Giotto De Bondone, Entry into Jerusalem, 1304-1306
Thus it begins. Palm branches and cloaks are scattered on the ground for Jesus of Nazareth. He comes to Jerusalem with his twelve disciples. They are come to celebrate the Passover.
The Gospel of Mark 14:12-15
12 On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, when it was customary to sacrifice the Passover lamb, Jesus’ disciples asked him, “Where do you want us to go and make preparations for you to eat the Passover?”
13 So he sent two of his disciples, telling them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him.
14 Say to the owner of the house he enters, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’
15 He will show you a large room upstairs, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there.”
The disciples do as Jesus commands. They prepare that upstairs room for the celebration of the Passover. There will be thirteen of them. Jesus and the twelve disciples. They share the meal together.
Leonardo Da Vinci, The Last Supper, 1495-1498
The Gospel of Mark 14:17-2517 When evening came, Jesus arrived with the Twelve.18 While they were reclining at the table eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me—one who is eating with me.”19 They were saddened, and one by one they said to him, “Surely you don’t mean me?”20 “It is one of the Twelve,” he replied, “one who dips bread into the bowl with me.21 The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.”22 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take it; this is my body.”23 Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and they all drank from it.24 “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many,” he said to them.25 “Truly I tell you, I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”
The words that Jesus uses during the meal are new. But betrayal is old. Who have we betrayed? The disciples ask that same question. Which of us is the one who betrays Him? It is Judas Iscariot. His betrayal is done with a kiss. All this for thirty pieces of silver.
Duccio di Buoninsegna, Betrayal, from back of Maesta, 1308-11
Then follow the trials of Jesus. First, he was taken to the religious leaders: Annas, then to Caiaphas, the high priest. Finally he was bound over and sent to Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of Judea.
Michael Munkácsy, Christ before Pilate, 1881
Against his better judgement, and the pleading of his wife, Pontious Pilate condemns Jesus to death by crucifixion.
Albrecht Dürer, Woodcut of the Crucifixion, 1509
Anthony van Dyck, Crucifixion, 1629-1630
While on the Cross, Jesus Christ, is reported to have spoken seven times. They are reported in a variety of different places in scripture.
- “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34)
- When the criminal on the cross next to Jesus spoke to him saying: “Jesus remember me when you come into your Kingdom” Jesus replied “Truly I say to you this day will you be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:42-43)
- Jesus saw his mother standing beside a disciple and spoke to them both: “Woman, behold thy son! Behold thy mother!” (John 19:26-27)
- “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46 )
- “I thirst.” (John 19:28)
- “Father, into Your hands I commit my spirit.” (Luke 23:46)
- “It is finished.” (John 19:30)
Jesus’ lifeless body was lowered to the ground. Many have attempted to depict what the mother of Jesus felt at that time.
Michelangelo Buonarroti, Pieta, 1498-99
But there was much to be done and time was limited.
The Gospel of John, chapter 19: 38-42
38 And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus.
39 And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight.
40 Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury.
41 Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid.
42 There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews’ preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand.
Sisto Badalocchio, The Entombment of Christ, 1610
The Agnus Dei is part of the liturgy of the church, used during the celebration of Holy Communion which is also called the Eucharist.
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world,
have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world,
grant us peace.
It is based on scripture. Agnus Dei are the Latin words for Lamb of God which is a title for Jesus (John 1:29), where John the Baptist sees Jesus and exclaims, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”
Francisco de Zurbarán, Agnus Dei, 1635-1640; (note, Latin text to the Agnus Dei has been added to the painting)
If you have gotten this far you have travelled from Passion or Palm Sunday, through the last week of Lent to Maundy Thursday, which is the night that the Last Supper is commemorated, and Good Friday, which is the day on which Christ was crucified. Now he laid in that tomb, provided by Joseph of Arimathaea, for two nights, Friday and Saturday. But strangely enough, when women came to the tomb on Sunday, the stone had been rolled away, and he was not there. Should you want to learn more, you can read about it here: The Gospel of John, chapter 20.