What Happened During Holy Week?

Chris —  February 20, 2014

Justin Taylor (co-author of The Final Days of Jesus: The Most Important Week of the Most Important Person Who Ever Lived) has previously posted summaries of what happened each day of Holy Week. Follow the below links to see the relevant biblical texts on Justin’s site.

Justin consulted both the ESV Study Bible and Craig Blomberg’s, Jesus and the Gospels: An Introduction and Survey, Second Edition.

Palm Sunday

  • Jesus, at the Mount of Olives, sends two disciples to secure a donkey and a colt; makes his “triumphal entry” into Jerusalem; weeps over Jerusalem.
  • Jesus enters the temple area, then returns to Bethany.


  • On Monday morning Jesus and the Twelve leave Bethany to return to Jerusalem, and along the way Jesus curses the fig tree.
  • Jesus enters Jerusalem and clears the temple.
  • In the evening Jesus and the Twelve leave Jerusalem (returning to Bethany).


  • Jesus’ disciples see the withered fig tree on their return to Jerusalem from Bethany.
  • Jesus engages in conflict with the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem.
  • The Disciples marvel at the Temple.
  • Jesus delivers the Olivet Discourse (in which he predicts the future) on their return to Bethany from Jerusalem.


  • Blomberg notes that, “Nothing that has been recorded can be confidently ascribed to Wednesday of Jesus’ final week.” However, others believe that it is on Wednesday that Satan enters Judas, who seeks out the Jewish authorities in order to betray Jesus for a price.
  • The Sanhedrin plot to kill Jesus.


  • Jesus instructs his Peter and John to secure a large upper room in a house in Jerusalem and to prepare for the Passover meal.
  • In the evening Jesus eats the Passover meal with the Twelve, tells them of the coming betrayal, and institutes the Lord’s Supper.
  • During supper Jesus washes the disciples’ feet, interacts with them, and delivers the Upper Room Discourse.
  • Jesus and the disciples sing a hymn together (probably from Psalms 113–118), then depart to the Mount of Olives.
  • Jesus foretells Peter’s denials.
  • Jesus gives his disciples practical commands about supplies and provisions.
  • Jesus and the disciples go to Gethsemane, where he struggles in prayer and they struggle to stay awake late into the night.
  • See this post on Maundy Thursday.


  • Jesus is betrayed by Judas and arrested by the authorities (perhaps after midnight, early Friday morning).
  • The Disciples all flee.
  • Jewish trial, phase 1: Jesus has a hearing before Annas (former high priest and Caiaphas’s father-in-law).
  • Jewish trial, phase 2: Jesus stands trial before Caiaphas and part of the Sanhedrin. Peter denies Jesus.
  • Perhaps after sunrise, phase 3 of Jesus’ Jewish trial: final consultation before the full Sanhedrin; sent to Pilate.
  • Judas hangs himself.
  • Phase 1 of Jesus’ Roman trial: first appearance before Pontius Pilate; sent to Herod Antipas.
  • Phase 2 of Jesus’ Roman trial: appears before Herod Antipas; sent back to Pontius Pilate.
  • Phase 3 of Jesus’ Roman trial: Jesus’ second appearance before Pilate; condemned to die.
  • Jesus is crucified (from approximately 9 AM until Noon).
  • The sky is dark from noon until 3.
  • Joseph of Arimathea asks permission to inter Jesus in a tomb and does so with the help of Nicodemus (John 19:38-42).

See also the summary from article by B. Corley in Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels: A Compendium of Contemporary Biblical Scholarship (The IVP Bible Dictionary Series):

Corley's Chronology of Jesus's Jewish Trial from the IVP Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels (854)

Corley’s Chronology of Jesus’s Jewish Trial from the IVP Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels (854)

Saturday – See my post, every day is Saturday at the nursing home.

Easter Sunday

  • Some women arrive at Jesus’ tomb near dawn, probably with Mary Magdalene arriving first.
  • Mary and the other women, instead of finding Jesus’ body, are met by two young men who are angels; one of them announces Jesus’ resurrection.
  • The women, fearful and joyful, leave the garden—at first unwilling to say anything to anyone about this but then changing their mind and going to tell the Eleven.
  • Mary Magdalene likely rushes ahead and tells Peter and John before the other women arrive.
  • The other women, still en route to tell the disciples, are met by Jesus, who confirms their decision to tell the Eleven and promises to meet them in Galilee.
  • The women arrive and tell the disciples that Jesus is risen.
  • Peter and John rush to the tomb (based on Mary Magdalene’s report) and discover it empty.
  • That afternoon Jesus appears to Cleopas and a friend on the road to Emmaus; later Jesus appears to Peter.
  • That evening Jesus appears to the Ten (minus Thomas) in a house (with locked doors) in Jerusalem.

Hoehner’s proposed chronology of Holy Week from the Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels: A Compendium of Contemporary Biblical Scholarship (The IVP Bible Dictionary Series) is also helpful though it differs in some of the details from the chronology proposed above.

H.W. Hoehner Chronology of Holy Week in IVP Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels (120)

H.W. Hoehner Chronology of Holy Week in IVP Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels (120)

Be Sociable, Share!

3 responses to What Happened During Holy Week?

  1. Thank you for this post. Grand daughter, Natalya & I are using this as a guide to read together about the events of Holy Week. My prayer & delight is that God will use this time we have together to draw her closer to Himself

  2. Thanks so Marge. That is so encouraging to hear.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  1. Easter Sunday & Holy Week - The Red Brick Church - March 31, 2015

    […] This week, consider spending time as a family reviewing the events of holy week. Pastor Chris has a helpful post What Happened During Holy Week? […]