The Week that Jesus Changed the World
by Wendy Fitzgerald
As Christians, Easter is the most important event in history. It is the moment that sets Christianity apart from all other faiths, because the resurrection of Jesus proves that our God not only loves us enough to die for us, but that He is also strong enough to conquer death.
The Bible is split into two main parts: the Old and New Testaments. The word testament literally means promise, so the two main parts of the Bible are the divisions of following God under the promise of the Law in the Old Testament and following God under the promise of Grace in the New Testament. Together, this week, we will look at the events that happened during the final week before Easter. As we look at the events, we will see how the details of both Old and New Testaments are woven together like a tapestry.
Today we begin our journey by following Jesus as He enters Jerusalem with His disciples for the week of the Passover celebration. The Gospels are the first four books of the New Testament and, although written by four different men, all tell the stories of the life of Christ. Some events are only mentioned in one of the four Gospels, but many are mentioned in more than one; however, the arrival of Jesus on what we now call Palm Sunday is accounted for in all of the Gospels.
Read Matthew 21:1-11
(Other accounts are found in Mark 11, Luke 19 and John 12)
Have you ever wondered why there were large crowds just waiting at the gate to welcome Jesus? The answer can be found in the Jewish customs and preparations for Passover. To prepare for the Passover sacrifice, the high priest would leave Jerusalem and go to Bethlehem to find the perfect lamb to sacrifice for the sins of the nation. On the tenth day of the month (Exodus 12), four days before the Passover feast, the priest would present this lamb by bringing it into Jerusalem through the gate of the town. Traditionally, people would gather at the gate of the city to shout and sing praises to God. They would wave palm branches and say, “Hosanna to the lamb of God who has come to take our sins away.” This was an annual tradition. However, on this particular year, more that one lamb entered the gate!
Imagine, on that same day, the day that we now celebrate as Palm Sunday, Jesus, who John the Baptist referred to as “The Lamb of God,” also arrives at the gate to enter Jerusalem. The people have gathered to welcome the lamb that will be sacrificed for the sins of the people later in the week. As Jesus arrives, the people, having seen His miracles, knowing the Old Testament prophesies concerning the coming Messiah, realize that Jesus is very probably the Savior that they have anticipated, and welcome the true Lamb of God who comes to take away the sins of the world!
How exciting it must have been to be a part of that moment, and how exciting it is for us to know how the week will end. This week, as we walk with Jesus through the seven days leading to Easter, ask God to prepare your heart for the arrival of your Messiah, your Lamb of God.
A Minute of Prayer:
Day One: One minute praising God for sending His Son to be our Messiah.