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The True Meaning of Easter

March 20, 2008

Here is a post I found on Josh’s site, Raining Water.

If you are not a Christian, I strongly suggest you read this. If you don’t want to, you don’t have to, but please do. If you are a Christian, please read it again.

The story is courtesy of our good friends at http://www.longlongtimeago.com/llta_festival_easter.html

More than two thousand years ago, in a stable in Bethlehem, was born Jesus, the son of Joseph the carpenter and his wife Mary. Jesus grew up in Nazareth, and became a carpenter like his father.

When Jesus was a young man, he saw the suffering of the people of Palestine under the oppressive rule of Herod’s sons, and the Roman procurators. Together with twelve disciples, Jesus wandered the countryside, preaching religious reform and the love of God for His people. He was concerned with the welfare of the poor and the oppressed and spoke against the hypocrisy 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 revolutionary and 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 one year 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. 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 further. They decided that the time had come to rid themselves of this carpenter’s son from Nazareth, who wielded such tremendous power over the hearts of the people. The Pharisees, the priests and the Romans plotted to arrest and execute Jesus.

A few days later, Jesus celebrated the Feast of the Passover with his twelve disciples. While they were eating, the disciples began to argue among themselves as to who was better than the others. Jesus listened in silence, and then taking a basin of water, began washing the feet of his disciples. When he came to his disciple Peter, Peter protested. But Jesus explained why he did what he did – to tell them that no one was better than the other, that if he, whom they called Lord and Master, could wash their feet, then they too could wash each other’s feet.

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.

The disciple John, who was sitting next to Jesus, whispered so that no one else could hear, ‘Lord, who is it?’ Jesus whispered back so only John could hear, ‘It is the one to whom I shall give a piece of bread after I have dipped it in the dish.’ 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.’

Before the meal was over that night, Jesus took some of the unleavened bread of the feast and broke it into pieces. He gave a piece each to the eleven remaining disciples, saying ‘Take and eat this, for this is my body which is given for you.’ He then passed a cup of watered wine to them and said, ‘Drink, for this is my blood which is shed for thee.’ Then Jesus commanded, ‘Do this as often as you would remember me.’

Jesus spent the rest of the night praying in a grove of olive trees, called the garden of Gethsemane. He knew that when morning came, Judas Iscariot would betray him.

Judas had hurried to the High Priest of the Temple as soon as he left Jesus and the other disciples. Judas had agreed to betray Jesus for the sum of thirty pieces of silver. When it was almost dawn, he 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 sanction. 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.

That Jesus was a real person, of that there is no doubt. But very little is known of his life, apart from what his followers told and wrote. It is therefore difficult to separate facts from belief while telling the story of Jesus.

To be continued…

-Josh
.THANK YOU SO MUCH, JOSH .

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