Fun Facts of Lent, Day Thirty-Nine: A Holy Week Primer

Sunday – Jesus and His Bros Steal a Horse

Jesus sends two disciples ahead of him into Jerusalem to grab a ride. He says that if anyone asks why they are stealing a colt, just say, “The Lord needs it.” It totally works and Jesus rides into town like the grandmaster of the parade, with people throwing down their coats in front of him and singing.

Sunday (afternoon) – Jesus Totally Trashes the Place

The people of the city had set up a marketplace within the temple that pissed Jesus off to no end. He flipped the tables over, dumped money on the floor, and started chasing the animals around like a madman. He told them the temple should be a house of prayer, but they’d made it a den of thieves. When I told this story to my Sunday school class last year one of the boys was shocked for a moment, because when I said “Jesus flipped over a table” he thought I meant Jesus did an actual backflip over a table. I told him there was no Biblical evidence to support the idea, but I wouldn’t rule it out.

Monday – God Hates Figs

Jesus is hungry and sees a fig tree, but it’s not fig season so there is nothing but leaves on it. Jesus curses the tree and it dies instantly, marking the most petty use of divine powers since God destroyed Job’s life to win a bet.

Tuesday – Jesus Teaches

Jesus tells more parables and teachings, with a focus on end times, prophesy, and being prepared. The Pharisees make several attempts to trick Jesus into saying the wrong thing, but damned if he doesn’t have an answer for everything.

Wednesday – Anointing and Plotting

Jesus is anointed by the woman with the Alabaster jar. Meanwhile, the chief priests hatch a plot to arrest Jesus and get Judas in on it.

Thursday – Dinner with Me, Myself, and the Trinity

Jesus shares the Last Supper with his disciples, breaking the bread and passing the cup of wine. He’s making prophesies left and right, calling Judas out for his betrayal and telling Peter to stop being such a suck up because he’s totally going to chicken out when the going gets tough. Later, Jesus goes into the garden and prays, which is the weirdest thing for those of us who believe in the Holy Trinity because it’s basically a God arguing with itself. Also the disciples keeping guard fall asleep even though THEY ONLY HAD ONE JOB.

Friday (Early Morning) – I Told You So

Jesus is arrested and taken to the authorities. The male disciples start getting scared and hiding. People keep recognizing Peter and asking if he’s a friend of Jesus, and Peter’s all like, “Who me? Nah, you must be thinking of someone else” because it’s been nine whole hours since Jesus said this would happen and somehow Peter already forgot.

Friday (Day) – That Escalated Quickly

Jesus goes before a bunch of people for judgement – Pontius Pilate, King Herod (not the one from the nativity story, a different guy), and finally the crowd. It’s tricky because Jesus hasn’t exactly committed any crimes, and he must be guilty of something for the Romans to execute him. Eventually Pilate gives the crowd a choice: he’ll release Jesus or he’ll release a guy named Barabbas. The crowd chooses Barabbas, Jesus is crucified, and the female disciples weep at his feet.
Two things to keep in mind: Pilate’s wife straight up tells him not to kill Jesus because of a prophetic dream she’s had, but he seems to ignore this. Also, in Greek ‘bar’ means ‘son of’ and ‘abba’ means ‘father’, so the other guy’s name was literally “son of the father.” Interpret that as you will.

Saturday – Done Deal

The tomb is sealed and guards placed in front of it, out of fear that Jesus’s followers will come steal his body. But the followers are scared and in hiding, so no one’s going anywhere. If you really want to get a feel for the Holy Saturday vibe, I recommend listening to the entire Sigh No More album from Mumford & Sons. I do it every year.