This week is an important week in the Jewish calendar. It is a week when the Jew remembers and celebrates the great exodus from Egypt’s bondage. He will celebrate this event by partaking of the unleavened bread and other celebrations as he recalls the Passover event of the angel of death.
Not only was this an event that called the Jew to look back to a day of deliverance from the bondage of Egypt, but also more important, it was a day when they were to look forward for the coming of their great Messiah.
It was the coming of that great Messiah that transformed this Jewish celebration into a victorious, triumphant and exciting Christian celebration.
This old Jewish Easter celebration, has within it four festivals for the Christian.
For me the Easter Celebrations begin on Palm Sunday with:
1. THE FESTIVAL OF PRAISE.
Easter begins for the Christian with a joyful song of hosanna. We join our voices with the crowds at Jerusalem singing: “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!” “Hosanna in the highest!” (Mark 11:9-10)
2. THE FESTIVAL OF REMEMBRANCE.
By Thursday, the large crowd who sang their ‘Hosanna’ because the King had come to town, were now silent and on the verge of treason.
That Thursday evening Jesus met with His disciples to celebrate the Passover and knowing the mood of the people and what was in front of Him, He introduces this ‘festival of remembrance’ into the Easter celebration. He introduces what has become known as ‘The Lord’s Supper.’
3. THE FESTIVAL OF SUFFERING.
Judas Iscariot, leaves the festival of remembrance and prepares himself to betray his Lord and move the celebrations into another festival, which is that of the suffering of our Lord Jesus.
Jesus takes His disciples to Gethsemane and to Gethsemane came the soldiers to arrest Him. He is then taken for trial. The crowd who cried Hosanna a few days earlier were now shouting ‘away with Him, crucify him.’
Then after Pilate pronounces his sentence of death, the suffering Saviour was taken outside the city wall to be executed by crucifixion. Like a Lamb to the slaughter, He went silently to the cross. His hands and feet were fastened to that Roman cross by cruel nails. He opened not His mouth to utter one curse, but rather to pray forgiveness upon those who crucified Him.
He died on that first Good Friday. However, by His death, He had purchased Salvation for mankind. Because of His death you and I can know forgiveness of sins. Through His death you and I can have a glorious entrance to heaven. By faith in His death you can become a new person in Christ Jesus, enjoy an exciting abundant life and have a real sense of purpose in life.
4. THE FESTIVAL OF RESURRECTION
The Jesus who died on Good Friday, God brought back to life on Easter Sunday
Christians have exciting news to share this Easter with their communities…….JESUS IS ALIVE!
John MacArthur said: “The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the single greatest event in the history of the world. It is so foundational to Christianity that no one who denies it can be a true Christian. Without resurrection there is no Christian faith, no salvation, and no hope.”
Thankfully, Christians can be confident in the resurrection of Christ because after his resurrection Jesus said: “I am he that lives, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive forevermore.” (Revelation 1:18)
Hallelujah, Jesus is alive!
Let’s celebrate this Easter.
“We live and die; Christ died and lived!” John Stott