Jesus' Last Months
AN APPROXIMATE CHRONOLOGICAL OUTLINE OF JESUS’ ACTIVITIES DURING THE 2-3 MONTHS BEFORE THE CRUCIFIXION.
-Based on Halley’s Bible Handbook and Studies in the Life of Christ by R. C. Foster
Bethany: Lazarus raised from the dead. (John 11)
Jesus and his disciples go to Ephraim, 12 miles Northeast of Jerusalem to avoid the Jews who were after him.
Jesus goes north along the border between Galilee and Samaria (Luke 17:11), then Southeast into Perea, which is East of the Jordan River across from Jericho.
Going toward Jericho:
The parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector.
The rich young ruler.
Jesus again predicts his death.
Blind beggar healed.
The parable of the nobleman made king.
Afternoon: Jesus arrives at Bethany. (John 12:1, 6 days before passover)
Evening: The dinner given in Jesus’ honor; the anointing. (John 12:1-8)
The Triumphal Entry. Jesus weeps over Jerusalem.
Jesus withers the fig tree; cleanses the temple.
His last day teaching in the temple.
His authority challenged by the Sanhedrin.
Parable of the two sons.
Parable of the vineyard.
Parable of the marriage feast.
Question about tribute to Caesar.
Question about the resurrection.
Which is the greatest commandment.
How could David’s son be his Lord?
Denunciation of Scribes and Pharisees.
Jesus observes the widow’s mites.
Final departure from the Temple.
On the Mount of Olives: His Great Discourse about the destruction of Jerusalem, His second coming, and the final judgement.
Judas’ bargain with the Chief Priests (or next day?)
Quiet day at Bethany.
Evening: The last supper.
Night: Agony and arrest in Gethsemane.
Trial and Crucifixion.
Early in his ministry, Jesus avoided the limelight.
Jesus would go to Jerusalem and stay a while, but then leave for another area when fame or controversy began to build.
He often told those he healed to keep it to themselves. Mark 1:40-44
On several occasions he told the disciples to keep quiet:
Peter’s confession, Matthew 16:20.
The Transfiguration, Matthew 17:9.
But now, in the last few months before his crucifixion he is speaking out publicly about who he is and confronting the religious leaders more strongly.
Pretend you are one of the twelve disciples and you are with Jesus at this time.
“I and the Father are One.”
What are you thinking when you hear Jesus say this?
What are you thinking or doing as some people pick up stones and raise them?
“Again, they sought to arrest him but he escaped from their hands.”
How do you think he escaped?
He left town again to let things cool down.
As a disciple, how are you feeling and what are you thinking now that you are out of Jerusalem and down the road a ways?
So Jesus has left Judea and gone into another jurisdiction where the people who want to get him have no legal standing.
Jesus receives word by messenger that his good friend Lazarus is sick.
As a disciple, what are you thinking when you see that Jesus seems in no hurry to head back to Judea and Jerusalem?
After two days Jesus says to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.”
What is their reaction?
As a disciple, what is going through your mind now?
Once it is clear that Jesus is going and cannot be talked out of it, What is Thomas’ response?
Set the scene for Bethany; a small village 1-3 miles from Jerusalem, depending on the route you take, beyond the “Mount of Olives”. If you go directly up and over the mount, it is about a mile. If you take the longer, but easier, route, it is 2-3 miles.
What effect does the raising of Lazarus have on the religious leaders and politicians?
What are they thinking? What is their solution to the Jesus problem?
Jesus leaves town again, this time for Ephraim, about 15 miles north of Jerusalem.
What is on the minds of people as the time for this Passover approaches?
What preparations have been made for Jesus?
Jesus and the disciples move around Samaria and Galilee and then head back to Jerusalem through Jericho.
Luke 18:31-34, Even though Jesus speaks plainly about what will happen, the disciples are not getting it; they seem to be in denial.
Saturday, six days before the Passover.
John 12:1-9, Jesus arrives back in Bethany on the Saturday before the Passover.
Afternoon, he arrives.
Evening, they give him a dinner.
What are the plans for Jesus’ enemies?
Jesus makes three trips into Jerusalem and to the Temple on three consecutive days and spawns three major confrontations.
The Three major confrontations:
1. Sunday: The King is announced, and he rides into town with great fan-fair.
2. Monday: Jesus takes control of his Temple.
He throws out the profiteers.
He stays there in the temple all day long teaching, as if to claim it for his own.
In the evening he goes back out to Bethany for the night.
3. Tuesday: Jesus sets the record straight.
Jesus goes back to his Temple, but his enemies are prepared and waiting with a trap.
11:27-33, Jesus’ authority questioned.
12:1-12, The parable of the Tenants - Who really has the authority?
The three traps:
Pharisees and Herodians: We really shouldn’t pay taxes to Caesar, should we? We owe our allegiance to God and his kingdom, don’t we?
Sadducees: There’s not really such a thing as a resurrection, is there?
Scribes (teachers of the Law): What is the most important commandment?
The contrast: Who are the true people of God?
Beware of the scribes, who should be your teachers and examples.
Simple, true faith.
“And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box.”
Tuesday: Jesus leaves the temple for the last time.
Picture Jesus and the disciples walking out of the temple and walking away from it. As they walk away some of the disciples turn around and look at the buildings, then one of them comments to Jesus, “Look, Teacher, what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings.” Jesus response is that they will all be destroyed, “thrown down”, suggesting a violent end.
Now picture them walking out of the city, down through the valley, then up the side of the Mount of Olives. Then they sit down on the mount where they can look back across the valley and see the temple buildings from a distance.
The disciples are beginning to get it, maybe, and they ask two questions:
1. When will these things be? (destruction of the buildings)
2. What will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?
Jesus then enter-twines the answer to these two questions in an apocalyptic prophesy.
When Jesus finishes this teaching, they return to Bethany.
Wednesday: As far as we know Jesus stays in Bethany on Wednesday. Some time Tuesday night or on Wednesday, Judas cuts his deal with the Sanhedrin.
Thursday evening: Jesus and the disciples observe the Passover.
Thursday late evening: Jesus is arrested in the garden at the foot of the Mount of Olives.
Thursday overnight: Jesus is tried by the Sanhedrin.
Friday morning 6 AM: Jesus before Pilot.
Friday morning by 9 AM he is on the cross.
Friday 12 PM to 3 PM: Jesus on the cross, darkness.
Friday 3 PM: Jesus passes away.
Friday before 6 PM: Jesus in put in a tomb by Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus.
Sunday, sometime soon after 6 AM: The Resurrection.
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
John 14 (ESV)