Walking with Jesus through Holy Week

A Palm Sunday Service

What would it be like to walk with Jesus through Holy Week—the week between Passion or Palm Sunday and his resurrection? Each of the gospels presents a glimpse of the story, but to get a fuller picture you really need to piece the gospels together. Michael Wilkins does just that in his commentary on the gospel of Matthew by presenting a harmony of the events of Jesus’ week of passion, including his post-resurrection appearances. We took this outline, selected some of the Scriptures he notes, and formed a service that we used on Palm Sunday evening as an alternative to a Service of Shadows on Maundy Thursday.

Call to Worship: Luke 9:51


Arrival in Bethany; evening celebration; Mary anoints Jesus

Scripture reading: John 12:1-8

Song: “Ah, Holy Jesus” PH 93, PsH 386, TH 248, WR 262


Triumphal entry into Jerusalem; Jesus surveys the temple area; return to Bethany

Scripture reading: Mark 11:1-11

Song: “All Glory, Laud, and Honor” CH 300, PH 88, PsH 375/376, SFL 161, TH 235, WR 265


Cursing the fig tree on the way to Jerusalem; clearing the temple; miracles and challenges in the temple; return to Bethany

Scripture reading: Mark 11:12-19

Song: “Day of Judgment, Day of Wonders”


Reaction to cursing the fig tree on the way back to Jerusalem; debates with religious leaders in Jerusalem and teaching in the temple; End Times discourse on the Mount of Olives on the return to Bethany

Scripture reading: Mark 11:20-26

Song: “Alas! And Did My Savior Bleed” CH 306, PH 78, PsH 385, TH 254, WR 263


“Silent Wednesday”; Jesus and disciples remain in Bethany for last time of fellowship; Judas returns alone to Jerusalem to make arrangements for the betrayal

Scripture reading: Mark 14:1-11



Song: “Beneath the Cross of Jesus” CH 320, PH 92, TH 251, WR 255



Preparations for Passover; after sundown: Passover meal and Last Supper; Upper Room discourses; prayers in the Garden of Gethsemane

Scripture reading: Mark 14:12-26

Song: “Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross” CH 319, TH 264, WR 479


Sometime perhaps after midnight: Betrayal and arrest; Jewish trial—Jesus appears in three phases in front of Annas, Caiaphas, and partial Sanhedrin; Sanhedrin fully assembled (perhaps after sunrise); Roman trial—Jesus appears in three phases before Pilate, Herod Antipas, and back to Pilate; crucifixion (approximately 9:00 a.m.to 3:00 p.m.)

Scripture reading: Mark 15:16-39

Song: “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” CH 321/324,

PH 100/101, PsH 384, SFL 166, TH 252, WR 261

God’s Blessing

Song: “Man of Sorrows—What a Name” CH 311, PsH 482, TH 246, WR 301


Thomas J. Vos (wellsburgcrc@juno.com) is pastor of First Christian Reformed Church, Wellsburg, Iowa.


Reformed Worship 98 © December 2010, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. Used by permission.