People Associated With Holy Week

Chris —  February 27, 2014 — 2 Comments

Do you know who everyone associated with Holy Week who is on the below list? Maybe scan the list and see if you can confirm your knowledge.

This year at The Red Brick Church we are working especially hard to see the beauty of Christ as we anticipate Easter. Doing so will give confidence in our faith, encourage our hearts, and focus us more on our King.

Here is the third of several posts. The first was  What Happened During Holy Week and the second was The Places of Holy Week. The goal is to provide our flock with simple reference posts to make sure we can mediate on the beauty of Christ. I am encouraging our church family to consider reading Andreas Kostenberger and Justin Taylor’s new book The Final Week of Jesus.

If you already have everyone’s identity straight – - then consider watching the Tim Keller sermon given below!

Jesus Vindicated – Tim Keller (TGC13) from The Gospel Coalition on Vimeo.

*Refers to those people everyone including small children should know on some level.

*The LORD Jesus Christ is the second person of the triune God, the eternally begotten son of the Father. As God, he has always had a divine nature. When he submitted to the Father’s will and was born of the virgin Mary, he took on a human nature for eternity. His divine and human natures are both complete.[1]

In becoming an ordinary human, Jesus Christ humbled himself. He further humbled himself by being a servant throughout his life on earth. He accomplished the ultimate act of humility by dying a terrible death on the cross. This was particularly humiliating for him because a death on the cross was viewed with great contempt. Although he humbled himself, he was exalted and raised from the dead by the Father and has ascended into heaven where he is now seated at the Father’s right hand. God has exalted him and given him a name that is above all others. One day his exaltation will be complete when he comes again in all his glory.

It is the work of Jesus Christ that makes it possible for people to enter into a redemptive relationship with God. Because of Adam’s sin, all men are guilty of sin. A vast gulf therefore exists between God and all humanity. Jesus Christ is the only one who could span this gulf. He became man, lived a perfect life, suffered all of hell on the cross and died, and was resurrected. In doing so he took God’s wrath on himself, made amends for our sin, defeated Satan, and reconciled his people.

It is significant to note that Jews would have been the last people to believe that God would become incarnate. They would not even say the name of God aloud or write it, much less believe that God became incarnate.[2]

Annas – Former high priest and Caiaphas’s father-in-law. He questioned Jesus during his trial.

Barrabas – A notorious criminal (Matthew 27:16) who was released instead of Jesus.

Caiaphas – A high priest who played a central role in the arrest, trial, and crucifixion of Jesus. Per the Holman Bible Dictionary, “High priest at the time of the trial and crucifixion of Jesus (Matt. 26:3). He was the son-in-law of Annas and a leader in the plot to arrest and execute Jesus. Relatively little is known of his life. He was apparently appointed high priest about a.d. 18 and served until a.d. 36 or 37. His remains have been found in an ossuary box in a burial cave in Jerusalem, which also contains the remains of many of his family members.”

Cleopas – Jesus appeared to Cleopas and an unnamed friend on the road to Emmaus after the resurrection (Luke 24).

Herod Antipas – One of the co-conspirators who brought about the death of Jesus. Approximately thirty years earlier his father, Herod the Great, tried to murder Jesus when he was a baby.

*James the brother of John – One of Jesus’s twelve disciples and in Jesus’s inner circle along with Peter and his brother John. James and John were sometimes called the “sons of thunder” because they asked Jesus if he wanted them to call down fire on a Samaritan village that rejected Christ (Luke 9:54).

*John – The youngest of Jesus’ twelve disciples, John was the author of the Gospel of John and refers to himself within that gospel as “the disciple Jesus loved.” Together, James and John were sometimes called the “sons of thunder” because they asked Jesus if he wanted them to call down fire on a Samaritan village that rejected Christ (Luke 9:54).

Joseph of Arimethea – A wealthy Jewish leader who believed in Jesus but feared what others would think if they found out. He was granted permission to bury Jesus and was assisted by Nicodemus.[3]

*Judas Iscariot – Jesus’s disciple who betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. He was motivated by greed.[4] He committed suicide

*Mary  - The mother of Jesus.

*Mary, Martha, and Lazarus – Close friends of Jesus where he sometimes visited. Jesus comforted Martha and Mary and raised Lazarus from the dead (John 11). Jesus also admonished Martha over being too task oriented (Luke 10:38-42).

*Mary Magdalene – One of the women who followed and supported Jesus (Mark 15:41). She was from Magdala in Galilee. She experienced dramatic healing when seven demons came out of her (Mark 16:9; Luke 8:2). She was a key witness to Jesus’ death (Matt. 27:56, Mark 15:40), burial (Matt. 27:61; Mark 15:47), the empty tomb (Matt. 28:1; Mark 16:1; Luke 24:1–10), and was the first to encounter the risen Christ (John 20:1–18). Her name being listed first may indicate a leadership role among the women.[5]

It is significant that the first eyewitnesses were women. Women were not considered credible witnesses in that culture. The only motivation Luke had to put women in as eye witnesses was because they were really there.[6]

Nicodemus – A member of the Sanhedrin famous for coming to Jesus at night (John 3). He helped Joseph of Arimathea with the burial of Jesus (John 19:39). He also interceded with Jewish leaders on behalf of Jesus (John 7:50).

*Peter / Simon Peter – Peter was in the “inner circle” of the disciples along with the brothers James and John. Peter denied Jesus three times during Holy Week but on Pentecost, by God’s grace, he preached one of the greatest sermons in history only seven weeks later (Acts 2).

Pharisees – A Jewish sect known for zeal in keeping the Law.[7]

*Pontius Pilate – The Roman official who presided over Jesus’s trial. He objected that Jesus did not deserve death but acquiesced to the crowd’s cries to crucify Christ.

Pontius Pilate’s Wife – She sent word to Pilate to have nothing to with “that righteous man, for I have suffered much because of him today in a dream (Matthew 27:19).”

Roman Soldiers – Soldiers carried out the orders to crucify Christ. We know little about them, though a centurion says, “Truly this man was the Son of God (Matthew 47:43, Mark 15:39, Luke 23:47).

Samaritans – “The Samaritans were the descendants of the foreigners who settled in Israel after the Assyrian invasion in 722 BC and with whom the Jews had often unlawfully intermarried.”[8] In Luke’s gospel, immediately after Jesus set his face on Jerusalem, he was rejected by Samaritans because of his commitment to Jerusalem. James and John enquired as to whether or not they should call down fire, demonstrating that they did not understand the nature of Christ’s Kingdom. Jesus rebuked them and went to the cross to take the fire on himself so that the gospel might go out to Samaria and all the world.

Sanhedrin  - The supreme Jewish religious court council in ancient Israel. Jesus appeared before the Sanhedrin. Note than Joseph of Arimathea, who buried Jesus, was one of the Sanhedrin – - so it wasn’t as though all the Sanhedrin were in perfect agreement about Jesus.

*Thieves on the Cross – Two thieves were crucified on either side of Christ. One repented and believed and Jesus promised that he would be with him that day in Paradise (Matthew 27:44, Mark 15:32b, Luke 23:39-43).

*Thomas – One of Jesus’s disciples who was reluctant to believe that Jesus rose from the dead (John 20:24-29). Thomas previously asked Jesus how they would be able to find him when Christ said that he was going to prepare a place (John 14:1-6).

[1] R.C. Sproul, “Did God Die On The Cross?,” Ligonier Ministries, accessed February 27, 2014,

[2] Timothy Keller, “Jesus Vindicated” (presented at the The Gospel Coalition, Orlando, Florida, April 9, 2013), pt. 15:28,

[3] Kostenberger and Taylor, The Final Days of Jesus: The Most Important Week of the Most Important Person Who Ever Lived, 3372.

[4] John R.W. Stott, The Cross of Christ, Kindle 20th Anniversary Edition (Downers Grove: IVP, 2012), 55–58.

[5] Palmer, C. (2003). Mary. In C. Brand, C. Draper, A. England, S. Bond, E. R. Clendenen & T. C. Butler (Eds.), Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary (C. Brand, C. Draper, A. England, S. Bond, E. R. Clendenen & T. C. Butler, Ed.) (1086). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

[6] Keller, “Jesus Vindicated.”

[7] Kostenberger and Taylor, The Final Days of Jesus: The Most Important Week of the Most Important Person Who Ever Lived, 520.

[8] Blomberg, Jesus and the Gospels: An Introduction and Survey, 628. See also Joel B. Green, The Gospel of Luke, ed. Gordon D. Fee, The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997), 405.

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This year at The Red Brick Church we are working especially hard to see the beauty of Christ as we anticipate Easter. Doing so will give confidence in our faith, encourage our hearts, and focus us more on our King.

Here is the second of several posts (see also What Happened During Holy Week) which will help in that endeavor. A lot more will follow. I am encouraging our church family to consider reading Andreas Kostenberger and Justin Taylor’s new book The Final Week of Jesus.

Bethany – A village about 2 miles southeast of Jerusalem on the road to Jericho. It was from Bethany that Jesus sent for the colt to enter Jerusalem and Bethany was the home of Jesus’s friends Mary, Martha, and Lazarus.

*Calvary– Latin equivalent of Golgotha

Emmaus – A town approximately seven miles northwest of Jerusalem. After the resurrection, Jesus appeared to a man named Cleopas and his friend on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24).

*Gethsemane – A garden at the base of the Mount of Olives where Jesus prayed with his disciples the night before he was crucified.

*Golgotha (also called Calvary) –“The place of the skull,” it is the hill outside of Jerusalem where Jesus was crucified.

Jerusalem – The capitol city of Israel where the Temple was located. It is in a mountainous region and was heavily fortified in the time of Jesus.

Mount of Olives – A mountain outside of Jerusalem with Gethsemane at the base. It is where Jesus gave the famous Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24-25, Mark 13:1-7, Luke 21:5-36) in which he predicted the future on Tuesday of Holy Week.

*The Temple – The center of Israel’s worship. The Temple was completely rebuilt by Herod the Great in 20-18 B.C. Many detailed diagrams are available online. See Justin Taylor’s, “What Did the Temple Look Like in Jesus’ Time?”

*The Tomb – After the crucifixion, the Bible tells us that Jesus was placed in a newly hewn tomb (Matthew 27:60, Luke 23:53, John 19:41). There was likely a small, single chamber. Jesus was laid on a bench opposite of the opening. The entrance of the tomb was sealed with a large, disc shaped stone that could be rolled away.

The empty tomb offers compelling evidence that Christ rose victoriously. Lee Strobel writes:

William Lane Craig, who has earned two doctorates and written several books on the Resurrection, presented striking evidence that the enduring symbol of Easter – - the vacant tomb of Jesus – - was a historical reality. The empty grave is reported or implied in extremely early sources – - Mark’s gospel and a creed in First Corinthians 15 – - which date so close to the event that they could not possibly have been products of legend. The fact that the gospels report that women discovered the empty tomb bolsters the story’s authenticity, because women’s testimony lacked credibility in the first century and thus there would have been no motive to report they found the empty tomb if it weren’t true. The site of Jesus’ tomb was known to Christians, Jews, and Romans, so it could have been checked by skeptics. In fact, nobody – - not even the Roman authorities or Jewish leaders – - ever claimed that the tomb still contained Jesus’ body. Instead, they were forced to invent the absurd story that the disciples, despite having no motive or opportunity, had stolen the body – - a theory that not even the most skeptical critic believes today.

*The Upper Room – A room where Jesus met on Thursday of Holy Week with his disciples for the Last Supper. In the Upper Room, Jesus washed the disciples feet and announced the New Covenant. He also taught the disciples and prayed (John 14-17).

Via Dolorosa – The route Jesus took through the narrow streets of Jerusalem to Golgotha while carrying the Cross. The name “via dolorosa” means “way of suffering” or “sorrowful way.”

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It is time to ask if Christians in North America will more effectively be salt and light than churches were in Nazi Germany.

Yesterday, Dr. Albert Mohler gave a talk at Brigham Young University with the title Strengthen the Things that Remain: Human Dignity, Human Rights, and Human Flourishing in a Dangerous Age — An Address at Brigham Young University. That piece of trivia alone, that Mohler is at BYU, should be enough to persuade you to read further.

Mohler’s point in addressing a BYU audience is not that we suddenly find we aren’t so far apart with Mormonism after all. We are! Rather, he is arguing that in light of an environment increasingly hostile to the gospel, we need to identify areas of mutual conviction. Said another way, religious persecution makes for strange bedfellows.

Mohler’s address is profound. His willingness to stand tall for truth reminds me of Bonhoeffer’s situation in Nazi Germany. When forced to consider how Nazi Germany could happen in a country with a Christian heritage, Bonhoeffer concluded it was because a false gospel had been proclaimed. In his book, Embodying Forgiveness, L. Gregory Jones summarizes how cheap grace undermines everything.

Cheap grace denies any real need for deliverance from sin since it justifies the sin instead of the sinner.  As such, cheap grace offers consolation without any change of life, without any sense of either dying or rising in Christ.… Bonhoeffer concluded that…the Lutheran church in Germany had been unable to resist Hitler because cheap grace had triumphed…. Repentance and confession must be practiced in specific and concrete ways, as part of the larger craft of forgiveness, if they are to result in that truthfulness that empowers people for faithful discipleship to Jesus Christ.  That is why Bonhoeffer stressed the importance of church discipline and why he insisted that forgiveness cannot be unconditional. L. Gregory Jones, Embodying Forgiveness, 13, 19.

Listen to Bonhoeffer’s own words.  Keep in mind that Bonhoeffer speaks as a German.  And, this is his explanation for why the church was so ineffective in standing up against the Nazis:

But do we also realize that this cheap grace has turned back on us like a boomerang?  The price we are having to pay today in the shape of the collapse of the organized church is only the inevitable consequence of our policy of making grace available to all at too low a cost.  We gave away the word and sacraments wholesale, we baptized, confirmed, and absolved a whole nation unasked and without condition.  Our humanitarian sentiment made us give that which was holy to the scornful and the unbelieving.  We poured forth unending streams of grace.  But the call to follow Jesus in the narrow way was rarely ever heard. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, A Testament to Freedom, ed. Geffrey B. Kelly and F. Burton Nelson (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1995), 310.

If we are to stand against the evil tides of our day, then we must learn to stand tall for the gospel and dispense with cheap grace. It is going to be increasingly necessary to make speeches like Dr. Mohler’s in which we stand tall for the gospel regardless of the cost. This means continuing to champion a biblical view of marriage and calling abortion the murder that it is.

The below clips are inspiring.

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Wouldn’t it be sweet if this happened?

Cornelius Plantinga:

The point is not that our Lord hopes to catch us napping. Just the opposite. He hopes to catch us wide awake, on the job, eager, expectant, readiness is all.

Yet Jesus’ prediction is that we will be surprised. He will come when we least expect him.

Perhaps one day when we are in church?

See also:

The Pastoral Privilege of Telling Our Flock When Jesus Will Return

Wow that Was Quick

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In an interview with Lee Strobel, (see The Case for Faith: A Journalist Investigates the Toughest Objections to Christianity ) Peter Kreeft reflects on the arrogance of atheism:

Atheism is cheap on people, because it snobbishly says nine out of ten people through history have been wrong about God and have had a lie at the core of their hearts.

Think about that. How is it possible that over ninety percent of all the human beings who have ever lived  – - usually in far more painful circumstances than we – - could believe in God? The objective evidence, just looking at the balance of pleasure and suffering in the world, would not seem to justify believing in an absolutely good God. Yet this has been almost universally believed . . . .

So atheism treats people cheaply. Also, it robs death of meaning, and if death has no meaning, how can life ultimately have meaning? Atheism cheapens everything it touches – - look at the results of communism the most powerful form of atheism on earth.

And in the end, when the atheist dies and encounters God instead of the nothingness he had predicted, he’ll recognize that atheism was a cheap answer because it refused the only thing that’s not cheap – - the God of infinite value.

See also:

Ravi Zacharias: Do You Lock Your Doors at Night?

Mike Wittmer: Help for Doubters

The Modest Ambitions of Science

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What Happened During Holy Week?

Chris —  February 20, 2014 — Leave a comment

This year at The Red Brick Church we are working especially hard to see the beauty of Christ as we anticipate Easter. Here is the first of several posts which will help in that endeavor. A lot more will follow.

Justin Taylor (co-author of The Final Days of Jesus: The Most Important Week of the Most Important Person Who Ever Lived) has previously posted summaries of what happened each day of Holy Week. Follow the below links to see the relevant biblical texts on Justin’s site.

Justin consulted both the ESV Study Bible and Craig Blomberg’s, Jesus and the Gospels: An Introduction and Survey, Second Edition.

Palm Sunday -

  • Jesus, at the Mount of Olives, sends two disciples to secure a donkey and a colt; makes his “triumphal entry” into Jerusalem; weeps over Jerusalem.
  • Jesus enters the temple area, then returns to Bethany.

Monday -

  • On Monday morning Jesus and the Twelve leave Bethany to return to Jerusalem, and along the way Jesus curses the fig tree.
  • Jesus enters Jerusalem and clears the temple.
  • In the evening Jesus and the Twelve leave Jerusalem (returning to Bethany).

Tuesday -

  • Jesus’ disciples see the withered fig tree on their return to Jerusalem from Bethany.
  • Jesus engages in conflict with the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem.
  • The Disciples marvel at the Temple.
  • Jesus delivers the Olivet Discourse (in which he predicts the future) on their return to Bethany from Jerusalem.

Wednesday -

  • Blomberg notes that, “Nothing that has been recorded can be confidently ascribed to Wednesday of Jesus’ final week.” However, others believe that it is on Wednesday that Satan enters Judas, who seeks out the Jewish authorities in order to betray Jesus for a price.
  • The Sanhedrin plot to kill Jesus.

Thursday -

  • Jesus instructs his Peter and John to secure a large upper room in a house in Jerusalem and to prepare for the Passover meal.
  • In the evening Jesus eats the Passover meal with the Twelve, tells them of the coming betrayal, and institutes the Lord’s Supper.
  • During supper Jesus washes the disciples’ feet, interacts with them, and delivers the Upper Room Discourse.
  • Jesus and the disciples sing a hymn together (probably from Psalms 113–118), then depart to the Mount of Olives.
  • Jesus foretells Peter’s denials.
  • Jesus gives his disciples practical commands about supplies and provisions.
  • Jesus and the disciples go to Gethsemane, where he struggles in prayer and they struggle to stay awake late into the night.

Friday -

  • Jesus is betrayed by Judas and arrested by the authorities (perhaps after midnight, early Friday morning).
  • The Disciples all flee.
  • Jewish trial, phase 1: Jesus has a hearing before Annas (former high priest and Caiaphas’s father-in-law).
  • Jewish trial, phase 2: Jesus stands trial before Caiaphas and part of the Sanhedrin. Peter denies Jesus.
  • Perhaps after sunrise, phase 3 of Jesus’ Jewish trial: final consultation before the full Sanhedrin; sent to Pilate.
  • Judas hangs himself.
  • Phase 1 of Jesus’ Roman trial: first appearance before Pontius Pilate; sent to Herod Antipas.
  • Phase 2 of Jesus’ Roman trial: appears before Herod Antipas; sent back to Pontius Pilate.
  • Phase 3 of Jesus’ Roman trial: Jesus’ second appearance before Pilate; condemned to die.
  • Jesus is crucified (from approximately 9 AM until Noon).
  • The sky is dark from noon until 3.
  • Joseph of Arimathea asks permission to inter Jesus in a tomb and does so with the help of Nicodemus (John 19:38-42).

See also the summary from article by B. Corley in Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels: A Compendium of Contemporary Biblical Scholarship (The IVP Bible Dictionary Series):

Corley's Chronology of Jesus's Jewish Trial from the IVP Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels (854)

Corley’s Chronology of Jesus’s Jewish Trial from the IVP Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels (854)

Saturday – See my post, every day is Saturday at the nursing home.

Easter Sunday -

  • Some women arrive at Jesus’ tomb near dawn, probably with Mary Magdalene arriving first.
  • Mary and the other women, instead of finding Jesus’ body, are met by two young men who are angels; one of them announces Jesus’ resurrection.
  • The women, fearful and joyful, leave the garden—at first unwilling to say anything to anyone about this but then changing their mind and going to tell the Eleven.
  • Mary Magdalene likely rushes ahead and tells Peter and John before the other women arrive.
  • The other women, still en route to tell the disciples, are met by Jesus, who confirms their decision to tell the Eleven and promises to meet them in Galilee.
  • The women arrive and tell the disciples that Jesus is risen.
  • Peter and John rush to the tomb (based on Mary Magdalene’s report) and discover it empty.
  • That afternoon Jesus appears to Cleopas and a friend on the road to Emmaus; later Jesus appears to Peter.
  • That evening Jesus appears to the Ten (minus Thomas) in a house (with locked doors) in Jerusalem.

Hoehner’s proposed chronology of Holy Week from the Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels: A Compendium of Contemporary Biblical Scholarship (The IVP Bible Dictionary Series) is also helpful though it differs in some of the details from the chronology proposed above.

H.W. Hoehner Chronology of Holy Week in IVP Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels (120)

H.W. Hoehner Chronology of Holy Week in IVP Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels (120)

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Ravi Zacharias is asked, “Why are you afraid of subjective moral reasoning? What are you so afraid of?”


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As I’ve mentioned in recent days – - I am working on an Easter Primer for our church family. I want to include recommendations for hymns that focus on the Cross and the Resurrection.

So far I have the following:

Alas and Did My Savior Bleed

“Here is Love”

“When I Survey the Wondrous Cross”

“Were You There?”

“In Christ Alone”

“Christ the Lord Has Risen Today”

What am I missing? Which is your favorite?


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Last week, I posted a basic explanation of the atonement. In summary, the atonement references how sinners can be made right with God.

Earlier this week, I pointed out that in order that we might grasp both the problem sin creates, and the solution for how sinners can be right with God, the Bible describes sin using different pictures including debt, enmity, and crime. See here.

In his immensely accessible book, Essential Truths of the Christian Faith, R.C. Sproul stresses that the orthodox Christian understanding of the atonement has involves the ideas of both substitution and satisfaction.

Orthodox Christianity has insisted that the Atonement involves substitution and satisfaction. In taking God’s curse upon Himself, Jesus satisfied the demands of God’s holy justice. He received God’s wrath for us, saving us from the wrath that is to come (1 Thessalonians 1:10).

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Parenting Links

Chris —  February 11, 2014 — 1 Comment

DSC00039Seize the moment with your children! Soon enough you will long for the days of Legos. And investment now will pay great dividends in the future.

The following links are to short practical posts for parents.

We all want to be written into the story – On telling kids stories
Specific Prayer Gives Particular Encouragement - A strategy for teaching children to pray

Suggested Verbiage for Asking for a Daughter’s Hand

The worst drug is one you give someone else for your own benefit- Do you give your children this drug? How often?
Parents Memorize This Speech – It will help you say “No!”
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