Easter. A holiday that we look forward to each year to get together with family. To enjoy traditions of big meals, Easter Egg Hunts. Church services.
But what is Easter? From a non-Christian/religious perspective, what you just read, is pretty much it. If you are a Christian, you know it means so much more! What we remember on this holiday, is what our Christian faith hangs on.
Let’s go back in the Bible to an Old Testament book called Zechariah.
Zechariah 9:9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
This verse is the prediction and prophesy of Jesus Christ when He arrives in Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. (You can read this in each of the gospels: Matthew 21; Mark 11; Luke 19; John 12).
Jesus has finished His three years of public ministry. He is focused on what’s next. He rides into Jerusalem on a donkey, fulfilling the prophesy of Zechariah 9:9. His disciples and followers are looking for deliverance from the Romans (who were in occupation of the land at that time). They think that this is the moment. Jesus is going to rise to power and over throw the Romans.
The disciples parade Jesus into Jerusalem. The crowds see this and figure the same thing. They shout Hosanna! They throw their coats on the road as a sign of respect. They cut palm branches and do the same thing. They give Jesus the ‘red carpet’ treatment.
The parade ends at the temple. Instead of going with what the crowds and disciples figure, Jesus goes into the temple and clears it out (Matthew 21:12-12). Then walks away from the public.
This now begins his final week before His crucifixion. He’s spent three years in debates, being challenged, ministering to others. Now, He goes away and spends time with some of his closest friends.
On the Thursday night of that week, He spends it with His disciples celebrating Passover. (Another lesson for another time on how the Passover relates to Jesus). During the feast, Judas Iscariot leaves. He’s already prepared to betray Jesus to the chief priests. After the feast, Jesus and the rest of the disciples head to the Garden of Gethsemane, a common hang-out for them. Judas knows this too.
Judas has gone to get a group of soldiers and the priests to come and arrest Jesus.
Back in the Garden, Jesus prays to His Father, God. “Is there any other way? Anything else that can be done to pay for the sin and provide salvation? Anything?”
Silence. There is no other way.
Jesus prays this three times.
Silence each time.
Why? Because there is no other way!
John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
You may be looking forward to Easter as a holiday and a time off work. You may celebrate Easter as a religious holiday, or be dragged to church by your parents. But I challenge you to look at this weekend for what it really is. The planned time where God provided the way of salvation, forgiveness of sin and the way back to Him.
Tomorrow’s post will be from the Garden to Calvary.