Summary: Was Holy Week merely a series of Unfortunate Chance Events or did Jesus prepare the events in advance in the style of a Sherlock Holmes mystery?

Spy Wednesday

The Student Cross Leicester Leg 2022 (from Leicester to Walsingham)

Today we find ourselves in Holy Week and today is the day we know as Spy Wednesday

It is the day we focus on the betrayal of Jesus by his friend Judas Iscariot

It is the day just before Maundy Thursday when we remember the Last Supper.

The actual day on which the Last Supper was held is disputed. The Synoptic Gospels give Thursday and John apparently gives that day as Friday.

How can we synchronise that?

I see this as the writers of the Synoptic Gospels and John using different calendars.

As one commentator put it:

The Jews celebrated the Passover on two consecutive days.

Hoehner writes, “The Pharisees celebrated the Passover immediately (Nisan 13/14) while the Sadducees waited until the usual time (i.e., Nisan 14/15).”

Jesus celebrated the Passover on Thursday night according to the Pharisaic calendar, which is in line with the Synoptics.

But John was going off the Sadducean calendar, when he wrote his Gospel, because he was focusing on Jesus’ enemies.

But I am not concentrating on the calendar of Holy Week this afternoon.

Rather I would like to give you this thought.

“Was Holy Week a series of unfortunate chance events or not.”

I don’t believe they were a series of unfortunate events.

Rather I would like to suggest to you that the events from Palm Sunday to Maundy Thursday were well planned by Jesus. Rather is it more like a Sherlock Holmes mystery.

I don’t believe that the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem simply HAPPENED.

I think it was well planned. And with a secret code. "The Lord needs it"

So why do I think this?

Well, it is a small detail about the donkey.

In Luke 19 we read that Jesus told his disciples to go into the next village, Bethphage and find a small donkey that was tied up – and that they brought it back to Jesus.

We read in Lk 19:33

33 As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?”

Note: The donkey had owners (plural), and so the owners had to be too poor to afford a donkey alone.

And given that they were poor, the donkey would have had to be a sizeable investment for each owner.

So have you ever wondered WHY the owners would have parted with the donkey to complete strangers - the disciples?

Unless Jesus had prearranged it

And why did Jesus not simply say to his disciples. I have arranged a donkey with “Judah ben Jacob” and his partner. Please go and get it

There has to be a clue with the donkey. It has to have been pre-arranged when the disciples are told to tell the owners of the donkey:

“The Lord needs it."

Not “Jesus the teacher from Nazareth needs it” but “the Lord needs it.”

If "The Lord needs it" was not a prearranged code, then why did the owners not answer – Who is “the Lord” but there is no record of them doing so.

Rather the disciples are allowed to take the donkey.

Following the maxim attributed to Sherlock Holmes

"eliminate the obvious and whatever remains, however improbable, must be the answer."

(The Supreme Court and Constitutional Theory by Ronald Kahn. 1994.)

It seems to me that the most likely explanation has to be that “ The Lord needs it” was a pre-arranged code word for Palm Sunday.

Why – because Judas was still with them.

Had Judas known

i) Jesus’ intention to go into Jerusalem riding a donkey, and

ii) if he had also known who owned the donkey

then Judas could have told the High Priest and his party what Jesus was up to

And they would have immediately realised what that Jesus was planning – that is to say that Jesus was planning to fulfil the Messianic prophecy of Zechariah 9:9 given 900 years earlier.

"Rejoice, O people of Zion! Shout in triumph, O people of Jerusalem! Look, your king is coming to you. He is righteous and victorious, yet he is humble, riding on a donkey— riding on a donkey’s colt." (Zech. 9:9)

Once the High Priest had found out who owned the donkey and where it would be, then the High Priestly party would have stopped Jesus ever getting to the donkey

i) either by confiscating it or

ii) simply killing it.

Now we see the same meticulous planning on Spy Wednesday in preparation for the Last Supper

Again remember Judas Iscariot, who was to betray Jesus, was still with them .

Luke records Jesus sending Peter and John to make preparations for the Passover and he says this :

8.. “Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover.”

9 “Where do you want us to prepare for it?” they asked.

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