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What were the key events in the life of Jesus Christ?

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The following are the key events in the life of Christ and the Bible books where each is described: (Part 3)

Last Supper: (Matthew 26:1-30; Mark 14:12-26; Luke 22:7-38; John 13:1-38) – This poignant last meeting with His disciples, whom He loved, begins with an object lesson from Jesus. The disciples had been arguing about who among them was the greatest (Luke 22:24), displaying their distinctly ungodly perspective. Jesus quietly rose and began to wash their feet, a task normally performed by the lowest, most menial slave. By this simple act, He reminded them that His followers are those who serve one another, not those who expect to be served. He went on to explain that, unless the Lamb of God cleanses a person’s sin, that person will never be clean: “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me” (John 13:8). During the Last Supper, Jesus also identifies the traitor, Judas, who would betray Him to the authorities and bring about His arrest. The disciples were saddened when Jesus said that one of them would betray Him and wondered which one it could be. They were still confused when Jesus confirmed that it was Judas, whom He instructed to leave and do quickly what he had to do. Also at this supper, Jesus instituted the New Covenant in His blood and gave a new command that those who follow Him are to love one another and live by the power of the Holy Spirit. We remember Jesus’ giving of the New Covenant each time we enter into the Christian ordinance of communion, celebrating Christ’s body that was broken for us and His blood that was shed for us.

Arrest at Gethsemane: (Matthew 26:36-56; Mark 14:32-50; Luke 22:39-54; John 18:1-12) – After the Last Supper, Jesus led the disciples to the garden of Gethsemane, where several things took place. Jesus separated Himself from them in order to pray, asking them to watch and pray as well. But several times He returned to find them sleeping, overcome with fatigue and grief at the prospect of losing Him. As Jesus prayed, He asked the Father to remove the cup of wrath He was about to drink when God poured out on Him the punishment for the sins of the world. But, as in all things, Jesus submitted to the will of His Father and began to prepare for His death, strengthened by an angel sent to minister to Him in His last hours. Judas arrived with a multitude and identified Jesus with a kiss, and Jesus was arrested and taken to Caiaphas for the first of a series of mock trials.

Crucifixion and burial: (Matthew 27:27-66; Mark 15:16-47; Luke 23:26-56; John 19:17-42) – The death of Jesus on the cross was the culmination of His ministry on earth. It is the reason He was born as a man—to die for the sins of the world so that those who believe in Him would not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16-18). After finding Him innocent of all charges, Pilate nevertheless handed Jesus over to the people to be crucified. The events of that day are recorded as including His seven last sayings, the mocking and taunting by the soldiers and the crowd, the casting of lots among the soldiers for His clothing, and three hours of darkness. At the moment Jesus gave up His spirit, there was an earthquake, and the huge, heavy curtain separating the Holy of Holies from the rest of the temple was torn from top to bottom, signifying that access to God was now open to all who believe in Jesus. The body of Jesus was taken down from the cross, laid in a borrowed tomb, and left until after the Sabbath.

Resurrection: (Matthew 28:1-10; Mark 16:1-11; Luke 24:1-12; John 20:1-10). The Bible does not record the actual resurrection so much as it tells of the empty tomb and the news that Jesus had risen. It also speaks of Him appearing to many. We find out that Jesus has risen from the dead when women came to the tomb where He’d been laid to prepare His body for burial. The Gospels each offer different details regarding the account. In short, the tomb was empty, the women were bewildered, and angels announced to them that Jesus had risen. Jesus appeared to them. Peter and John also verified that the tomb was empty, and Jesus appeared to the disciples as well.

Post-resurrection appearances: (Matthew 28:1–20; Mark 16:1–20; Luke 24:1–53; John 20:1—21:25; Acts 1:3; 1 Corinthians 15:6–8) — During the forty days between the crucifixion and His ascension, Jesus appeared many times to people. On the morning of His resurrection, He appeared to Mary the mother of James and other women on their way from the tomb to find the disciples (Matthew 28:9–10). He then appears to Mary Magdalene at the tomb (John 20:11–18). Later the same day, Jesus appears to Peter (Luke 24:34; 1 Corinthians 15:5) and to Cleopas and another disciple on their way to Emmaus (Luke 24:13–32). Jesus then appears to ten disciples—Thomas is missing (Luke 24:36–43; John 20:19–25) and later appears to all eleven disciples—Thomas included (John 20:26–31). In Galilee, Jesus appears to seven disciples by the sea (John 21:1–25) and to about 500 disciples at once (1 Corinthians 15:6). The risen Christ also appears to His half-brother James (1 Corinthians 15:7) and finally to Paul (1 Corinthians 15:8). In the course of these meetings, Jesus teaches His disciples many things and gives them the Great Commission.

Ascension: (Luke 24:50-53; Acts 1:9-12) – Jesus’ final act on earth was His ascension into heaven in the presence of the disciples. He was taken up in a cloud that hid Him from their view, but two angels came to tell them that He would return one day in a similar manner. For now, Jesus sits at the right hand of His Father in heaven. The act of sitting down signifies that His work is done, as He affirmed before dying on the cross when He said, “It is finished.” There is nothing more to be done to secure the salvation of those who believe in Him. His life on earth is over, the price is paid, the victory is won, and death itself has been defeated. Hallelujah!

“Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written” (John 21:25).

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This page last updated: January 4, 2022