And I’m Tyler.
And I’m Eric Huntsman. And I’m glad to be with you today.
This is Book of Mormon Central’s Come Follow Me Insights.
Today, a special Easter episode, and we have our friend Eric Huntsman with us.
He’s a gospel scholar. He sings choir, has lived in Jerusalem and is an expert on so many things about the New Testament. We thought it’d be a great treat to have him with us today. Appropriately and typically, Easter lessons focus on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We have several videos like that in the links below. Today we have an offering that we think will also be of benefit to you from our friend Eric Huntsman, who will be taking the lead in our lesson today.
So Eric is going to start by walking us through the last week of the Savior’s life kind of day by day, helping us understand how to better prepare for Easter Sunday. And then he’ll be tying in scriptures from the Old Testament and perspectives from this Old Testament curriculum year of study as it relates to the final week of the Savior’s life.
So this lesson will be just a little bit different because you’ll get these interesting insights in the last days of Jesus, what was going on in the final days leading up to the death of Jesus Christ?
Sometimes we think of Easter as a day, and I would like you to think of it as a season, just as we often think of the weeks leading up to Christmas as the Christmas season. I like to think of at least a week before Easter, and perhaps even before that, a bit as the Easter season, Palm Sunday up through Easter Sunday. And we’d like to talk a little bit about those events from the New Testament, what Jesus did according to the Gospels. But since we’re studying the Old Testament this year, we would like this episode to be Old Testament anticipation of what our Christian friends call Holy Week and Easter. So I’m actually going to ask Tyler to lay out the days of Holy Week. And we’re going to very quickly just mention some of the things that Jesus did or taught on each of those days. And then we’re going to open the scriptures and see how some of the Old Testament prophets, even if they didn’t use the name of Jesus, actually anticipated those events. So as you’re doing your come follow me study as an individual or with your families, you can actually open those up.
As Jacob tells us in the Book of Mormon, all prophets knew Christ. They testified of Christ, even if in the Old Testament, not all the people who received those prophecies understood it at that time.
This is a really important point as we launch into this discussion, because we’re looking at the events of the last week of the Savior’s life from the benefit of hindsight, being able to look back on what actually happened. But for 4000 years, all those Old Testament people, they’re relying on prophecies and visions and revelations and this anticipation of their redemption and of the Savior’s infinite atonement for them. And they have these expectations. In a biblical scholarship world, we would call these messianic expectations and they didn’t all expect the same things.
And also they’re geared to the preparation of the audiences who heard them in the first instance. And as we get further into the Old Testament this year and move into the major and minor prophets, what we’ll often find is Old Testament prophecy is often so symbolic and it’s usually poetic and so it really needs to be unpacked. So hopefully some of the things we do today will prepare you when you study the Psalms or Isaiah or Jeremiah. Nephi, when he talked about the prophecies of Isaiah, he said that the people at home didn’t like the plainness. We do right. Nephi glory and plainness. And that’s one of the great blessings we have in Book of Mormon is that the prophecies of Christ are so clear. But here we’re going to have to exercise a little bit of effort. But as Tyler said, if we can look back at it, as Christians look back from our perspective, we can see some of these things. So let’s go through eight days, although be prepared. I’m going to give you nine days of events because there’s one day we can’t quite figure out the Sunday before Easter. And traditional Christianity is called Palm Sunday.
We’ll put either Palm Sunday or triumphal entry there. This is when Jesus entered Jerusalem with his supporters and perhaps some of the crowds from Jerusalem receiving him with great praise and honor. Now, according to Matthew and Luke, as soon as he entered the city, he went to the Temple and cleansed it. Mark disagrees. He puts that on Mondays rather than put it on Sunday. It’s kind of in between Sunday and Monday. So as you’re reading or celebrating Holy Week, getting ready for Easter this year, I suggest you pick one of the Gospels. If you pick Mark, Mark is going to put it on Monday. But if you pick Matthew, Luke, it’s going to be on Sunday.
So if we push pause here for just a second, some of you are probably wondering, wait a minute, you’re telling me that Matthew and Luke don’t agree with Mark, that they’re off and the answer is yes, this happens all the time in the Gospels.
One of the things we need to remember is that the Gospels are primarily theology, not history. So it’s not the intent of the evangelists, the writers of the Gospels, to give you things historically. Not that they’re not historically true events, but they are creating a literary record where they’re trying to teach us principles. And we’re actually going to be able to explain the placement of the cleansing of the Temple in Mark on Monday because of a literary device that Mark sees exactly. I often explain it to students or groups and speaking to if there’s a theological or literary reason that can explain why one author moves an event, that’s cool. Okay. As long as we have a testimony of what Jesus said and did, it doesn’t necessarily matter where during the week it happened. So let’s move on to Monday. You can underline that. Mary says that Jesus was coming into the city a second time, and along the way he saw a fig tree and he wanted something to eat. According to Mark and Matthew, there wasn’t anything there, so he cursed it. We’ll talk about that when we get to it. So Monday has the cursing of the fig tree in Mark and Matthew and teachings in the temple.
He spent the day teaching in the temple. On Tuesday, he again taught in the temple. But here’s some of the teachings focus on how Jesus opponents tried to catch him in his words. So Pharisees, Sadducees Herodian scribes would ask Jesus questions that they thought would trip him up, but he always turned the table on them. And there’s actually going to be something very significant about Jesus, Lamb of God there because they are examining him like the priest would be examining the offerings. The other thing that happened on Tuesday, and this is a very big deal is when Jesus public Ministry ended after the teachings on Tuesday, he took at least four of his disciples, Peter, Andrew, James and John up onto the Mount of Olives, where he delivered a prophecy of the coming destruction of Jerusalem in the near future and the eventual destruction of the wicked world in the far future. So all of that discourse and I hope our watchers can see you down there. Tolerance. Glad you nearly not me, Wednesday. Now here, I just want to alert you to something. A very useful study tool is the synopsis of the Gospels in our Bible dictionary.
Some harmonizations of Jesus last week put no events on Wednesday. However, a reading of the Greek text actually suggest that there are three events that could have happened on that day, and that’s in line with traditional Christian practice. So for our purposes, we have an account in Mark, Matthew and Luke that the chief priests and the leaders in Jerusalem started to conspire against Jesus. They then tell us, at least Mark and Matthew do that either. An unnamed woman in this case comes in and anoints Jesus preparing him for his burial. So the anointing. And then we have the account of Judas agreeing with the authorities in Jerusalem to betray Jesus. This is why I like to celebrate some events on Wednesday rather than go with one interpretation that there is nothing going on there because the way Mark and Matthew following Mark lay this out is really beautiful. You have two dark episodes conspiring against Jesus and betraying Jesus, framing a beautiful episode. The woman who knew not just who Jesus was, that he was the Christ, but what he had come to do. He’d come to die. This is wonderful. If we’re in Book of Mormon central, so how can we not say chaos?
This is a wonderful chaosic structure where the end element that’s important is in the middle. So you have these two dark, gloomy, sad, what do we call them? Episodes framing this beautiful episode. And in traditional Christianity, they call this Spy Wednesday because Judas and the authorities are creeping around spying.
And isn’t it fascinating, Eric, that Judas is conspiring with the leaders follows right on the heels of that anointing. It was that anointing where, remember, they’re sitting there eating and it’s Judas who gets so upset.
Why was this ointment not sold? And for 300 Pence given to the poor. And in John’s account, John makes it very clear to his readers, lest you think that Judith had a soft place in his heart for the poor, he was a thief and he had the bag and it’s right after Jesus Christ’s him. Let her alone.
Basically, don’t be a bully. In these other accounts, it’s right then when Judith says, okay, yeah.
And I promise you, Old Testament, we are going to get to you this hour. But since you’ve mentioned John’s account, let me just throw another curveball for those who didn’t know. Sometimes the Gospels arranged things differently. Whereas Mark and Matthew put the anointing of Jesus midweek. And it’s an unnamed woman who comes in anoints head. In John twelve, it’s Mary, the sister of Martha, and Lazarus, who comes in and anoints his feet. And the placement in John’s account actually puts it before Palm Sunday.
And in the Greek Orthodox tradition, they call this Lazarus Saturday, not necessarily the day before Palm Sunday, but before Holy Week began. You have this anointing of Jesus. And if I can just do a Sidebar here for a moment, in the Hebrew Bible, in the Old Testament, there are two, sometimes three groups of people who are anointed. Right. So you have the anointed King, you have the anointed priest. And on occasion, you have an anointed prophets like the third verse. I know my Redeemer lives, my Prophet, priest and King. And I actually for just personal devotional reasons like to think of that first anointing Mary anointing his feet as the kingly anointing. And these events entering in triumph, teaching with authority, cleansing the temple prophesying about his future reign as being the kingly portion of the last week. And then when Mark and Matthew have the unnamed woman anoint his head, we’re going to toggle we’re going to Pivot and it’s going to be a priestly anointing, in which case, as we move to Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, we’re going to have events where Jesus functions mostly as priests. Thursday, Friday and Sunday are the events that most of the Christian world are most familiar with.
There’s that day, Saturday, which I’m going to suggest has special meaning for latterday Saints. Section 138. While Jesus body is in the tomb, his spirit is alive and active and he’s doing stuff. So Thursday, Tyler has anticipated me. We have the Last Supper, intercessory prayer, and of course, the Gethsemane experience. There are some other things, but we can’t get them all on this board. Betrayal by Judas, abandonment by the disciples, his abuse at the hands of the priestly authorities.
And if we could take another quick time out here in our timeline and just acknowledge the difference between our modern timekeeping and our modern way of looking at the story and what it would have been in their day, they wouldn’t have put these three events on Thursday. The Last Supper began probably after the sun had set on their Thursday. But for us in our cultures today, we flipped the calendar at midnight, so all of these events would have begun and then Gethsemane. He’s probably entering in sometime right before, during or right after midnight. So it’s at the middle point just so that we’re straight and we see it a little differently than they do. So the big events, all of them took place on Friday in their day.
And once again, just as we said, the Gospels sometimes rearrange things for theological, literary reasons. Do be aware that this is what I like to call a working or devotional chronology. There are some people who argue that perhaps Jesus died on a Thursday, but that’s okay. I think one of the advantages of following the traditional chronology is because it allows us to think about and celebrate with our Christian friends of different denominations. These events that we all share, I often like to say, as unique as the restored Gospel is, the two things that we can celebrate with abandon is the divine conception, rekla’s birth of Jesus. We can celebrate Christmas together, the suffering, death and resurrection. We can celebrate Easter together. So once again, some of you and your research may find different arguments about these days. But if you want to just take the week before Easter with your families to study the Scriptures and to celebrate with their friends of other faiths, this working chronology will help you.
So before we jump into the Friday, let’s throw in here with combined with the Gethsemane, you have the betrayal and guest seminar after the arrest and then taken to the Jewish authorities. Now we get into what you’re calling Good Friday, right?
We’re going to call it Good Friday. By modern reckoning, that a day starts that next morning. So Jesus is then handed over to the Roman authorities. So he’s before the Jewish authorities. And then he’s put into the hands of the Romans, in particular, the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate. Before Pilate, he is falsely condemned. He’s falsely judged and condemned. He’s abused. He’s whipped the Crown of thorns. And as we’ll see, there are scriptures that anticipate that and then, of course, he is crucified, suffers on the cross, dies and is buried in a borrowed tomb. So this is called Good Friday. According to tradition, sometimes the next day is called Holy Saturday. I just call it the Saturday before Easter. The only events that are mentioned, Matthew says that the priestly authorities are afraid that Jesus body will be stolen so his disciples can claim he rose from the dead. So we hear that a guard is placed in the gym. That’s all that the Gospels give us. But of course, from the Book of Mormon accounts of the darkness that accompanies Jesus death, and from what we read in section 138, we know that while his body is in the tomb on Saturday, Jesus is doing stuff.
And then, of course, Sunday morning and first day of the week, we have the resurrection in the empty tomb. So there’s our basic working or devotional chronology. I think it would be great, Taylor and Tyler, if families want to take the week before Easter and open their Bibles to one or all four of the Gospels and just kind of take the events of that day and read the Scriptures. But since we’re studying the Old Testament this year, I wanted to go and look at some of these events and see if we could find some passages from the Old Testament that anticipated them, even if they don’t directly use the name of Jesus. So the go to Scripture. I think most people think of when they talk about the triumphal entry is Zechariah 99. Now remember, Zechariah is one of the last prophets in the Old Testament. So you have Zechariah and Hagai and Malachi, all after the return from exile. And it’s a time when the Jews are rebuilding the temple and they’re rebuilding Jerusalem, and they’re thinking of the glory days when David and Solomon were in Jerusalem. And so a lot of Zechariah’s prophecies are really thinking about a day when they will have a King again.
And of course, the King for all time will be Jesus.
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion. Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem, behold thy King cometh unto thee. He is just and having Salvation lowly and riding upon an ass and upon a cult, the fall of an ass.
Now Zechariah in the Hebrew prophetic tradition is using something called parallelism. So when I was formatting this in my notes, I took the lines and split them. Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion. And then he says that same thing a different way. Shout, odaughter Jerusalem, behold, thy King is coming to the so who’s coming? Our King. Well, who is the King? What’s he like? He’s just and he has Salvation. He’s going to save us. Then lowly and riding upon an ass, a donkey, and then restating it in parallelism and upon a cult, the full of an ass. So we know in all four accounts, Mark, with Matthew and Luke following him carefully. And John, Jesus comes in on his donkey. And one thing that’s interesting, Pilate, as the Roman governor, usually was in a metropolis on the seaside called Caesaria. The Roman governors loved to live in this big cosmopolitan city that Herod the Great had built where they could be all Gentile, and he would only come to Jerusalem to do court cases and for big festivals to make sure things were running okay. At some point before Passover, which by this chronology would have been Thursday pilot with additional Roman troops would have come to Jerusalem to keep a lid on things.
So you have to imagine on the west side of the city a big procession as a Roman governor and troops were entering in military pomp and circumstance into the city, whereas on the east side you have someone coming in on a donkey. Now, by the time of Zechariah, the image of a King on a donkey would have signified humility. But if we were to go all the way back to King David before Solomon, they always rode on donkeys because they didn’t start importing horses for their military till Solomon. It was actually something the Prophet Samuel warned against. Don’t multiply horses. So Zechariah and the people at the time of Jesus would have seen this as a sign of humility as opposed to this Roman parade on the other side of the city. But for those who really knew their history, they say the last King we had a row on a donkey was David. And Jesus is the son of David. Now, we put cleansing the temple between Sunday and Monday, because as we’ve mentioned in Matthew and Luke, that happens right after the triumphal entry, which is important. Remember, I said this is the kingly phase of the last week.
When Jesus enters the temple and cast out the merchants, he’s assured he has authority. So just as Solomon built the temple and had authority over it, now Jesus, as the true King, has a right to cleanse it. So that’s why Matthew and Luke put it right there. John, by the way, puts it right at the front end of the Ministry of John at the very beginning. But I want to explain why, first of all, let’s look at a scripture for cleansing of the temple. But then I’m going to explain why we actually have Mark put it in between the cursing of the fig tree and the teachings. So in Jeremiah 711, Jeremiah. Wow, he had a tough duty. It’s a Prophet. Under several wicked Kings of Judah kept prophesying destruction. No one listened to him. And eventually, of course, Jerusalem is destroyed by the Babylonians. But he saw how corrupt the temple of Solomon had become in the time of the final Kings of Judah. And so he actually has a prophecy in Jeremiah 711, is this house which is called by my name become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, even I have seen it saith the Lord.
Now, it’s interesting, the word robbers there. I mean, for those of us who think sometimes merchants are ripping us off, there seems to be a direct correlation. But in Hebrew it’s those who break through and take control. And in Greek, lace can mean bandits are revolutionaries. So I like to think of it as usurpers. I actually think the people whom Jesus is the most upset with in the temple cleansing incident aren’t the merchants. It’s those who let the merchants come in and set up shop in the courts of the temple. When King Mary rebuilt the temple, he built shops all around the Western and Southern side of the temple mound. Someone invited them to come up. And in the mission of some other rabbinic Jewish sources, we hear that the high priesthood in this time period was very corrupt. So I think the people who were usurpers who were breaking through and taking authority that wasn’t theirs were probably the priestly authorities who may have been getting a kickback from the merchants who were up there. So that’s your go to Old Testament scripture to think about the cleansing of the temple. But let’s talk about why we have Mark put it after the fig tree cursing incident, the way it’s set up for the first three or four days of the week is every day Jesus comes to Jerusalem.
Then he goes back over the Mount of Olives to stay with his friends Martha, Lazarus and Mary and Bethany. So he comes back from Bethany Monday morning and he sees this fig tree without any figs on it. So in Michael 71, Woe is me, for I am as when they had gathered the summer fruits as the grape leanings of the vintage, there is no cluster to eat. My soul desired the first ripe fruit. Now the word for first ripe fruit, there is Bikura and the Jewish Publication Society’s translation and the newer Vice Standard version, first ripe fruit actually means first ripe fig.
So some people say.
Why was Jesus expecting a fig when it wasn’t the time for figs? And the text actually says that. So either it’s a dried withered one from the previous year, which I’m not sure I wanted a fig raising anyway. Or we’ve got to ask, why can’t Jesus expect something? And what you need to remember is it’s symbolic. This is not about that fig tree and that fig and Jesus being hungry. Fig trees, olive trees, all of this tree imagery, the trees are Israel and they’re supposed to bear fruit. And we don’t know when our time is going to come and we’re going to be judged. We don’t know when God is going to demand an accounting of our fruits. So if you see the fig tree and this is what I think Mark’s doing with this. If you see the fig tree representing Israel at the time of Jesus, and we’re not talking about all of our Jewish friends at this time period. We’re talking about the priestly establishment and the leaders at that time who are running the temple and either teaching or not teaching their people appropriately. They were not bringing forth fruit. And in fact, this is why Mark puts the cleansing of the temple here.
He sees the temple as not being fruitful under the current regime. So in Matthew, who had already done the cleansing of the temple, Jesus Christ, the fig tree, and it says in Matthew, and it dries up right away, that’s not what it says in Mark. He curses the fig tree. He goes the temple. He sees that it’s not fruitful. And what we have with the overturning of the tables is not the symbolism we’re used to. A temple is a Holy place. We need to cleanse it. It’s a symbol of destruction. This temple is going to be overturned because it has not been fruitful. And then the next day when he comes, he finds it. I like to call this a Mark and sandwich. When I’m teaching Mark, there’s a technical term interpolation, where you have the slice of bread, the meat, another slice of bread. And so what you’re doing is you’re focusing on the middle. The overturning of the tables in the marketing account of the cleansing represents Israel is not a fig tree. Well, Tyler, we can’t go through all the teachings in the temple. There are chapters of them. Let’s kind of skip down to just the general idea of people authorities trying to catch Jesus in his words, because I looked for a way of connecting this, both the Old Testament and for Passover.
We’re going to talk more about the Passover when we get to the Last Supper. But when Jesus is being examined, I’m going to suggest that it’s following the pattern where a Pascal lamb was kept for four days to make sure that that initial lamb they picked that they thought had no blemishes really didn’t. Let me just read this passage from Exodus Twelve, speak to you under the Congregation of Israel, saying in the 10th day of this month, they shall take to them every man a lamb according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for a house. Your lamb should be without blemish, a male of the first year. You shall take it out from the sheep or from the goats, and you shall keep it until the 14th day. And there was in this period, according to later Ms. Nicole Rabinic, evidence a pattern of picking a lamb early in the week and examining it during that period before you actually sacrificed it. So since Jesus is the true lamb of God, according to Johanne imagery, I like to see the Pharisees and sadness in questioning or examination of Jesus being the equivalent of what the Lester priests were actually doing in the temple right then looking at the lambs.
So that’s something to kind of be aware of then as we close out the public Ministry when Jesus leaves the temple after teaching on Tuesday, that’s the end of his public Ministry. So he takes swearing to Mary just four of the disciples. But it may have been all of the twelve up onto the Mount of Olives. And there are so many passages in the Old Testament which anticipate not just the first coming but the second coming, the coming of Jesus and glory. Whenever you read about the great and dreadful day of the Lord, a lot of the prophets were expecting Yahweh Jehovah to come and personally destroy the wicked and overthrow their enemies. So I just wanted to read one or two passages and talk about this olive Vet discourse. Mark 13 is where I like to start. It’s the shortest and earliest version of this. But you’ve already mentioned Matthew has a big expansion of it, and we also have what’s called Joseph Smith Matthew, which clarifies a lot of it. So Jesus takes a few of his disciples up onto the Mount of Olives, which is just laden with so much importance and symbolism in the Old Testament.
It’s the highest point in the area of Jerusalem, just east of the city. It’s a place where David had gone when he fled, when he was overthrown, but it’s also a place from which he returned. And so this Mount of Olives discourse is a place where Jesus can look at the temple in Jerusalem and prophesy of its future, which unfortunately, is not good. It’s going to be destroyed by the Romans, but there are going to be a lot of events at the end of the world, but it’s also going to be the scene of his miraculous second Coming. All right. So will you read Isaiah 34 for us?
And all the hosts of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll, and all their hosts shall fall down as the leaf falls off from the vine and as a falling fig from the fig tree.
Come back, come back. The heavens roll together as a scroll. Some of you may remember from our study of the doctrine Covenants how often that appears, that imagery as the risen Lord is talking to Joseph Smith about the end. Here’s another one about the destructions and the glorious return of the Lord. Joel 21.
Blow Ye the trumpet and Zion and sound an alarm in my Holy mountain. Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand.
And then I had another one. I had looked up, and this is from Daniel. So Daniel in 713 said, I saw in the night visions, and behold, one like the Son of man came down with the clouds of heaven and came to the ancient of days, and they brought him near before them. Of course, there’s the passage also what in Securia. 13 of Jesus returning to wear the Mount of Olives. I often think that this all event discourse served another personal function. I mean, clearly Jesus is letting us, as later readers know, the destruction of Jerusalem not long after his death and resurrection was anticipated also to prepare us for the Second Coming. But I think it probably meant something to his disciples. This is the kind of messianic King they were expecting, someone who’s going to overthrow their enemies, right? That’s why they were all cheering on Palm Sunday. And yet in just a couple of days, how are they going to feel when the Lord whom they loved is betrayed and taken and slain on a cross? They’re going to be so disheartened and heartbroken and confused. But they could hold on to what Jesus had said, what you expected, my triumphal return is going to happen, just not yet.
So I think it probably served a real purpose for them as well. Now, on Wednesday, as we’ve laid it out, least for this devotional chronology, we have this spy Wednesday as the chief priests conspire against Jesus and then, as Judas agrees, to betray him, framing the anointing. So let’s do the happy episode first. So let’s look at first Samuel 1013 for an anticipation of the first time we see a King anointed one Samuel 1613.
Then Samuel took the Horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brethren. And the spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward.
I think it’s interesting. This is when Samuel has identified the youngest son of Jesse as the King to replace Saul, who had previously been annoyed. But the association of pouring the oil upon his head and the spirit of the Lord coming down upon him, I mean, that really helps us understand the symbolism of anointing when we anoint someone who’s sick or in the temple, just a little drop of oil. You have to imagine in the ancient world, they take the whole Horn of oil and pour it on and it dripped down. In fact, there’s a passage in the Psalm about the oil running down Aaron’s beard and down to the hem of his robe. The symbolism is of Grace, power, spirit authority pouring down from Yahweh, from Jehovah down upon David as the new Lord’s anointed to the King.
I love this insight here the spirit of the Lord came upon him and think about in our lives you are baptized and what do you receive? Right after baptism? You receive, I’m going to say symbolically and anointing the spirit of the Lord, the gift of the spirit is offered you. And we’re told the Book of Mormon that to prosper is to have the spirit of the Lord with you. So David’s being prospered.
And for those of you who like British history, when a King or in the case of Queen Elizabeth, when they are anointed, they’re actually anointed King or Queen, and the chorus will break out Zadok the priest and Nathan, the prophets. There’s a great song that goes along with this that quotes this very verse. But what is so stirring here is it’s not Zadok the priest or Nathan the Prophet, it’s a woman of Christ. Letting our sisters know, particularly for those who are endowed in the temple with authority and power, that you two serve an important role. And whereas so many of the male disciples don’t really understand, they know that Jesus is the Messiah, he’s their King. They want him to be their King. They don’t really understand this part. Here an unnamed woman who can serve as a type for all women of Christ, understand that he has come to die, and she’s the one who anoints him. And there’s also, as both Mark and Matthew say, when Judith complains about this, she’s done a great work for me because another time you annoyed. Besides being a King, a priest or Prophet is in preparation for burial.
Well, this beautiful scene, as short as it is, is almost immediately undercut by the horrible conspiracy of Judas, which is in all three synoptic. So you have it, Mark and Matthew and Luke as well, who doesn’t talk about the anointing distance in this instance, talks about the betrayal. And we can actually go all the way back to Genesis for a brother selling a brother.
Let’s read the story about what happens to Joseph, who gets sold into Egypt. And Judah said unto his brother, and what profit is it if we slay our brother and conceal his blood? Come and let us sell him to the Ishmaelites.
So you have a brother selling another brother to foreigners, if it will. And what’s interesting is that Judas is the Greek form of the name Judah. And so we have a little bit of parallelism there. And of course, Zachariah 1112 Tyler, what does that say?
And I said unto them, if you think good, give me my price. And if not for bear, so they wait for my price, 30 pieces of silver.
Which is what the chief priest agreed to pay Judas for betraying Jesus on the last night of his life.
What’s interesting about this price with 30 pieces of silver? This is actually a really old symbol of expressing that somebody is being sold as of no value, of worthless. I mean, the oldest civilization that we know of, the Sumerians, they used a very similar statement proverbially to say if something is a trifle of no value, you say it’s worth 30 shekels. So it’s interesting that this even floats down all the time to the time of the New Testament, where Jesus is treated as something of no value, of no worth, a trifle of only 30 shekels value.
Now, we’ve spent a lot of time on the events of the first half of the week, and I think that’s been useful because of the events that perhaps are less familiar to us. But we’d be remiss if we really didn’t take some time to dig in to the truly saving events on Thursday, Friday, and in particular Easter morning.
You know, it’s a good point because sometimes so we take the initial events of the week, all of them are preparing us and point us for the great and last sacrifice. Everything that’s taking place here is where the Salvation attributes of the Savior’s life are going to come into full focus for us.
But the Johannes Anointing triumphal entry, he’s our King, and then the next Anointing, he’s our priest. You have to know this about Jesus before you can see him offer that great sacrifice. Now, the Last Supper, of course, is the synoptic presented Mark, followed by Matthew. Luke is a Passover meal instantly, and we can save this till the New Testament year. John actually presents Passover starting at sunset the next day after Jesus dies on the cross. Possible ways of explaining that because Jesus is the Lamb of God. John presents Jesus dying on the cross while the Pascal lambs are being sacrificed. We won’t take the time to read it, but if you go back to Exodus Twelve, you read about selecting the Pascal lamb slaying it, putting the blood on the door post. But then it describes this meal that you need to eat in haste, which is interesting because Jesus has to hurry on what’s going on here. But you eat the flesh of the lamb with bitter herbs, but you have your staff in your hand and your shoes girded and you’ve got to be ready to go. It’s the Lord’s Passover, and it’s interesting that they actually the way Mary presents it after the Sacrament is instituted.
Say, Singham, let’s go hints we’ve got to move along, but I do want to read, Tyler, if we could have a couple of verses from Jeremiah which anticipates, if you will, the establishment or the institution of the Sacrament Lord suffering. While you’re looking up Jeremiah 31 31 to 33, I just want to put a plug in here for an application of a teaching of President Nelson. President Nelson has asked us not to talk about the atonement like it’s some kind of automaton, some kind of vetting machine in the sky, we should say the atonement of Jesus Christ. Personally, this is a little clunky, but we’re getting used to a long name of the Church. If we call it the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, rather than just always shorthanded the Sacrament. It takes us back to this, and it also helps us know that we’re coming to be fed. But read, if you will, Tyler. Jeremiah 31 and then jump after house of Judah to 33 Behold.
The days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new Covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. But this shall be the Covenant that I will make with the house of Israel. After those days, saith the Lord. I will put my law in their inward parts and write it in their hearts and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
The Jeremiah talks about a new Covenant to fulfill and follow on the Old Covenant was made at Sinai. Need to know that Covenant breed in Hebrew is translated by the Greek word Dia faiki, which is translated as Testament. So you read in Mark and Matthew one Corinthians eleven, this is the New Testament in my blood. But you need to think it’s a new Covenant and we enter or again Covenant to take upon ourselves the name of Christ. Every time we take the Last Supper, the intercession prayer gosh, we could talk a whole hour about John, so we’re going to skip over John 17. But you want to read that together with your families on the Thursday before Easter. But let’s move to Gethsemane. Tyler. I just want to just give you one way. I like to look at what I call the atoning journey. When I was growing up in the Church, kind of emphasizing our distinctive, we talked about Gethsemane so much more than we talked about the crucifixion. Our friend John Hilton has done so much research on this and how often actually the crucifixion is emphasized in the Scriptures and in the teachings of the brethren.
It was in the mid 20th century that we started to talk more about Gethsemane, but I’d like to tie them all together. It’s a Natonian journey from Gethsemane to the cross to the tomb to the ascension into heaven. And Leviticus may not be one of the books you’re looking forward to reading in the Old Testament, but if you Mark, for instance, Leviticus, one sacrificial procedure was you brought the victim, the offering, to the doorway of the Tabernacle of the congregation. You lay your hands on its head this for me, symbolically imputing your guilt and your fallen state on it. They led that sacrifice to the north side of the altar where it was sacrificed and it’s blood poured out. They then burned on the altar and the smoke rose to heaven. What we have here is taking Jesus. Our sins, our sorrows or disappointments, our heartaches are placed upon him. He’s led to the altar of the cross. He dies on the cross. But then if you go all the way to the empty tomb and the ascension, like smoke rising to heaven, he ascends. So I just want to kind of tie that all in.
Beautiful. I was hard pressed to find an Old Testament scripture that clearly anticipated this. We’re looking at a lot of Isaiah 53 in a moment when we get to Good Friday. But this idea of receiving our afflictions and our pains and our sorrows, I think is nicely reflected in Isaiah 53 four.
Surely he hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows, yet we did esteem him stricken smitten of God and afflicted.
I’m a singer, so I love Handel’s Messiah. And we sing this and it still moves me. Surely it’s borne our griefs. And the reason I like that is because Jesus suffered and died for so much more than just our sins, our disappointments, our heartaches, our sorrows. And it even says in that second half verse and carried our sorrows. He carried them from Gethsemane through the betrayal, the abandonment, the denial, the false judgment to the cross where those things had an end. He carried them. When he died, they died with him. But I want you, if you’ve taken the time to read with your family about the abuse Jesus suffered at the hands of the Jewish authorities and the Roman governor. How he was stripped, how he was whipped, the Crown of thorns is put upon his head, how he was beaten and spit at prophecies by the way, which all are in the Book of Mormon. Until he carried those the cross, he is despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from him he was despised and we esteemed him as not.
He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities. The chastisement of our peace was upon him. And with his stripes we are healed. Chastisement and stripes are parallel, and it refers to the flogging, the whipping, the scourging. We, like sheep, have gone astray we have turned everyone to his own way. He was oppressed inflicted. And as Tyler mentioned, he opened not his mouth. Whether it was before Herod anthropist or any of the people who mocked him on the cross, he did not return. Railing for railing, I think, is the way the verse reads. He was brought as a lamb to the slaughter and as she before her shearers is dumb, he opened not his mouth. I just want to fast forward to Jesus on the cross. And there’s that famous passage where he cried out, Lama, Lama sabatani, my God, my God, why Hastel forsaken me? But many of those events in the cross are anticipated in Psalm 22.
Yeah, so Psalm 22 reads, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Why art thou so far from helping me? And from the words of my roaring all they that see me laugh me to scorn.
They shoot out the lip.
They shake the head, saying, he trusted on the Lord that he would deliver him, let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him. For dogs have compassed me. The assembly of the wicked have enclosed me. They pierced my hands and my feet. I may tell all my bones, they look and stare upon me. They part my garments among them and cast lots upon my vesture.
They pierced my hands on my feet. When we think of the nails of Jesus, the nails of the cross and Jesus hands and his feet, I could tell all my bones. The Gospel of John, John 19 makes a point of saying that when the thieves legs were broken, Jesus were not because that was one of the things that Pascal Lamb had to be unblemished, but without broken bones, part of our vestiture. All four Gospels mention this, but it’s interesting the way John portrays it. Our King James kind of leaves us astray it talks about how they parted his outer garments and then his coat. They cast lots for but coat. There is actually the word for tunic. It’s the inner one. And so John has Jesus portrayed very much as a high priest with that tunic without seeing that he wears because he’s not just a sacrifice, he’s the sacrificer. But those passages are so important. Before my family and I started celebrating Holy Week and Good Friday more, I don’t know that we appreciated Easter as much. Sometimes we’re told you that you need to know the bitter to know the sweet. And if you don’t have the sadness and solemnity of Good Friday, you’re not really prepared to understand and savor the sweetness of Easter morning.
This is one day of the year where it’s okay to be sad. It’s okay. This is kind of a funny little Huntsman thing. I always take my kids out of school on Good Friday because to us, Good Friday is the Easter Christmas Eve to Christmas, you don’t have one or the other. And the first time I did it, Rachel is at Tempeh High School. The office called. They said, Where’s Rachel today? I said, I’m keeping her home. It’s a holiday. What is it? I said, Good Friday. They said, what are you? I said, Christian, we go to the temple and do baptisms for the dead, and we go to worship with our friends at St. Mary’s for a Good Friday service. We usually actually fast on that day like we did the other year with when President Nelson asked us to fast. And then we go out to Chile is my son’s favorite place for dinner together, just to make it special, to make that a Holy day, so that when we get to Easter morning and we can sing he is risen in Christ the Lord has risen today. And read the accounts in all four Gospels, we can look at passages as well.
With our Old Testament study, such as Isaiah 25 eight, his will, he will swallow up death and victory, and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the rebuke of his people shall be taken away from all the Earth. For the Lord has spoken it. And the passage that both Nephi and Jesus and third, Nephi allude to is Malachi four, two unto you that fear my name shall the Son of righteousness arise with healing in his wings. And I love that imagery of the resurrection of Jesus Christ arising with healing in his wings, not only bringing power over death and forgiveness of sin, but making us whole. Healing hearts healing disabilities, making us more like our heavenly parents so we can return to them.
It’s beautiful. This has been a real treat to have Eric join us today and walk through these events. And the invitation is that this might just be a mental exercise or an intellectual ascent for a moment, but rather that you allow it to sink into your heart to ponder, how could we take a little more seriously these events that happened 2000 years ago in our individual lives and in our family’s lives today so that it can become more real for us because these events didn’t occur just so. We have nice stories in scriptures. Jesus did all of this so that we could have hope, so that we could have redemption, so that we could have Salvation through him. That’s what this is all about.
People often ask me what kind of celebrate Holy Week. And I’ve laid out the traditional days, and there are some traditions you can bring into this, but the real way you celebrate it through the word of God. There’s a passage in Psalm 119, how sweet are thy words to my mouth? He’s sweeter than honey to my taste. Promise you that if you take the passages from the Old Testament that anticipate this. And as you feast upon the gospel accounts, you will celebrate a solemn Good Friday and a joyful Easter in ways you’ve never experienced before. And the Holy Ghost will witness to you that Jesus not only suffered and died for you, but that he lives. And that’s our testimony.
Thank you, Eric. So to finalize this particular episode, I want to take this from the Old Testament to the Book of Mormon, to the early Book of Mormon, which to Jacob and Nephi they saw themselves as Old Testament.
And they were living at the same time.
They were living at the same time. And you’ll notice the vision that Nephi had in chapters eleven through 14 of one Nephi he sees envision the Savior’s Ministry and the Savior’s final events, especially the culmination of that Holy Week. And then later, his brother Jacob says this for for this intent have we written these things that they may know that we knew of Christ and we had a hope of his glory many hundred years before his coming. And not only we ourselves had a hope of his glory, but also all the Holy prophets which were before us. So that’s Jacob lumping in all of these Old Testament prophets having a hope from his perspective. Speaking of this, he goes on to say, Behold, they believed in Christ and worshiped the Father in his name. And also we worship the Father in his name. And for this intent, we keep the law of Moses. It pointing our souls to him. Brothers and sisters, as we finish our prayer, our hope is that everything that we cover, everything that we talk about, all the things we might get excited about, at the end of the day. They’re not entities unto themselves.
They’re not a thing in isolation of heaven. Our hope, like Jacobs, is that all of these elements point our souls to Christ, who will then bring us ultimately to the father. As he has promised. He did die on the cross. He was buried in the tomb. And he was resurrected and sits enthroned in Yonder heavens on the right hand of God to this day. And we leave that with you in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Know that you’re loved.