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The Alex McFarland Show-52-Holy Week

Alex McFarland Show / Alex McFarland
The Truth Network Radio
April 6, 2023 12:00 am

The Alex McFarland Show-52-Holy Week

Alex McFarland Show / Alex McFarland

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April 6, 2023 12:00 am

 The week leading up to Christ’s death and resurrection is often referred to as “Passion Week” or “Holy Week.” On today’s episode of the Alex McFarland Show, Alex walks his listeners through the significance of each day from Palm Sunday, to Resurrection Sunday. He also explains where Good Friday got its name, and the hopeful assurance of salvation that believers can experience through faith in Christ Jesus. 

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The spiritual condition of America, politics, culture, and current events, analyzed through the lens of Scripture.

Welcome to the Alex McFarland Show. Christ the Lord is risen today. Sons of men and angels say, raise your joys and triumphs high. Sing, ye heavens and earth, reply, Christ is risen. Those words were written by Charles Wesley, famed minister and composer.

If you're hearing this, it's probably Easter Sunday, although it might be aired in some parts of the country on Friday or Saturday. But I want to talk about what is commonly called, not only the Resurrection, Resurrection Sunday, but Passion Week. And I want to talk about the order of events that led Christ up to this point of being crucified, buried in the grave, risen the third day, and really give an overview of some of the major events of what we call Holy Week.

I appreciate you listening, and I do want to remind everybody, as I'm sure you probably know, this is, as I've said in many interviews and in articles, this is the fact on which the other facts rest. If Jesus arose, and the evidence is compelling that He did, then everything we believe about the Christian faith is proven. God exists, God has intervened in the world, miracles are possible, salvation has been purchased, the Bible is the Word of God. I mean, if Jesus really rose from the dead, this validates who He is and what He taught. Who is He, the Son of God? What did He teach that the Bible is the Word of God, that salvation is available to whosoever will come? And so this is so vital and so important to talk about.

So let's kind of, for the next few minutes, do a deep dive and look at these facts. You know, I really think it's interesting how much space the four Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, how much space they devote to the last week of Jesus' life on earth. There are a total of 89 chapters in all four Gospels.

Now, of those, 30 chapters deal with the final week of Jesus' time on earth. That's, you know, one third of the Gospels. 34% of the Gospels, actually.

Now think about this. Four chapters deal with Christ's infancy. That's 4% of the Gospels.

55 chapters deal with Christ's public ministry. That's 62% of the Gospels. But 30 chapters deal with Jesus' Passion Week and Resurrection. That's 34% of all the Gospel content.

And these numbers led theologian Andy Naselli to say, the Gospels are essentially Passion narratives with extended introductions. Because really everything prior leads up to the week that the Lord went to the cross and paid for our sins. And we're going to go through these steps of Jesus from Palm Sunday through Resurrection Sunday.

And let's look at the major events occurring on each day. You know, I really do love the Resurrection. Every now and then people will ask, you know, what is your favorite part of the Bible? And I love Christmas. Oh boy, do I love Christmas, really. And it's just so wonderful how in fulfillment of all the prophecies Christ came.

And I mean, you think about this. Satan was defeated. Sin was paid for. Death, the grave, were buried. And how did God Almighty make provision for the salvation of the human race? The defeat of evil, Satan the demons, and usher along world history to that glorious moment that is coming soon when we'll be with Christ in heaven forever. God did it with a baby.

A baby in a manger. And not with hate, but with love. And not with law, but with grace.

I mean, it really is beautiful and it's not a cliche at all to say this truly is the greatest story ever told. Somebody once wrote that said Easter proves this. The Resurrection of Christ proves this.

You can put truth in a grave, but it won't stay there. Jesus is alive. Well, day one, a week ago, churches around the world commemorated Palm Sunday, very often called the triumphal entry. Now on the Sunday before his death, Jesus goes to Jerusalem knowing that he would lay down his life for our sins. And he comes to the village of Bethphage.

And the word Bethphage means house of unripe figs. And he told his disciples to go ahead and find a donkey and its unbroken colt. And the disciples were to untie the animals and bring them to Jesus. And Jesus sits on this young donkey and humbly goes into Jerusalem. And this, by the way, was a fulfillment of Zechariah 9, verse 9, written 500 years before the birth of Christ.

Zechariah 9 says, quote, rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion, shout, daughter of Jerusalem. See, your king comes to you righteous, having salvation, gently riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. Now his ministry had been going on for three years. He had healed people. He had taught the way of God. He had promised that his kingdom would come. And let me just say this, that the eager citizens, yeah, they were hopeful to be out from under the rule of Rome. But I've got to say, here comes the loving Savior teaching forgiveness and restoration and grace. And I think the people were gathered because they were desirous to be out from under the legalistic, rigid, humorless, cold rule of the Sadducees and Pharisees. And all that salvation promises, they saw in Jesus. So they welcomed him.

They waved palm branches. They said, Hosanna to the Son of David. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, Hosanna in the highest. Now, on Palm Sunday, Jesus and his disciples, they spend the night in Bethany. By the way, Bethany means, quote, house of affliction. This is two miles east of Jerusalem. And by the way, this is the very same place where Lazarus had been raised from the dead. Lazarus lived in Bethany with his two sisters, Mary and Martha. And so Jesus and his disciples stayed there for at least a couple of nights during Jesus' final days in Jerusalem. The triumphal entry is recorded in Matthew 12, Mark 11, Luke 19, and John 12. But the second day, Monday, Jesus clears the temple there in Jerusalem.

And Jesus had cursed the fig tree that didn't bear fruit. But now there's really going to be another judgment. They go in the temple.

The courts are full of the money changers. And Jesus overturns tables. In Luke 19, 46, he says, the scriptures declare my temple will be a house of prayer, but you've turned it into a den of thieves.

And so he clears the temple. And this is recorded in Matthew 21, Mark 11, Luke 19. And on Monday evening, Jesus and the disciples stay in Bethany again, very probably in the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus. Well, when we come back, we're going to look at some of the other events that happen Tuesday through Friday through Easter Sunday.

Stay tuned. Happy Easter. Christ is risen.

We'll be back right after this. Fox News and CNN call Alex McFarland a religion and culture expert. Stay tuned for more of his teaching and commentary after this. We unify by collaborating with like minded organizations like the Family Research Council, the Family Policy Alliance and My Faith Votes. We mobilize by providing practical tools you can use to impact your local community.

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He's been called trusted, truthful and timely. Welcome back to The Alex McFarland Show. Welcome back to the program.

Alex McFarland here. We're talking about the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. And I say this that the tomb was left empty so that your life could be made full. And I hope you know that risen Lord Jesus.

He's as close by as a prayer. Before the break, we talked about the events of Palm Sunday and Passion Week Monday. Now let's talk about day three. On Tuesday, Jesus goes to the Mount of Olives.

Things are going to turn. And as you'll see as we go through the days of Passion Week, everything gets more and more pronounced, more and more intense. But on Tuesday morning, Jesus and his disciples make the two mile walk back to Jerusalem. They passed the withered fig tree, and Jesus spoke to the disciples about the importance of faith and trust in God. Now they're back at the temple, and no doubt the religious leaders, they were upset because Jesus has established himself as a spiritual authority.

And he had overturned the tables of the money changers, and he said, My house. I mean, think of the audacity. He calls the temple his place of worship.

That's not audacious, though, when that's truth. And yes, it is true that, as he said in the Gospel of Luke, he, the Son of Man, is Lord. L-O-R-D. The Lord of the Sabbath. In the Gospel of John, chapter 20, Jesus says, You call me Lord, and so I am. So the religious leaders are upset about this, and they organize an ambush to place him under arrest. Jesus pronounces a harsh judgment on them in Matthew 23, 24 through 33, Jesus says, Blind guides, your whitewashed tombs, beautiful on the outside, but inside filled with dead men's bones. And he calls them, my goodness, the hypocrisy he calls out, and he says, Snakes, son of vipers, how will you escape the judgment of hell? And of course the answer is, without Jesus, nobody can.

But he lays down hard truth. And then, by the afternoon of Tuesday, they go to the Mount of Olives, which is east of the temple, overlooks Jerusalem, and Jesus gives a sermon that is commonly called the Olivet Discourse. Now this is a long sermon about the end of time, the destruction of Jerusalem, the end of the age, and he talks about his second coming and the final judgment. I would really encourage you to read what is often called the Olivet Discourse.

Something else is going on here as well. In Matthew 26, 14 through 16, on Tuesday, we read, This is the day that Judas Iscariot goes to negotiate with the Sanhedrin, the rabbinical court of ancient Israel. And Judas makes the deal to betray Jesus.

And so this is a heavy day, a tiring, probably very draining day. Of course, the Lord knows what awaits him, the immeasurable pain of the crucifixion. And so Jesus and the disciples go back to Bethany to stay the night. And really the rigorous events of Tuesday and the Olivet Discourse are recorded in Matthew 21, Mark 11, Luke 20, and John 12. Now, let's talk about Wednesday, which is sometimes called the Day of Silence. And really the Bible doesn't clearly say what Jesus did on the Wednesday of Passion Week. Now, I realize that some people, regarding the time in the tomb, there are some people that insist Jesus had to be in the grave 72 hours.

Later on, I'm going to talk about why that is not the case. And there have been people that argued for a Wednesday crucifixion. There are people that argued for a Thursday crucifixion. I believe that Jesus was crucified on Friday, and I think the Scripture is very clear on that.

But that's not something we're going to burn a bridge over. The great thing is He died on the cross and rose from the dead. But Wednesday, most scholars believe that Jesus and His disciples spent the Wednesday resting in Bethany, getting ready for Passover. Now, just previously, Jesus had shared with the disciples, and really all that would read the Gospels ultimately, that He had power over death by rising Lazarus from the grave. And people in Bethany saw that miracle, and they believed Jesus was the Son of God, because He raised Lazarus. And then, of course, later Lazarus' sister Mary had anointed the feet of Jesus with expensive perfume. Let's go on to Day 5, Thursday, the day of the Passover. And what we celebrate is Monde Thursday, from the Latin word mandate.

Do likewise, love, serve one another. But Thursday, things in Holy Week really take a somber turn, because Jesus sends Peter and John to go ahead to the upper room in Jerusalem to make preparations for the Passover feast. And that evening, on Thursday at sunset, Jesus washes the feet of the disciples, and a very humble act of service. Church. I've seen the movie twice, and people in the theaters were both times, you know, wiping tears away.

It was very moving. But that's what Jesus did. On Thursday, Jesus showed the example of how believers should love one another.

And even to this day, some churches practice foot washing ceremonies as part of their Monde Thursday services. And in Luke 22, I want to read the New Living Translation. Jesus said to the disciples, I've been very eager to eat this Passover meal with you before my suffering begins. For I tell you now that I won't eat this meal again until its meaning is fulfilled in the kingdom of God. Now Jesus, who is the Lamb of God, John said that in John chapter 1, the Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world, He is about to not only commemorate Passover with this meal, but Jesus is going to fulfill the meaning of Passover by giving His body to be broken, His blood to be shed in sacrifice, and that would free us from sin and death.

And so in this Last Supper, Jesus is establishing what we call the Lord's Supper, very often called Communion, by sharing the elements of the bread and the wine. And after this, of course, Jesus, they leave the upper room and they go to the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus prays in agony, really, to God the Father. And in Luke 22, 44, Jesus experiences what later would come to be called hematidrosis, a medical condition that Luke 22, 44 says, His sweat became like great drops of blood falling to the ground.

He sweated drops of blood, which is a legitimate medical circumstance when people are under incredible stress and duress. But later in the Garden of Gethsemane, of course, here comes Judas with soldiers, religious leaders. Jesus is betrayed by a kiss, and He's arrested, taken to the home of Caiaphas, the high priest. By the way, if you go to Israel, you can go to the home of Caiaphas. We've been there, and you will see the actual tiles, the floor where Jesus stood, where He was accused and the council gathered to make their case against Him. Well, we're going to come back in just a moment and talk about the final days of Passion Week culminating in the great resurrection of our Lord and Savior. Stay with us. Fox News and CNN call Alex McFarland a religion and culture expert.

Stay tuned for more of his teaching and commentary after this. In recent years, our nation has suffered greatly and we seem to be on a rapid moral decline. We've rejected God, morality, and we've almost completely lost our sense of patriotism. It's no wonder that many are asking the question, is this the end of America? Hi, Alex McFarland here, and I want to make you aware of my book, The Assault on America, How to Defend Our Nation Before It's Too Late. You know, our nation has seen politicians that are corrupted by greed and they've got a vested interest in power, and many of our elected officials seem to care little about the country that they've been appointed to serve. Read my book, The Assault on America, We Can Stand Up for Our Great Nation and Defend America Before It's Too Late.

It's available everywhere. You can learn more on my own website, which is Read the book, The Assault on America, How to Defend Our Nation Before It's Too Late. He's been called trusted, truthful, and timely. Welcome back to The Alex McFarland Show. Welcome back to the program.

Alex McFarland here. We'll resume our look at the events of Holy Week and the Resurrection. I do want to remind you, you can find my tour schedule at

I've got some very special things coming up. July 7 through 9, the Billy Graham Training Center in western North Carolina, The Cove. If you go to, T-H-E-C-O-V-E dot org, put my name in the space bar. You'll find out about my time there July 7 through 9.

I would love to see you at The Cove. And then, of course, we've got our youth camps, six youth camps all over America. And the website for the youth camps is,

And it's for middle school and high schoolers. And look, folks, we've got to woke-proof the kids. And tell them about God and country. And I say this about our summer youth worldview camps.

Invest a week that will count for a lifetime. And then, of course, the Faith and Family Retreat at Pigeon Forge in Dollywood, August 6 through 11. And you can go to Faith and Family Retreat. I would love to see you there. But folks, please, whatever you can do to support all that we're doing.

$85 tax-deductible donation will underwrite a day of camp for a young person. And we're growing. We're walking by faith. People are getting saved. People are getting equipped to help stand for truth at this desperate hour of our nation's history. All that you can do to pray for us and financially invest, you can give securely online at, or you can mail in a contribution. Just make it to TNG, T-N-G, as in Truth for a New Generation. You can mail in a tax-deductible contribution to P.O.

Box 485, Pleasant Garden, North Carolina, 27313. And please, pray for us and know that our friends like you that are helping us call America to God, especially call young people to truth, and oh my goodness, they are hungry for it. Thank you for your prayers and support, and we will be faithful with it, I assure you. Well, you know, we've been talking about the events there on Thursday, and Jesus is arrested in the garden. And throughout the night and into the early morning hours, Jesus will be accused and tried. While this is going on, Peter denies the Lord three times, and the rooster crows. All of this, you can find it in Matthew 26, Mark 14, Luke 22, and John 13. But you may recall, and this could be a show in itself, but basically a three-fold travesty takes place in the trials of Jesus through the night. And according to Jewish custom, people were not to be tried after sundown, and yet through the night Jesus is taken before Annas, before Caiaphas, before the Sanhedrin, and then the Roman political trials.

He stands before Pilate on two occasions, but the first time, then he is sent to Herod Antipas, that's in Luke 23, then he goes back to Pilate a final time, and then he's really given to the hands of the Roman soldiers. This is in Matthew 27 and Mark 15 and John 19. And he is mocked, he's beaten, and then finally we get to the most difficult day, really emotional, jarring day of the Passion Week, which is Friday, called Good Friday, because it's good in that even though this evil and pain takes place, it makes it possible for us to be saved. Now, according to Scripture, Judas, who had betrayed Jesus, was overcome with remorse. He tries to give, well he does give the money back, but he can't undo what his evil has set in motion. And early Friday morning, Judas hangs himself.

Isn't it something? There's one death in sin, Judas. Later that day there would be a death for sin, Jesus Christ. Okay, before the third hour, before 9 a.m. Friday, Jesus has endured the false accusations, the mockery, beatings, the abandonment, after multiple unlawful trials. He is sentenced to death by crucifixion, incredibly painful. He is led away, the soldiers spit on him, they torment him, and mock him and put on him a crown of thorns. And he carries his cross to Calvary and he is further mocked and insulted as the Roman soldiers nail him to the cross. Now on the cross he makes, you know, very famously seven statements.

Father, forgive them, they do not know what they're doing. And his last words, Father, into your hands I commend my spirit. This is 3 p.m. in the afternoon, what's called the ninth hour. Jesus breathes his last and yields up his spirit.

Now, by 6 p.m. on this day, now this is the day of preparation. This is the day before the Saturday Sabbath. Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, they take Jesus' body down from the cross and they ceremonially treat him with burial spices. This is in John 19.

Seventy-five pounds of ointment and spices and they, following Jewish burial custom, put him in the tomb. Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea both would have been members of the Sanhedrin, the court that condemned Jesus to death. And they had secretly been believers, but they were deeply impacted by Christ's death.

And coming out of hiding and boldly asking for his body, which was granted, I mean this risked their reputations and everything that their life had been built on to that point. But you can read about this in Matthew 27, Mark 15, Luke 22, and John 18. Okay, Saturday Jesus is in the tomb, his body is guarded by Roman soldiers. It's interesting that the Sabbath day, this is Saturday, and Matthew 27, and this is one more proof that Jesus must have been crucified on a Friday, because Matthew 27, 62 through 66 records that the Jewish leaders go and convene a meeting on Saturday with the Roman authorities. It says the next day, after preparation day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. So the day after preparation day, preparation day is Friday, and so on Saturday, Christ is in the tomb, they go, and they say, you know, put a guard, seal the tomb, because this deceiver, that's what they refer to Jesus as, said he would rise from the dead. And Pilate says, go and make the tomb as secure as you know how, and the guards are there. But let's talk about, with the time we have left, the great day, Resurrection Sunday. On Sunday morning, the first day of the week, several women, Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Salome, and Mary the mother of James, they go to the tomb.

Matthew 28, 5 and 6, the angel says, do not be afraid. I know you're looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here. He is risen from the dead, just as he said. And on this day of his resurrection, Jesus makes at least five appearances.

Mark says the first person to see him was Mary Magdalene. Jesus also appears to Peter, to two disciples on the road to Emmaus, later to all the disciples, except Thomas, as they were gathered in a house of prayer. And these eyewitness accounts in the Gospels prove what Christians have believed for 2,000 years, the undeniable empirical evidence that Jesus had risen. In Luke 24, Jesus says, touch me. You'll see that a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as you see that I have. And of course, 1 Corinthians 15 talks about the fact that 500 brethren at once saw Jesus alive. And think about this, two millennia after his death, followers of Christ still flock to Jerusalem to see that empty tomb.

And the events of Resurrection Sunday are recorded in Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, and John chapter 20. Christ is risen. And that mandates a response. And even if you say, you know, I don't really want to think about this, I'll deal with this later. Some other time, some other way.

That is a response. And so Jesus invites you with open arms, whosoever will may come. John 6, 37, one of my favorite verses. Christ says, the one who comes to me I will in no way reject. Have you come to him? Listen, if you need to come to Jesus, or if you need to come back to Jesus, it would be our joy to help you know him personally.

On our website,, there's a tab. What does God say about my relationship with him? If you need spiritual help, we'd love to encourage you to know Christ personally.

And you can do that even right now today. He says close by as a prayer. Charles Wesley was right. Christ the Lord is risen today. Rejoice, heaven and earth. May God bless you.

Thank you for listening. And may the name of our risen Lord forever be praised. Alex McFarland Ministries are made possible through the prayers and financial support of partners like you. For over 20 years, this ministry has been bringing individuals into a personal relationship with Christ and has been equipping people to stand strong for truth. Learn more and donate securely online at You may also reach us at Alex McFarland, P.O. Box 10231, Greensboro, North Carolina 27404. Or by calling 1-877-Yes-God-1. That's 1-877-YES-GOD1. Thanks for joining us. We'll see you again on the next edition of the Alex McFarland Show.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-11 00:12:17 / 2023-04-11 00:23:16 / 11

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