The Last Week Before The Cross

Ever wonder what Jesus did during that last week leading up to the cross? He entered the city on a donkey, in order to fulfill the prophet Zechariah’s prediction from the Old Testament of a king who would speak peace to the nations and whose dominion would be from sea to sea (Zechariah 9:9-10).

Then He went to the temple and found greedy religious businessmen taking advantage of those that had come to worship. So He cleansed this corruption from the court of the Gentiles (the outermost court of the temple in Jerusalem that could be entered by all peoples), declaring sternly, “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations” (Mark 11:17)

Standing in the temple, He denounced the chief priests and Pharisees, the official leaders of the Jewish nation, for having failed to be good stewards of the truths of the kingdom which had been entrusted to the chosen people, and solemnly declared, “Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits” (Matthew 21:43, ESV).

When asked concerning the end of the age, Jesus said, in effect: “Don’t be misled. It will not be as soon as some think. For this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world for a witness to all nations, and after that, the end shall come” (Matthew 24:4-14. Concerning His return in glory, He was purposely vague, declaring, “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only” (Matthew 24:36). But when He does come, He promised, “Before Him will be gathered all the nations, and He will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats” (Matthew 25:32).

Just before the Passover, at a house in Bethany, an adoring woman anointed His body with costly ointment. When she was criticized for her extravagance, Jesus stoutly defended her with these words: “ … She did it to prepare Me for burial. Truly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her” (Matthew 26:12,13).

The next evening in the upper room with His disciples, He sealed the new covenant with them, in anticipation of His death. He declared as He passed the cup, “for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins” (Matthew 26:28). Only the disciples were present, and all were Jews. But Jesus knew that the small nucleus of a new chosen people, the remnant of Israel, was soon to be enlarged, as the many for whom He died heard the good news of His love and forgiveness and placed their trust in Him as their Lord and Savior.

After Jesus’ resurrection, His last words before He went back to heaven gave instruction to His followers: ”But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). God’s love has always been directed toward His creation. That all mankind would seek Him through His Son, Jesus Christ.