By Pastor Shana Wise
If you only had one week to live, what would you do?
How would you feel if you knew exactly how you were going to die?
What would you plan to do for the six days leading up to your death?
What would be your last words?
Let us examine the last week of Jesus and what lessons we can learn about his last week of life before he died on the cross.
Day 1 Palm Sunday: Jesus’ triumphant entrance into Jerusalem.
Read Matthew 21:1-11, Mark 11:1, Luke 19:29, John 12:12
Christians know this day to be Palm Sunday. We find Jesus making his entry into Jerusalem on a donkey. What is so interesting about this text is that the same crowd that was praising Jesus and yelling, “Hosanna in the Highest!”, was the same crowd that in a few days would yell, “Crucify Him!”.
Lesson: It is important to never live our lives in the opinions of others or “follow the crowd”. One day people will praise you and the next day they will turn on you. Jesus never got caught up in the crowds or opinions of others because he was mission and Kingdom-focused.
Questions: What is your current Kingdom focus? If you had one week to live, what would your mission be?
Day 2: Jesus cleanses the temple, curses the fig tree, and weeps over Jerusalem.
Read: Matthew 21:12, Mark 11:22, Luke 19:45, Luke 19:41
· Mat. 21:13 And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’” This is what Jesus told the leaders in the temple after he overturns the tables that were being used to sell goods. It upset Jesus that selling goods was taking place instead of worshipping God. The place of God should be reverenced as holy not worldly and that is why Jesus acted the way he did when he went into the temple.
For some of us, it may not be easy to confront sin with other people, especially in the church. However, if it was good enough for Jesus, it should be good enough for us. We do not want to leave this earth knowing that we could have made a difference in someone else’s life by confronting them of their sin. They may not receive it at first, but at least you planted a seed of righteousness into their future.
· Jesus cursed the fig tree because it did not have any fruit on it. The fig tree withered up and died. When the disciples asked Jesus about this, he taught them about having faith and being able to speak to a thing and it happens. We all should want to die empty, meaning to release whatever God has put in us to do, say, or believe by faith.
· Jesus wept over the city of Jerusalem. He knew the future of the people would be to endure hardship because of their lack of faith in the Messiah and God. Jesus was about to die for the sins of all mankind, yet he knew that even though his life, death, and resurrection many still would not believe-especially the Jewish leaders of that time. Like Jesus, it should sadden us when others refuse to accept eternal life offered by God through his Son.
Questions: What are some things that you would “set in order” in your last days on earth? What lessons would you teach to your circle of influence? What situations would you cry about now or during your last days on earth?
Day 3: Jesus is challenged by the Pharisees and Sadducees. Judas bargains to betray Jesus.
Read: Matthew 21:20, Mark 11:20, Luke 20:36, John 12:20
· If you carry any type of position, whether it’s on your job, church, or home, people will always challenge your authority. Jesus dealt with this constantly from the religious leaders in the temple. On this day, they tried to trap Jesus with a question that could damage his reputation. Jesus responded in a way that challenged them to think about their motives against him. The lesson we can learn about our critics is how we respond to them and their schemes. Jesus was righteous and he conducted himself in that manner even until his death and beyond. We who are in Christ must respond righteously to our opposition because they are watching and want to taint our witness. Praise God for the Holy Spirit, because he will lead and guide us.
· Have you ever been betrayed by someone close to you? How did you feel and respond? On this day, Judas arranged to betray Jesus. Yet I praise God that even in this betrayal, that it was still a part of the plan to get Jesus to the cross! The lesson we can learn is that even when people betray us, that we have been good too, God will still work it for our good. Now, this does not mean that it does not hurt to the core of our being, but if God is for us who can be against us? God will always make our enemies our footstools if we remain righteous.
Questions: Do you have people now who are challenging your authority or even your worth? How do you respond to them? Who do you need to forgive from your past that has betrayed you? What areas do you still need God to heal from your relationship that did not end well?
Day 4: Silent Day. No records in the gospels. It is assumed that Jesus and the disciples are preparing for the last supper.
Read: Meditate on previous scriptures
I do not like to assume anything. The record is that nothing was written on this day about the activity of Jesus. This fact reminded me of the importance of silent times. We must realize we do not have to be doing something all the time. Quiet and silence are just as valuable as activity. In the days leading up to Jesus’ death, he was still doing ministry amid his fate. I believe this day was just as important as any other because it gave Jesus time away from ministry.
Questions: When was the last time you stood still in the presence of God and just was silent? What would you reflect on now and on your last week? What would those prayers look like?
More teaching points:
During these four days, Jesus is staying back and forth at Bethany. Probably at the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus.
Lesson: It is important to spend time with the ones who mean the most to you. Even though Jesus knew that he did have much time left in his body on earth, he was intentional to spend time with his close friends. He valued his relationships.
Question: Who are the people in your life that are valuable to you? When was the last time you spent quality time with them?
Day 5: The Last Supper. Garden of Gethsemane. Betrayed by Judas and arrested. Peter denies Jesus
Read: Matthew 26:1, Mark 14:1, Luke 22:1
· This was the day before Jesus’ death. On this day, Jesus would teach at the last meal he had with his disciples, he would experience betrayal in the garden of Gethsemane, and Peter would deny him. The events that happened on this day may have seemed dramatic to us, but it was all a part of God’s plan. As we read about the last day of Christ, we can find marvel at the fact that he still was teaching/ministering (last supper (communion), washing feet, praying), and performing miracles (restored cut off ear). He knew that Judas would betray him, Peter would deny him, and the other disciples would scatter, but that still did not stop his love for them! Jesus was so mission-focused and full of love that all the events that happened this day did not cause him to change who he was!
Questions: What would your last meal be before you died? Who would you spend it with? What would you discuss over dinner? How would you feel if your close friends and associates betrayed and denied you the day before you died? Are you focused enough on your purpose that you can withstand obstacles that come to get you off track?
Day 6 Good Friday: Trails of Jesus; Jesus brought before Herod, Pilate, and the crowd. Jesus dies on the cross. Judas commits suicide. Jesus’ body is placed in the tomb.
Read: Matthew 26:1, Mark14:53, Luke 22:54, John 18:13
· The last words of Jesus:
Luke 23:34, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”
Luke 23:43, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
Mark 15:34; Matthew 27:46, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
John 19:26-27, “Woman, here is your son… Here is your mother.”
Luke 23:46, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.”
John 19:28, “I am thirsty.”
John 19:30, “It is finished.”
· Your words have power! Jesus was intentional and purposeful with his words, even up to his last dying words. All the words that Jesus spoke were teaching and giving life to others. He should be our example in the way we conduct our speech with our circles of influence.
· Jesus lived his life as a living sacrifice and this principle carried over to the cross. He was and is always thinking about us. He loves us. He sacrificed his body so we can have life. Like Jesus, we should always be looking for opportunities to be a blessing to someone else.
· Pray for the ones who despitefully use you! Judas betrayed Jesus and his guilt from his actions led him to commit suicide. Judas still had the opportunity to repent of his sins and be forgiven, yet he chose to institute judgment by his own hands. Next time someone betrays us, instead of revenge, pray for their souls to be healed.
Questions: Have you ever had people accuse you of something you didn’t do? How did it make you feel? What do you think your last words would be before you died? Would you choose them carefully? How do you choose your words now?
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About the Author
Dr. Shana Wise is an ordained Pastor and CEO of Wise Choice Ministries (est. 2016). She is the founder of The Well Christian Women’s Network formally known as Christian Women Preachers United. Dr. Wise is the author of women’s devotional, Acts of Intercession, and The Impact of Your Election (available on Amazon). She received a Doctor of Divinity degree in 2019 from St. Thomas Christian University. Her passion is to teach and preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, equip others to apply the Word to their lives, and demonstrate the Word through the power of the Holy Spirit. She is a televangelist that appears on social media outlets and television. Shana is married to Ron Wise and is the mother of four children.
Books available on Amazon at:
Acts of Intercession
The Impact of Your Election
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