The Story of Passion Week (As Told by the FSB)

RisenIndeed The last week of Jesus’ ministry, often called Passion Week, was packed with action—powerful teaching, bold confrontation, intrigue, and prophecy both fulfilled and made anew. Explore it all with the free Faithlife Study Bible app.

Passion Week begins when Jesus rides into the Jerusalem on a donkey to the adulation and cries of, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” The account is recorded in several different places in Scripture, but the most detailed is found in Matthew 21:1–11. The study notes accompanying that passage include an detailed and visually interesting infographic:

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In this one event, Jesus fulfilled a number of Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah, something he did no less than 68 times in his life. This chart details each of them:

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Jesus found many opportunities to preach throughout Passion Week. The Parable of the Two Sons (Matthew 21:28–32), Parable of the Tenants (Matthew 21:33–45), Parable of the Wedding Feast (Matthew 22:1–14), The Great Commandment (Matthew 22:34–40), and the Seven Woes to the Scribes and Pharisees (Matthew 23:1–36). And whenever Jesus taught, the religious leaders were close by to challenge him. One of their Passion Week challenges came in the form of a trick question about taxes, intended to trap Jesus. The Pharisees asked him if it was lawful to pay Roman taxes—a clever question because whether Jesus answered yes or no, the answer could be used against him. Jesus managed to answer without giving them the ammunition they anticipated. The Faithlife Study Bible notes explain: “Jesus both settles the matter and avoids incriminating Himself. The coin had Caesar’s image and title on it, and therefore by extension, belonged to Caesar—it was his currency. However, if Caesar got his due, God should likewise receive His due—the whole earth is His and everything in it (Psalm 24:1). What they were required to give God was of far greater worth than a coin—their entire lives. The currency of the kingdom of God is based on following Christ.” The Faithlife Study Bible also includes this great image so we can visualize the coin in question:

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After this, the religious leaders in Israel began making plans to kill Jesus. Scripture uses a unique word to describe their actions—dolos. It means deceitful, underhanded, or treacherous. The FSB’s study notes point it out and suggest that Matthew used it to contrast Jesus’ innocence and righteousness. I also see a link to A Greek–English Lexicon of the New Testament, since I have that book in my Logos library (don’t forget that books you get on Logos.com network automatically with your other resources to make them more powerful). The last night of Jesus’ ministry was spent with his disciples celebrating the Jewish holiday of Passover. He instituted our New Testament observance of communion in the midst of the Passover celebration. Afterward, Jesus and his disciples walked from the city to pray in the Garden of Gethsemane, where he would be arrested later that evening. We sent a video-production team to Israel to capture images and video of important locations like this. You can take a virtual stroll through the garden in the study notes on Matthew 26:36:

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Judas Iscariot, one of Jesus’ disciples, led his enemies to the garden where they could arrest him in secret. Ten of the disciples fled, but Peter jumped to his defense, wounding a servant of the High Priest. Jesus intervened, reminding him that the armies of heaven stood ready to defend them all, but he chose not to call on them. The religious leaders of Israel bribed witnesses to accuse him in a secret trial held in the council chamber. The Faithlife Study Bible includes this image, helping you imagine the setting:

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They found him guilty, but lacked the authority to carry out the death sentence they sought, so they brought Jesus to appear before Pontius Pilate, the Roman Prefect in Jerusalem. For years, Scripture was the only record of Pilate. Many skeptics denied his existence until an inscription was uncovered by Robert Bull in 1982. With this archaeological discovery, the details of the biblical narrative were once again confirmed accurate:

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Though Pilate did not want to order Jesus’ execution at first, eventually he succumbed to the public pressure whipped up by the religious leaders. Jesus was crucified outside the city walls at a place called Golgotha, which means “place of the skull.” Protestant archaeologists in the nineteenth century identified this hill as the most likely spot because its location fits the biblical description and the rock formation does resemble a skull. The Faithlife Study Bible includes this image:

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If the story ended there, we probably would not know it today. But of course, Jesus did not stay dead. Three days after his execution, two women traveled to his tomb to pay their respects and felt an earthquake beneath them. When they arrived at the tomb, they found it empty. An angel told them not to fear, because Jesus had risen from the dead. The account is recorded in Matthew 28, and the Faithlife Study Bible puts it this way:

This chapter contains the most important event in human history: the resurrection of Jesus the Messiah from the dead. In fulfillment of his prediction, He conquers the grave and rises again to life.

So we celebrate, once a week on Sunday and once a year on Easter, the victory that Jesus won over death, hell, and the grave. He is risen. He is risen indeed.

To explore Passion Week and the rest of Scripture in a new way, download the free Faithlife Study Bible on your smartphone or tablet today.

10 Powerful Quotes about Faith

We’ve compiled 10 quotes on faith to give you a quick source of inspiration. Pick your favorites, then share them with your friends and loved ones for a dose of encouragement.

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“Faith does not eliminate questions. But faith knows where to take them.” —Elisabeth Elliot

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“Worrying is arrogant because God knows what He’s doing.” —Barbara Cameron

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“He said, ‘Love . . . as I have loved you.’ We cannot love too much.” —Amy Carmichael

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“We never grow closer to God when we just live life. It takes deliberate pursuit and attentiveness.” —Francis Chan  

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“Always, everywhere God is present, and always He seeks to discover Himself to each one.” —A.W. Tozer

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“Our anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strengths.” —Charles H. Spurgeon

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“What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” —A.W. Tozer

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“God never hurries. There are no deadlines against which he must work. Only to know this is to quiet our spirits and relax our nerves.” —A.W. Tozer

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“Forgiveness is unlocking the door to set someone free and realising you were the prisoner!” —Max Lucado

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“God’s definition of what matters is pretty straightforward. He measures our lives by how we love.” —Francis Chan

Help Others Discover the Faithlife Study Bible

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The Faithlife Study Bible app has been downloaded by more than a quarter million people. Every day, it helps thousands connect with God by unlocking the truths of Scripture with a modern English translation, layers of study notes, rich multimedia, and several included devotionals.

We want even more people to fall in love with the Word of God through the Faithlife Study Bible app. And few things are more important to that goal than honest, helpful app-store reviews.

Since you love the Faithlife Study Bible, take a moment to review it in your app store of choice. Be specific, and be honest. We’d love a positive review (Proverbs 22:1), but if we can improve on something, we want to hear about that too!

Help more people find Faithlife—take a minute to go review the Faithlife Study Bible: Google Play | iTunes App Store | Amazon Appstore

 

Shane & Shane: Poised to Change Worship Ministry Forever

Shane Everett and Shane Barnard formed the duo Shane & Shane after meeting in College Station, Texas in the late 1990s. Since then, the pair has logged countless hours on the road, garnered multiple Dove Awards, enjoyed numerous A-list tour slots, and sold millions of tracks. Now husbands and fathers, the two men have set their sights on a more ambitious project—The Worship Initiative.

As they were touring, they always made time to invest in the development of other musicians, worship leaders, and songwriters. They recognized a need for formal training and encouragement in this community, so they constructed a plan to mentor from afar, challenging others to consider their calling, consider their craft, and consider creating.

They started by gathering some of their favorite musicians to record 100 songs, shooting video tutorials of each instrument. Add to that some powerful worship devotionals and a 14-week songwriting class, and you have something groundbreaking. At the heart of it all is an unwavering commitment to God’s Word. In their own words:

Logos Bible Software has changed the way we study God’s Word. We are so grateful for their commitment to making the Word of God and resources surrounding it available to us and the church.

Shane & Shane is just the latest in a string of musicians to acknowledge they use Logos Bible Software in their songwriting process. As we’ve often said, serious Bible study demands serious Bible study software; and songwriting at a high level definitely demands serious Bible study.

With new 24-month payment plans, Logos 5 is more affordable than ever before. Visit Logos.com/WhyLogos5 to explore everything Logos can do.

Enter to Win a MacBook Air and Tickets to Ligonier Ministries’ Conference

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Our friends at Ligonier Ministries are coming to Seattle. Make plans to be there for 2 days of top-tier Bible teaching. Save when you register early, and while you’re at it, enter below for a chance to win a Bible study prize pack that includes a MacBook Air, Logos 5 Gold, eight Vyrso books, and two tickets to Ligonier Ministries’ West Coast conference.

Dr. R. C. Sproul founded what is now Ligonier Ministries in 1971. Ever since, it has stood as a pillar of Reformed theology, influencing many ministry leaders throughout its over 40 years. Though the ministry has long been centered in Sproul’s native Ligonier Valley, in recent days the teaching ministry has ventured out of Pennsylvania to conferences all over the world. From June 6–7, Sproul and his son, R. C. Sproul Jr., will join Albert Mohler, Stephen Meyer, and Steven Lawson in Seattle for two days packed with timely instruction. Sessions like “War of the Worldviews” and “Sexual Devolution” are sure to raise some of the most important questions of our time.

You should be there. Register on Ligonier Ministries’ website to secure your spot today. While you’re at it, enter for your chance to win two free tickets to the West Coast conference, plus a MacBook Air preloaded with Logos 5 Gold.

The Story of Noah (As Told in the FSB)

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Noah, his ark, and the flood that he survived have been fascinating Christians for thousands of years, sparking debates about biblical interpretation, symbolism, and the character of God. Every corner of this story contains faith-building insights. Here are some of those commented on by the Faithlife Study Bible.

Noah’s story begins in Genesis 6 with a troubling description of society’s degradation and an observation about God that challenges our presuppositions:

The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. (Genesis 6:5–6)

Does God change his mind? This verse seems to imply that he does. The Faithlife Study Bible offers several tools to help us make sense of this.

An entry on Genesis 6:6 explains anthropomorphisms—a literary device that assigns human-like characteristics to non-human entities. Tap the plus symbol to reveal more information. Here I found a link to another book in my Logos library, the Lexham Bible Guide on Genesis 1–11, which has a wealth of information on this very interesting and challenging theological topic. The Lexham Bible Guide surveys a wide range of scholars, presenting each opinion side-by-side, empowering the reader to develop an informed opinion. In this case, I found John Calvin’s position to be the most helpful. He says:

“The Bible represents God in imagery we can understand since we are unable to understand him as He is.”

Following his sad evaluation of mankind, God searches for an individual with whom he will restart his relationship with society. In Genesis 6:8, he finds Noah.

I can only imagine how random and strange God’s instructions must have seemed to Noah at the time, but he responds in faith, following every detailed step to the letter. He builds a huge ark, engineered to survive the coming cataclysm. The Faithlife Study Bible contains a useful infographic to help us picture this massive structure.

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A fair amount of debate surrounds the extent of the biblical flood. There are predominantly two points of view: a global flood and a limited flood. Very smart and sincere Bible scholars stand firmly on both sides of this debate. This article by Douglas Mangum does justice to each:

“The debate is over how these statements should be understood. Do they reflect an ancient Near Eastern worldview, or do they point to an actual global event? Interpretations that emphasize the ancient nonscientific perspective of the text focus on the literary parallels between the biblical flood narrative and other ancient Near Eastern flood accounts. Advocates of this interpretation also tend to reject attempts to harmonize the flood story with scientific data because harmonization requires drawing on data and concepts foreign to the ancient writer.”

The story winds down as Noah releases a dove and then a raven in search of dry land. The Ark finally comes to rest on Mount Ararat, and the inhabitants of the ark disembark after 150 days aboard. Noah immediately constructs an altar to give thanks for God’s protection. Another infographic helps to illustrate the wide range of different objects described by the term altar.

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God responds to Noah’s offering of thanks by making a one-sided covenant with him. Though he does not require Noah make any promise in exchange, God promises to never again destroy the earth by flood. He makes this covenant with Noah and all the descendants of Noah, which would of course include you and me.

The Faithlife Study Bible includes a table of all the major covenants recorded in the Old Testament.

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God marks this, the first recorded covenant, with a unique sign—a rainbow. The word God uses to describe the sign has a militaristic connotation, implying that God has put away his weapon of war. The Lexham Bible Guide: Genesis 1–11 proves helpful again with a interesting entry about the rainbow, derived from the work of Franz Delitzsch.

“Delitzsch sees in the rainbow an appropriate phenomenon of God’s pledge to maintain the order of nature. The sun shines through the dark clouds, symbolizing heaven’s willingness to reach down to earth.”

If you venture out this weekend to see Hollywood’s depiction of this story, download the free Faithlife Study Bible first. Afterall, the book is always better than the movie.