What a Week!
Part 2: The Good Friday Story

On Palm Sunday, Jesus entered Jerusalem to the excitement and joy of many people. By the afternoon of Friday of the same week, Jesus was dead. The same people who had welcomed him so enthusiastically a few days earlier rejected him. What had happened?

After Jesus entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, he spent time preaching and teaching the people about God and Heaven and about Himself, the Son of God. While many people heard Him gladly, many others did not. One group that especially disliked Jesus was the chief priests and religious leaders of Israel. Many others expected Jesus to be a military hero like King David who would overthrow the rulers of Israel, the Romans. By Thursday evening, the religious leaders had decided to find a way to kill Jesus, and many in the general population were disappointed Jesus hadn't destroyed the Romans. Even one of Jesus' disciples, Judas Iscariot, had decided to betray Jesus to the priests.

On Thursday evening, the time for the Passover feast had come. Jesus and His disciples gathered together for the meal. During this meal, the Last Supper, Jesus told His disciples many things. One thing He told them was that one of them was going to betray Him. While the disciples were in shock and dismayed over this statement, Jesus told Judas to go do what he must. Later that evening, Jesus and some of the disciples went to the garden of Gethsemane where Jesus could pray. Not long after Jesus finished praying, Judas and some officers from the priests came and arrested Jesus.

Jesus was brought before the religious Supreme Court, the Sanhedrin, who falsely accused and convicted Jesus of blasphemy, a crime punishable by death back then. However, they had to have the approval of the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, to put Jesus to death. Pilate could find nothing wrong with Jesus that was worthy of death, but was afraid of the people. When he offered to the people to release either Jesus or another condemned man, most of the people wanted the other man. Pilate released this man and sent Jesus away to be crucified.

Crucifixion was a terrible way to be put to death. Around 9:00 on Friday morning, Jesus was taken with two other condemned men and was crucified on a hill outside Jerusalem called Calvary. While He was on the cross, Jesus asked for forgiveness of even the people who had put him on the cross. One of the men crucified with Jesus, a thief, asked Jesus to remember him when He came into His kingdom. Jesus promised the thief that he would be with him in Paradise (Heaven) that day. Around 3:00 that afternoon, Jesus voluntarily died. He was taken from the cross and buried in a nearby tomb that had been cut out of rock. To His disciples and followers, they could hardly believe what had happened. How dejected they must have felt.

In the third and final episode, we see how despair turned to joy as this story concludes. We will explain why all these things had to happen this way, and why what would seem to be an awful day would be called Good Friday.