Various Christian traditions observe the season of Lent, generally the forty days before Easter. It culminates in Holy Week, the week between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday, when the bodily resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth from the dead is celebrated. The ancient apostolic greeting is “He is risen!” The congregational response is “He is risen indeed!” and the church waits for His return to set all things right again.

According to Mary Fairchild, writer for, Lutheran, Methodist, Anglican, and Presbyterian Protestant denominations, and Roman Catholics all celebrate Lent. In Western Christianity, it includes the forty days before Easter, not counting Sundays, starting with Ash Wednesday, when the ashes from last year’s Palm Sunday celebration are used to mark the foreheads of worshippers, especially in the Roman Catholic tradition.

According to Fairchild and Nancy Gaifyllia, in the Eastern Orthodox branch of Christianity, Great Lent is observed during the 40 days preceding Palm Sunday with fasting continuing during the Holy Week of Orthodox Easter. Lent for Eastern Orthodox churches begins on Monday (called Clean Monday) and Ash Wednesday is not observed.

It’s not mentioned in the Bible, so many Protestant denominations do not celebrate Lent, although prayer and fasting are mentioned throughout the Bible. My tradition focuses more on Bible study, so I’ve chosen to publish part of the account of the last week of Jesus’ life on earth during this time of preparation.

I introduced the project of a new word-by-word translation of Martin Luther’s Bible in a Troy Patch blog post. I like Luther’s pithy way of expressing God’s truth and thought I’d share this new translation with those who don’t know German, while trying to regain the fluency I had during a high school immersion program in Krefeld, Germany.

Catherine Winkworth translated more than 100 great German hymns into English in the 1800s, and I hope to follow in her footsteps by translating the Book of Matthew (now completed) and a few other New Testament books in time for the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation in 2017. Right now I’m halfway through the book of Acts.

Here is the first part of Matthew Chapter 26. I encourage everyone to read this and compare it with their favorite English translation of the Bible. Compare the parallel passages in the other gospel accounts (Mark, Luke & John) to get the complete story.

The Gospel According to Matthew, Chapter 26

            Word-by-word English translation from Martin Luther’s German, revised by the German Bible Society 1984

Jesus’ Suffering, Death and Resurrection (Chapters 26-28)

(Mark 16-18; Luke 22-24; John 18-21)

The Plan of the High Priests and Elders

And it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these talks, that He said to His disciples: “You know that in two days is the Passover, and the Son of Man will be delivered up, that He will be crucified.”

Then the high priests and the elders of the people assembled in the palace of the high priest, who was named Caiaphas, and held council, how with cunning they could seize and kill Jesus. However they said, “Certainly not at the festival, so that it does not produce an uproar within the people.”

The Anointing at Bethany

When now Jesus was in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, a woman who had a jar of costly ointment walked up to Him and poured it on His head when He sat at the table.

When the disciples saw that, they became indignant and said, “Why this extravagance? It could have been sold for a high price and the money given to the poor.”

When Jesus perceived that, He said to them, “Why are you troubling the woman? She has done a good deed to Me. For the poor you always have among you, but Me you do not always have. That she poured the ointment on My head, that she did for My burial.

Truly, I tell you: wherever this gospel will be preached in the entire world, there they will also tell in her memory what she has done.”

The Treachery of Judas

Then one of the Twelve, by the name of Judas Iscariot, went to the high priests and said, “What will you give me? I will betray Him to you.” And they offered him thirty pieces of silver.

And from then on he sought an opportunity that he could betray Him.

to be continued…

Translator’s notes and headings are in italics, while headings and bold text are in regular font as they appeared in the 1984 German Bible Society edition. Words in italics within the text were added for clarity. Verse numbers and most cross references from the German version have been omitted for readability. Permission is granted to copy this freely for individual or group Bible studies as long as passages are quoted in their entirety and proper attribution is given. Copyright Dale Murrish 2015. 


Palm Sunday

Commemorated every year on Palm Sunday, Jesus of Nazareth rode into Jerusalem not on a stallion or other war horse like most kings, but on a donkey’s colt, fulfilling a prophecy about Him in the Old Testament: Zechariah 9:9. See Matthew Henry’s commentary for more explanation of this. The events of that day are recorded in Matthew 21 and parallel accounts by Mark and Luke. Here are some commentaries on Matthew 21.

Matthew Henry was a non-conformist British pastor and theologian who wrote a complete commentary on the Bible. Well-known evangelical preachers like George Whitefield and Charles Spurgeon used it and heartily recommended it. Whitefield read it four times!

According to Wikipedia, what may be Matthew Henry’s best known quotation is about the relationship between men and women from Genesis: “the woman was made of a rib out of the side of Adam; not made out of his head to rule over him, nor out of his feet to be trampled upon by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected, and near his heart to be loved.”

Personal note

This Palm Sunday was especially meaningful for me because March 29 is the eleventh anniversary of my surgery removing a malignant brain tumor. This is the second time the anniversary almost passed without me noticing it. Our daughter reminded me of it at the end of a phone conversation; we are all very grateful that God has spared my life. You can read the first article I wrote about the brain tumor here and a follow-up article here after the surgery site got infected in 2013.

It’s been a long road back from the brain tumor and the rough five years or so that followed it battling depression. I’m especially grateful to have the depression in my rear view mirror.

I’m grateful to be able to do my job again and enjoy family, travel and hobbies, even develop some new ones like writing. Among other things, my travel interests have been nurtured by involvement with the USA Melting Pot club. Many great presentations are on our website on countries I’ll probably never get to visit.

USA Melting Pot club

Past cultural and hobby presentations, as well blog articles from a half dozen writers are located on our website. If you buy from Amazon through the link on our website, the club gets a portion of your purchases. Club philosophy and past activities are summarized here:

Weilou Gao’s talk was the first half of our council presentation:

Dale Murrish writes on  history,  travel,  technology,  religion  and politics  for the USA Melting Pot club and Troy Patch. You can read his articles on other topics by clicking on the links.