What Happened the Day Before Jesus Died – Passover and Prayer in the Garden*

{Read the introductory post for the survey of the major events of Holy week that we’re doing together on Servant Girl Stories during March. Then, read the previous post – detailing Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem.}

The Jaffa Gate – Jerusalem/Image Credit: holy-landpilgrmage.com

Two things made it clear that the Passover Celebration was at hand in Jerusalem – extra Roman soldiers and extra sheep. The increased presence of soldiers was to quell uprisings that threatened to flare up as the number of people in the city swelled close to 2 million (and since Jesus had made his presence known earlier in the week). Pilate didn’t want to have to deal with any overzealous Jews.

As for the sheep, they would be ritually sacrificed and eaten during the Passover meal.

When Peter and John arrived in Jerusalem Thursday morning, the streets were jammed with people making their last-minute preparations for the evening’s Passover meal. With the city’s population at about 6 times more than normal, the two men were concerned they wouldn’t be able to find the place Jesus had chosen to eat the meal. He had sent them into the city early to prepare it, giving them instructions about who to find and what to say.

Fortunately, it did not take them long to locate the person Jesus told them to look for: a man carrying a water jug. This man stood out from the bustling crowd since it was usually a woman’s duty to fetch the water.

Peter and John followed the man through the packed streets until he entered a three-story house. Once inside, they greeted the owner of the house and said, “The Teacher wants to eat the Passover meal in your guest room.”

A Proposed Site of the Upper Room – Jerusalem/Image Credit: steemit.com/travel

The owner showed them up the stairs to a large, furnished, upper room. There, Peter and John began preparations for the meal.

Readings for the second week of March

*As you read the various accounts of each event this week, note similarities and differences.  How does each writer describe the events?  How are they similar and how are they different?  How do the different perspectives give you a fuller picture of the event?

**Always pay special attention to the things Jesus said/direct quotes.

***When you’re reading, try to imagine the scene in your head: see the people, hear the sounds, inhale the smells. Visualize the events happening as clearly as something you’ve witnessed with your own eyes. For example, with the arrest in the garden, see the soldiers’ torchlight dancing off their armor, hear the worried voices of the disciples as they realize what the soldiers have come to do…imagine you are there in the scene as it unfolds.

Thursday, morning – Jesus and his disciples prepare for the Passover meal in the “Upper Room.” 


  • Matthew 26: 17-19
  • Mark 14:12-16
  • Luke 22:7-13

Thursday, after sunset – Jesus and his disciples eat the Passover meal in the “Upper Room.” 

We see the Last Supper in our minds with the men sitting in chairs at a table (because this is how much of the artwork depicts it). However, the Bible describes the men as “reclining” at the table. The above image is more like how they would have sat to eat the Passover meal. This was customary for this culture at this time. Image Credit: lessonsnblessings.com


  • Matthew 26:20-29
  • Mark 14:17-25
  • Luke 22: 14-23
  • John 13:1-30 – John’s gospel does not describe the meal in the Upper Room, but it provides the only account of the Master washing the feet of his disciples after supper. 

Consider this:

  • Scripture and prophecy predicted Jesus’ death, so we know God ordered these events. However, Judas is still responsible for his part in betraying Jesus to the religious leaders (see Matthew 26:24, Mark 14:21 and Luke 22:22).  How do we reconcile God’s sovereignty with human responsibility – the fact that God is in control of all things, but we are still held responsible for our actions?  (Read also Genesis 50:18-21; Acts 2:23; Acts 4:28, Acts 18:9-11, and 2 Timothy 2:10 for other scripture references that affirm God’s sovereign ordering of events while at the same time pointing to human responsibility for those events).

Thursday, late in the night and into early Friday morning – Jesus and some disciples go to the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus is betrayed by Judas and arrested.

Olive grove in the Garden of Gethsemane – Jerusalem/Image Credit: beinharimtours.com


  • Matthew 26:30-56
  • Mark 14:26-50
  • Luke 22: 39-53
  • John 18:1-12

Consider this:

  • Matthew’s, Mark’s, and Luke’s accounts of Jesus’ arrest give details about Jesus praying in the garden of Gethsemane.  (ESV translations are used here) – Matthew 26:37-38 describe Jesus as “sorrowful and troubled” and “sorrowful even to death.”  Mark 14:33, 34 uses the terms “distressed and troubled,” and Luke 22:44 describes him as being in “agony.”  These are strong descriptions, but maybe the original language can give us an even clearer picture of Jesus’ state of mind in the garden.  Use the Blue Letter Bible app, your Bible’s commentary or other source to look up the original Greek words for “sorrowful,” “troubled,” distressed,” and “agony” as they were used in these specific verses.  What do these words mean?  What insight do they give you into Jesus’ emotions at that point?  Why does he feel this way?
Jesus arrested in Gethsemane – Image Credit: biblestudy1.com

During the week, reread the verses as many times as possible. Try to read them in different translations as well. Also, read commentary on these verses. Listen to them on a Bible app that will read them aloud. This will help you visualize everything and write the events on your heart. Journal your thoughts on the questions to consider above. Share our survey of events with a friend so you can discuss together what God is showing you as you pray and read.

I pray the Lord will show you something fresh in these familiar stories as you prepare your heart for His resurrection.

*Along with the Bible verses listed above, the following articles helped inform the narrative at the beginning of this study:





What Happened When Our Family Followed God

What happens when you follow God?  What happens when your whole family chooses to do it?

Here in the Hooks household, we’ve learned that when you step out in faith and do something God has called you to do, like our family did when I became a stay-at-home-mom, you experience God.  When God asks you to leave something behind, and you do it, you will see how He can take care of you.

God will take care of you.jpg

Photo Credit: Pinterest

Our God Provides

Philippians 4:19 tells us, “my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

In Matthew 6:26, the author says, “Look at the birds of the air.  They do not sow, nor reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not worth much more than they?”


Photo Credit: Pinterest

It’s nice to read these verses, but they’re simply inspirational words until you’ve experienced God’s provision.  Once you have, you know it – you know that you’re worth more than the birds and that the Father will take care of you because you’ve seen Him do it.

In January 2010, when I told Bill I was being convicted by God to stay at home with Ethan, he flat out thought I had lost my mind.  We prayed for peace for him, but it didn’t come.

He did the math, over and over, to compare our monthly bills to his monthly pay.

“It doesn’t work,” he confessed.

I was concerned but not defeated.  I was sure this was what God was calling me to, so this was what I had to do.

We kept praying.

Finally, Bill said, “the numbers don’t add up, but if you say this is what God wants you to do, then we’ll do it.”

That step became part of our family’s story – part of our family’s testimony.

Our God Has Sovereign Control


Photo Credit: Pinterest

When something is a part of God’s plan, He.is.working…He’s already been working previously and in the background, orchestrating events that need to align for things to go according to His plan.  Pieces will fall together here and there, but you might not see it until later.

God takes care of the needs of His people long before His people are even aware of the need.

Take the story of Joseph, for example, in Genesis chapters 37-50.  God used Joseph to save the lives of many during a famine in Egypt.


Photo Credit: Pinterest

God, in His sovereignty, arranged the events in Joseph’s life – betrayal by his brothers and an unjust imprisonment, just to name a few – to place the man in a position to become second in command to Pharaoh just in time to lead Egypt through a terrible famine.


Photo Credit: Pinterest

God was in control then, and He’s in control now – in our family.

Bill had been hearing the name “Dave Ramsey” for years.  A friend talked about reading his books and shared some of Ramsey’s financial advice.  Then, Bill found The Dave Ramsey Show podcasts and began listening.

Since Bill is the financially-minded one of the two of us, he found Ramsey’s ideas intriguing but pushed them aside.  He couldn’t fathom it being a reality for us since we would only have one full-time income. There wasn’t any way to get out of debt using Ramsey’s debt snowball method if there wasn’t any extra money after bills were paid…and the way it looked, there wouldn’t be any.

Over time, though, we started noticing how things were dropping away from our budget as we prepared to lose my full-time income.

We’d gotten “gazelle intense,” to borrow one of Ramsey’s favorite phrases:  We cut cable, went to a different cellular carrier to save on phone bills, reduced car insurance by changing companies, refinanced the house to lower the mortgage, started using a monthly budget…anything we could think of to make wiggle room.

Suddenly, there WAS extra money in the budget at the end of each month.  It wasn’t a lot, but it was there.

Bill borrowed his friend’s copy of Ramsey’s book The Total Money Makeover, and we read it together.

“We can do this,”  he finally said. He’d been listening to people’s success stories on the podcast, too, so he was extra pumped.

So, we decided to give it a shot, and we began Baby Step 2 of Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover in August 2014, owing approximately $20,000 on a car, a set of Tempurpedic mattresses, and a student loan.  Seven months later, we paid it all off – 7 months early on the car, 1 ½ years early on the mattresses, and years ahead of schedule on the student loan.

One of the most fascinating elements of this whole experience has been that we haven’t felt like we had to go without necessary things or struggle to pay our bills.


Photo Credit: Pinterest

Sure, we’ve sacrificed.  We started living on a budget to see where we were spending money.  There’s been a lot less eating out. Bill had to figure out how to watch ESPN without cable (that took him awhile, so he went without it completely for several months).  I very rarely shop for new clothes.

But, we’re fine!  God has provided the things we needed, and we’ve learned to be content without many of the “extras.”

Even when the numbers didn’t add up, we relied on God, and He has taken care of us.

He’ll take care of you, too.  You can trust Him. With your finances.  Your relationships. Your children’s education.  Your job. Your health. Your house. Your important decisions.  He’ll take care of you. He feeds the birds, AND He clothes the flowers, but He loves you even more than He loves them.


Photo Credit: Pinterest

(If you’d like to read more about God’s provision in times of need, see Donna’s story or Meggan’s story).

What does He want you to trust Him with right now?  Is there a conviction you’ve been ignoring? A calling you’ve avoided?  What’s holding you back?

Would you share some things you have trusted to God? How has He provided?  Can you look back and see how He planned things out – pieces that fell together, events that coordinated?