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Lesson 6: The Passion Week *

Introduction: How do you feel the last day or two of your vacation? Each week, when Sunday evening rolls around, how do you feel? My bet is that a large number of you start thinking about having to go back to work. You wish your vacation or the weekend could be longer. So, you treasure those precious last hours of freedom. Imagine if your vacation or weekend were followed not by work, but by your torture and death? How much more precious would you view your last hours then? Our lesson this week looks at the last week of Jesus' life on earth as a man. Let's plunge in and see what we can learn!

  1. Background to the Triumphal Entry

    1. Read Luke 19:11-13. The parable of the ten talents (here, "minas") is familiar to most of us. A king gives money to his servants, tells them to invest it, and when he returns asks them about their investments. Sort of a Bible version of the modern television program "The Apprentice" with Donald Trump. Look at verse 11, why did Jesus decide to tell this parable at this time? (The people thought that Jesus was going to set up His kingdom here on earth at this time.)

      1. Why is the story of the ten talents appropriate to that concern? (We know now that Jesus was not going to set up His kingdom right then. So, the lesson is that they should be productive until the time of His return.)

    2. If you are not familiar with this story of the talents, read Luke 19:14-25. The rest of you know that two of the three servants report putting the king's money to work and getting a good return. One servant just hides the money and gives it back. When the king returns, he rebukes the one servant, takes his money back, and gives it to the most productive servant.

      1. Let's read the very last part of this story: Luke 19:26-27. Did you remember this? (I'll bet that even those who know this story well, did not remember the statement in verse 27!)

      2. What is the point of this parable? (If you are simply lazy, and do not work for the king, you will lose all that you have been given. If you are hostile to the king, you will be killed.)

      3. If you thought Jesus was about to set up His kingdom here on earth, what would you conclude based on His statement in verse 27? (That those who opposed Him were going to die.)

  2. Triumphal Entry

    1. With this background in mind, let's get to Jesus' "triumphal entry." Read Luke 19:28-32. If you were one of the disciples who was sent ahead, what would you think when you found the colt just as Jesus had said? (The idea would be reinforced that this was no ordinary man. He could not only tell the future, but He had authority to claim private property.)

    2. Read Luke 19:33-36. Why would the people throw their coats of the road for the colt to step on? Would you do this with your new coat? (Read Matthew 21:4-5. I think the people understood that Jesus riding the colt showed He was coming to Jerusalem as King. See also 1 Kings 1:37-39. They threw their coats on the ground to give a proper path for the new King! See 2 Kings 9:13)

    3. Read Luke 19:37-38. What were the people saying? What were they thinking? (They thought the Messiah was at hand. It was the day they had waited for their entire life!)

      1. Read that portion of a Messianic prophecy found in Psalms 118:26-27. Would the people have had this prophecy in mind? If so, what would it tell them? (Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah!)

    4. Matthew's account adds another detail. Read Matthew 21:4-5. What does Matthew say is going on here?

      1. The fulfilled prophecy Matthew is quoting is Zechariah 9:8-10. Read this text in Zechariah.

    5. Put together all of the evidence we have studied. The parable that ends with the killing of the enemies of the king. Jesus' supernatural knowledge of the colt. His claim to be entitled to use the colt. The specific fulfillment of Messianic prophecy about the liberation of Israel and world peace. What verdict does this evidence demand? (The hopes and dreams of Israel are being fulfilled right now. This is the day! Friends, this is it!)

      1. Is there any dark spot in this evidence? (That stuff about the "delay" in the story of the talents.)

    6. Read Luke 19:39-40. Were the people just getting carried away? Were they engaging in unauthorized celebrations? Were they acting contrary to Jesus' will? (No. Again the only logical conclusion is that supernatural power attended this celebration. All nature was about to break out in song.)

    7. You know the end of the story. What is Jesus doing? How does this make any sense? Why were not the Pharisees right in asking Jesus to rebuke the crowd? Why was Jesus allowing the crowd to get "revved up" for nothing? (I think Jesus was doing three things. First, He was clearly staking His claim to be King. Second, if you read texts like John 7:30, we see that Jesus had not been killed earlier because "His time had not yet come." The time had now come. As the Bible Exposition Commentary points out, the Jewish leaders planned on killing Jesus after Passover ( Matthew 26:3-5), but God had ordained that the "Lamb of God" would be killed on Passover. Thus, Jesus was forcing the hand of the Jewish leaders with this celebration. Finally, the peace prophecy in Zechariah 9 envisioned God's people accepting Him. They did not. As a result, peace, was not in their future.)

  3. The Beginning of the End

    1. Read Luke 19:41-44. Why did Jesus say that Jerusalem would be facing destruction instead of peace? (They did not recognize Him.)

      1. If the Jewish nation had accepted Jesus would things have been different? (Jesus says, Luke 19:42, that they could have known what would bring them peace. What they refused to know was Jesus.)

      2. Describe Jesus' feelings right now? Remember these are the last few days of His life here, and Jerusalem has turned away from Him. (This adds another insight into Jesus' attitude about the death of His enemies.)

    2. Read Luke 19:45-46. What is beginning to happen here? How is Jesus' role beginning to change? (Judgment is beginning to fall on Jerusalem and the temple.)

      1. Is this a warning to us? If we reject Jesus, will we face judgment?

    3. Read Luke 19:47-48. If the lines are beginning to be drawn, and Jerusalem is on the wrong side of the line, how do you explain the fact that "all the people" at the temple "hung on [Jesus'] words?" (Amos has this picture of the possibility of being a "burning stick snatched from the fire." Amos 4:11. Jesus holds out His hand to each individual who will accept Him.)

  4. The Combat Strategy

    1. Read John 13:2-5. What was the extent of Jesus' power and authority at this time? (God had put all things under Jesus' power.)

      1. When you have just been given power and authority, what do you do with it?

      2. What did Jesus do with His power and authority?

    2. Read John 13:6-8. Isn't Peter right? King Jesus should not be washing feet!

      1. Jesus says that "later" they will understand. Explain to me how you understand Jesus' statement that unless Peter gets his feet washed, he has no part with Jesus? I thought Peter was looking out for Jesus' authority when he said "No washing of my humble feet!" (Read 1 Peter 3:20-22. The cleansing of water symbolizes Jesus cleansing of our sins.)

    3. Read John 13:12-17. What other lesson was Jesus teaching His disciples? (He was teaching them an attitude of service.)

      1. How does this fit the "death to the enemies of the king" line of Luke 19:27?

      2. Let's go back and pick up a verse that I skipped. Read John 13:1. What is the full extent of Jesus' love? (I imagine this points to Jesus' death on our behalf. But, the immediate context is that Jesus shows His love to us by teaching us to have the right attitude towards our fellow Christians.)

      3. Is serving others your idea of a "good time" for those last few hours of the weekend or your vacation?

  5. Gethsemane

    1. Read Luke 22:39-42. What was Jesus facing? (He had now come right up to the time of His arrest, torture and murder.)

      1. What was His concern for His disciples? (Jesus was praying for them!)

      2. Describe Jesus' attitude about His coming torture and death? (He wanted to avoid this - but He was willing to submit His will to the will of the Father. It was a servant attitude.)

    2. Read Luke 22:45. Why were the disciples asleep? (They were exhausted by sorrow.)

      1. "Sorrow" about what? (I fear not simply the death of Jesus, but the death of their hope that He was about to become King.)

    3. Friend, how about you? Are you alert to your responsibilities while we wait our coming King? Are you performing your duties with a servant's attitude? Have you submitted your will to God's will? It is not too late to decide to follow Jesus!

  6. Next week: Passage to Calvary.
* Copr. 2005, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.

© 2021 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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