I’m so glad that you are excited that Easter is fast approaching. But do you REALLY understand what Easter is all about? Why do people eat candy on Easter? Is it, perhaps because we want this holiday to be sweet to your lips? Yes, like the Jews of old who gave students honey to create Hebrew letters with as they learned the Hebrew Alef Bet (alphabet) , we want this holiday to be sweet to you.
But why do people celebrate Easter? Because on Easter Sunday many people believe that Jesus was brought back to life from the dead.
But it didn’t happen all of a sudden.
A week or so before, Jesus came to Bethany is Judea (present day Israel) to see his friends: Mary Magdelene, Martha and Lazarus. He went there with his 12 disciples which included John and Thomas. During this week, Mary Magdelene anointed Jesus’ feet with costly perfumes as an act of humility. (You know that word from our lesson this morning.) This tender expression indicated Mary’s devotion to Jesus and her willingness to serve him.
Another important event was the death of Lazarus. Jesus brought Lazarus back to life. Rumors of Jesus’ miracles had been circulating the country. But after bringing Lazarus back, Jesus became very famous. This bothered many high up officials: Romans, and important Jews who ran the country. Jesus was changing things. And this made some people very nervous. People like Pontius Pilot, the prefect or governor of Judea and Caiaphus, Jewish High Priest of Jerusalem.
On Palm Sunday (a week before Easter Sunday – Today), Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. This fulfiiled an ancient prophecy (Zechariah 9:9), The crowd welcomed him with “Hosanna” and proclaimed that he was the Messiah they were waiting for. A messiah is a leader or savior of a particular group of people.
People in Judea felt that Jesus would free them from Roman rule. So as Jesus entered the city of Jerusalem, the people met him with palm fronds (used kind of like modern day cheer leading pom-poms) and welcomed him to the holy city.