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Luke 21:37-38 Every day Jesus was teaching

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Tuesday, March 12, 2019

37 Every day Jesus was teaching in the temple, and at night he would go out and spend the night on the Mount of Olives. 38 And all the people would get up early in the morning to listen to him in the temple.

This passage that closes Luke 21 tells us that Jesus did not spend the night in the temple or even in the city, but that he went out to the Mount of Olives to rest during Holy Week. We see Jesus doing this even on Thursday evening when he was arrested (Luke 22:39), and this detail might help to explain why the disciples were so susceptible to falling asleep there—it was his regular habit to go out there to spend the night there or at Bethany.

Verse 38 records a detail given nowhere else in the Bible. The crowds were drawn to Jesus, and they “would get up early in the morning” to go and listen to Jesus preaching. Our impression of Holy Week is generally that Jesus had a quiet day on Wednesday, and that Thursday was taken up mostly by the Passover preparations, but we should consider that these verses at the end of Luke 21 and also Luke 19:47 indicate that Jesus was teaching in the temple “every day.” There is nothing about this that would change our outline of the week except that we would note that he would also have been teaching for part of Wednesday (perhaps just in the morning?), and at least Thursday morning and perhaps for part of the afternoon until the Passover was ready. However, we should be aware that when Jesus sent Peter and John to prepare the Passover meal, he gave directions including the words, “As you enter the city” (Luke 22:10), and therefore they were outside the city when he gave those instructions. Perhaps Peter and John were sent out on their mission before Jesus went to the temple to preach on that day. They would certainly have known where to find him later on.

This seems to be a good place to include a more thorough outline of Holy Week, one of the most detailed weeks of ancient history. I will attempt to include as many details as I can from all four Gospels, but some events within particular days might not be in precise order:

Palm Sunday

  1, Jesus is cheered and worshiped by the people as he enters Jerusalem (Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-10; Luke 19:29-38; John 12:12-15)
  2, He briefly enters the temple to look around, but then leaves the city (Mark 11:11)


  1, Jesus curses a fig tree on the way into the city in the morning (Matthew 21:18-19; Mark 11:20-26)
  2, Jesus enters the temple again, driving out the money changers (Matthew 21:12-13; Mark 11:12-19)
  3, He heals some blind and lame people before leaving the city (Matthew 21:14-17)


  1, In the morning on the way into the city, the disciples notice the withered fig tree and comment about it (Matthew 21:20-22)
  2, Jesus’ authority is questioned by the chief priests and elders of the Jews (Matthew 21:23-27)
  3, The Parable of the Two Sons (Matthew 21:28-32)
  4, The Parable of the Wicked Tenants (Matthew 21:33-44; Mark 12:1-12; Luke 20:9-19)
  5, The chief priests and Pharisees plot to kill Jesus (Matthew 21:45-46)
  6, The Parable of the Wedding Banquet (Matthew 22:1-14; Luke 14:16-24)
  7, The Pharisees and Herodians question Jesus about paying taxes to Caesar (Matthew 22:15-22; Mark 12:13-17; Luke 20:20-26)
  8, Jesus is questioned by the Sadducees about marriage at the resurrection (Matthew 22:23-33; Mark 12:18-27; Luke 20:27-40)
  9, A certain Pharisee (an expert in the law) asks Jesus which is the greatest commandment (Matthew 22:34-46; Mark 12:28-31). After this, “no one dared ask him any more questions” (Matthew 22:46; Mark 12:31; Luke 20:40)
  10, Jesus asks the Pharisees whose Son is the Christ (Matthew 22:41-46; Mark 12:35-37; Luke 20:41-44).
  11, Jesus warns the people listening about the Pharisees and their teachings with “seven woes” (Matthew 23:1-39; Mark 12:38-39)
  12, Jesus praises a widow’s offering (Mark 12:41-44; Luke 21:1-4)
  13, As Jesus leaves the temple, he tells his disciples about the signs of the end of the age (Matthew 24:1-51; Mark 13:1-37; Luke 21:5-36)
  14, The Parable of the Ten Virgins (Matthew 25:1-13)
  15, The Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30)
  16, The Sheep and the Goats (Matthew 25:31-46)
  17, In the evening at Bethany, Jesus is anointed by Mary (Matthew 26:6-13; Mark 14:3-9)


  1, Jesus teaches in the temple, at least for a while (Luke 21:37-38)
  2, Judas agrees to betray Jesus (Matthew 26:2-5; Mark 14:1-2,10-11; Luke 22:1-6)


  1, Jesus sends Peter and John to prepare the Passover meal (Matthew 26:17-19; Mark 14:12-16; Luke 22:7-13
  2, Jesus teaches in the temple (Luke 21:37-38)
  3, Philip and Andrew bring some Greek believers to meet Jesus (John 12:20-50)
  4, Before the meal, Jesus washes his disciple’s feet (John 13:1-17)
  5, The Passover meal is eaten; Judas departs (Matthew 26:17-25; Mark 14:12-21; Luke 22:7-14; John 13:18-30)
  4, The institution of the Lord’s Supper (Matthew 26:26-30; Mark 14:22-26; Luke 22:15-38)
  5, Jesus predicts Peter’s denial (Matthew 26:31-35; Mark 14:27-31; John 13:31-33)
  6, Jesus presents the New Covenant or “Mandate,” mandatum novum, from which some Christians call this day Maundy Thursday (John 13:34-38)
  7, God the Son is the Way (John 14:1-7)
  8, God the Father is doing his work (John 14:8-14)
  9, God the Holy Spirit will come (John 14:15-31)
  10, The vine and branches (John 15:1-17)
  11, The world hates the disciples (John 15:18-16:16)
  12, The grief of the disciples will turn to joy (John 16:17-22)
  13, Jesus’ prayer (John 17:1-26)
  14, Jesus prays in Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-46; Mark 14:32-42; Luke 22:39-46)
  15, Jesus is arrested (Matthew 26:47-56; Mark 14:43-52; Luke 22:47-53; John 18:1-10)
  16, Jesus is quickly put on trial before Annas the former high priest (John 18:11-14)
  17, Jesus is put on trial before the Sanhedrin (Matthew 26:57-68; Mark 14:53-65; John 18:19-24)
  18, Peter denies Jesus (Matthew 26:69-75; Mark 14:66-72; Luke 22:54-62; John 18:15-18, 25-27)


  1, Jesus is bound and handed over to Pilate (Matthew 27:1-2)
  2, Judas attempts to return his bribe. He hangs himself (Matthew 27:3-10)
  3, Trial before Pontius Pilate (Matthew 27:11-26; Mark 15:1-15; Luke 23:2-3-18-25; John 18:28-19:16)
  4, Jesus is mocked by the soldiers, beaten, and whipped (Matthew 27:27-31; Mark 15:16-20)
  5, Jesus is crucified at about 9:00 am (Matthew 27:32-44; Mark 15:21-32; Luke 23:33-43; John 19:17-24)
  6, Jesus dies at about 3:00 pm (Matthew 27:45-56; Mark 15:33-41; Luke 23:44-49; John 19:28-37)
  7, Jesus is buried (Matthew 27:57-61; Mark 15:42-47; Luke 23:50-56; John 19:38-42)
  8, A guard is placed on his tomb (Matthew 27:62-66)


  (Jesus lay in the tomb until Sunday; Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:9; Luke 24:1; John 20:1)


  1, Jesus rises from the dead (Matthew 28:6; Mark 16:6; Luke 24:6; John 20:2)
  2, Jesus descends to hell to proclaim his victory over Satan (Colossians 2:14-15; 1 Peter 3:18-19)
  3, Jesus emerges from the tomb (Matthew 28:6; Mark 16:6; Luke 24:6; John 20:2)
  4, Earthquake (Matthew 28:2)
  5, An angel rolls the stone away (Matthew 28:2)
  4, The women find the tomb empty and the angels proclaim the gospel of the resurrection (Matthew 28:3-8; Mark 16:1-8; John 20:1-9)
  5, Jesus appears first to Mary Magdalene, who reports his resurrection to the disciples (Mark 16:9-11; John 20:10-18)
  6, Jesus appears to the women who were hurrying to tell the disciples (Matthew 28:8-10)
  7, The soldiers report Jesus’ resurrection to the chief priests and are bribed not to say anything (Matthew 28:11-15)
  8, Jesus appears to Peter in Jerusalem (Luke 24:23; 1 Corinthians 15:5)
  7, Jesus appears to the Emmaus disciples (Mark 16:12-13; Luke 24:13-35)
  8, Jesus appears to the Ten disciples (Thomas is missing) in the upper room on Sunday evening (Luke 24:36-49; John 20:19-23)

We will talk about the other resurrection appearances when we read Luke 24. This is merely the chronology of the passion of Jesus. The gospel message is that our sins are forgiven and we have peace with God. We trust in Jesus because he is our Savior God, and through him we have the sure and certain hope of everlasting life.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim Smith

About Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.


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