approached, Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the
Council, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate
& asked for Jesus� body. Pilate was surprised to hear that He was already
dead. Summoning the centurion, he asked him if Jesus had already died. When he
learned from the centurion that it was so, he gave the body to Joseph. So Joseph
bought some linen cloth, took down the body (think of what that must have
entailed), wrapped it in the linen, & placed it in a tomb cut out of
rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. Mary Magdalene
& Mary the mother of Joses saw where He was laid.
In the Tomb.
Mark 16: 1-20
And when the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, & Salome brought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus� body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb & they asked each other, "Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?" But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, & they were alarmed.
"Don�t be alarmed," he said. "You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, Who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him. But go, tell His disciples & Peter, �He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see Him, just as He told you.�" Trembling & bewildered, the women went out & fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.
When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had driven seven demons. She went & told those who had been with Him & who were mourning & weeping. When they heard that Jesus was alive & that she had seen Him, they did not believe it.
Afterward Jesus appeared in a different form to two of them while they were walking in the country. These returned & reported it to the rest� but they did not believe them either. Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; He rebuked them for the lack of faith & their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen Him after He had risen.
He said to them, "Go into all the world & preach the Good News to all creation. Whoever believes & is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: in My name, they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; & when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people; & they will get well."
After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was taken up into heaven & He sat at the right hand of God. Then the disciples went out & preached everywhere, & the Lord worked with them & confirmed His Word by the signs that accompanied it.