After three years devoted to teaching and establishing His Church, the Savior approaches the last week of His time on earth. He returns to Jerusalem knowing He will suffer and die—but that He must if any of His Father’s children are to receive immortality and eternal life.
It is the season of Passover. Jerusalem is filled with pilgrims coming to celebrate the holiday. Little do they know that walking among them, prepared to take upon Himself the burden of their sins, is their God. There has never been a week like this one, nor ever will be as long as the earth shall last.
The art that follows illustrates the final days of the Savior’s mortal mission.
Jesus Christ rides through the city gates at Jerusalem and is greeted by followers waving palm fronds as a welcome to their King. He visits the temple.
“And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest” (Matt. 21:9).
Jesus Christ returns to the temple and drives the moneychangers from the outer court.
“It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves” (Matt. 21:13).
Jesus Christ confronts the priests at the temple who challenge His authority. He condemns them as hypocrites. He also prophesies of His Second Coming and teaches great parables (see Matt. 24–25).
“And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things?” (Matt. 21:23).
The day is spent outside the city of Jerusalem, perhaps in Bethany. The scriptures do not indicate what the Savior does on this day.
A supper is arranged for the Passover. Jesus Christ teaches His Apostles about the sacrament. He prophesies of His death and Resurrection and indicates who will betray Him. Then He walks with His disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane, where He atones for the sins of all mankind. As He suffers alone the disciples sleep, wakened by the Savior just before Judas comes with soldiers. The soldiers take Jesus to the scribes and elders for trial (see Matt. 26).
“Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee” (John 17:1).
Charged with blasphemy for declaring that He is the Son of God and accused of sedition for claiming to be the king of the Jews, Jesus Christ goes before the Roman governor, Pilate. Although he finds Jesus guiltless, Pilate gives in to the Jewish leaders and sentences Him to death. Jesus Christ is crucified, suffering intense pain and completing His atoning sacrifice. His body is removed from the cross and placed in a tomb (see Matt. 27).
“Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost” (Luke 23:46).
Jesus Christ is victorious over death. On a morning we now celebrate as Easter, He rises from the tomb. On this day, Mary Magdalene is the first to see the resurrected Lord. The disciples also witness that He is indeed risen.
“Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God” (John 20:17).