This coming Sunday is Palm Sunday, which begins Holy Week (or Passion Week)—the week that commemorates Jesus’ death and resurrection. Here’s a new visualization we created that harmonizes the four Gospel accounts of Holy Week and lets you examine the “who,” “what,” and “where” of events leading up to and through Easter. Follow the lines in the chart to see at a glance what people were doing, where they were, and whom they were with at any point during the week.
For example, below is a closeup of the chart showing Jesus in Gethsemane and his betrayal by Judas. First Jesus draws aside Peter, James, and John and entreats them to pray while Jesus also prays. Then Judas and a crowd arrive; Judas betrays Judas with a kiss, Jesus is arrested, and the disciples flee, while Peter and John follow at a distance. The visualization shows you the main actors in the story and provides Bible references for you to read the story yourself.
We’re releasing the visualization under a Creative Commons license, which means that you should feel free to print copies (we recommend printing the PDF) and share them with people at your church.
Because the Gospel writers weren’t concerned about writing strict chronological accounts, the details and timing of some events are open to interpretation. For example, when exactly did Judas meet with some of the Jewish leaders to agree to betray Jesus for thirty pieces of silver? What did Jesus do on Wednesday? The chart shows one of several possible sequences of events.
If you’re interested in reading a harmony of Holy Week that includes the text of the relevant Scripture passages, Justin Taylor at The Gospel Coalition put one together in 2010. Our visualization is based partly on Justin’s work (which in turn is based on work by Craig Blomberg); we also consulted study Bibles and other Bible reference materials.
The visualization format itself is based on a 2009 XKCD comic that illustrates the structure of several movies, including Lord of the Rings and the Star Wars trilogy.
We hope this chart leads you to contemplate more deeply the meaning behind the ancient words that Christ “was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate. He suffered and was buried, and the third day rose again according to the Scriptures” as we move closer to celebrating his resurrection this Easter.