PASSION WEEK: PALM SUNDAY TO EASTER SUNDAY. U.K. = Sunday 28th March to 4th April 2010.
Christians across the world celebrate Easter, to remember the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ on the third day after His crucifixion.
Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday, which commemorates Jesus' entry into Jerusalem to celebrate Passover.
Maundy Thursday is the day that Jesus celebrated the feast of the Passover with His twelve disciples, His Last Supper, and the night Judas betrayed Him.
Good Friday remembers the passion and death of Jesus.
Easter Sunday celebrates Jesus' Resurrection.
Where did it all begin? More than two thousand years ago, in a stable in Bethlehem, was born Jesus (meaning saviour), to a virgin named Mary and her husband Joseph a carpenter by trade. Mary was chosen by God to become the mother of His Son, Jesus. Jesus grew up in Nazareth, and became a carpenter like his earthly father.
When Jesus was about thirty years of age He began to preach the love of God for His people, Israel. Together with twelve disciples, Jesus was concerned with the welfare of the poor and the oppressed and spoke against the double standards of the privileged and the rich. The Pharisees, Jewish scholars, strongly opposed His teachings, and resented His growing influence.
But Jesus was welcomed and loved by the common people who looked upon Him as the long-awaited Messiah. As the number of His followers and His influence with the people grew, the Jewish and Roman authorities began to suspect Jesus of being a troublemaker.
Jesus faithfully observed the religious customs and festivals of His community, including the festival of Passover, which marked the end of slavery in Egypt for His people. So it happened that Jesus decided to go to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover.
As He entered Jerusalem, the people welcomed Him with songs of praise. They covered His path with flowers, and waved green palm fronds in the air, and formed a great procession to lead Him into Jerusalem. Often called Palm Sunday.
The Pharisees were afraid and angry when they saw the welcome He received from the people of Jerusalem. Jesus went to the Temple in Jerusalem, where He drove out the moneylenders. This annoyed the priests even further. Who shared the profits of this trade.
They decided that the time had come to rid themselves of this carpenter's son from Nazareth, who held such tremendous power over the hearts of the people. The Pharisees, the priests and the Romans plotted to arrest and execute Jesus.
Jesus then told His disciples that before the night was out, one of them would betray Him, and give Him up to those who would kill Him. The disciples were horrified, and asked Jesus to tell them who it was who would turn traitor. But Jesus only said that it was one of the twelve who ate with Him that night.
Then Jesus reached across the table and gave the bread to His disciple Judas Iscariot. Judas left the table at once, and as he went, Jesus said to him, 'Do quickly what you have to do.’
When it was almost dawn, Judas led the High Priest and the Pharisees and the Roman soldiers to the grove where Jesus waited with His remaining disciples. So that the Roman soldiers would arrest the right person, Judas ran up to Jesus and embraced Him.
Jesus was taken to the home of the High Priest where the priests demanded that He be killed. But the land was ruled by the Romans, and no one could be executed without their endorsement. So Jesus was led to Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor.
Pilate questioned Jesus, and then declared he could not sentence Him for he saw no evil in Him. But the priests and the Pharisees insisted that Jesus was a troublemaker, and should be put to death. So Pilate sent Jesus to King Herod, who ruled Galilee from where Jesus came. But Herod too could find no evil in Jesus, and sent Him back to Pilate.
Once again Pilate said to the enemies of Jesus that he saw no reason to execute Him, and that He should be set free. But Jesus' enemies demanded that He be crucified. At length, Pilate gave in to their demands, and ruled that Jesus be put to death on the cross.
Jesus was crucified as a political rebel the very same day on a hill called Golgotha. When at length He died, His friends asked Pilate if they might take down His body, to give it proper burial. Pilate agreed. So Jesus' followers took Him down from the cross, and wrapped Him in a shroud, and buried Him in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea near Golgotha.
Three days after His death, some women went to Jesus' tomb with fragrant herbs to place in the linen wrappings around His body. But they found that the tomb lay open, and two Angels sat where the body of Jesus had been lying. The Angels told the women not to be afraid, for said they, Jesus had risen from the dead.
Jesus' story does not end with His death and burial, but a new beginning! Christians the world over believe in Jesus' Resurrection, and celebrate Easter to mark the event. Belief in the Resurrection is central to the Christian faith, and Easter is the most important celebration in the calendar of the Christian Church.
I wonder what God thinks Of us in 2010? Internetpreachersforchrist.co.uk Do you know the Christ Jesus of Easter? We are at Internetpreachersforchrist@gmail.com