Easter is celebrated at different times in different countries, but in Scandinavia where I live, the week of Easter starts the same day as this comes out. The six weeks before Easter are often called a time of fasting. Some people avoid eating certain food that is considered to be unnecessary. Others avoid eating for several days, a few for forty days. Those with a full fasting need to drink and take certain vitamins. I was at a place where they restrained from sugar over a period of time. Others from watching television. Some are fasting in order to identify with the suffering of Jesus. Others are fasting to get a break-through in difficult situations. We do read about fasting and praying in the Bible. In Isaiah 58 we read about the fasting that God said He wanted. We should loose the bonds of wickedness and undo the heavy burdens. We should let the oppressed go free and break every yoke. We should take care of the poor and feed the hungry. We must also take care of our own. When we do this, the light shall break forth like the morning and our healing shall spring forth speedily. Our righteousness shall go before us and the glory of our Lord shall be our guard. It continues with more promises from the Lord.
The week of Easter starts with Palm Sunday. That is a day when we remember that Jesus was riding into Jerusalem, sitting on a colt. He was honored by the people. They were spreading their clothes on the road and had branches from the trees, shouting: “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.!” He was worthy all praise at that time and He is worthy all praise and worship today.
Maundy Thursday is the next great day for celebration. In Norway it is a Holiday, but in Sweden where I live, it is a normal working day. What are we celebrating on this day? We are celebrating the beginning of communion. Jesus had gathered His disciples to celebrate the Passover. They ate the lamb that was prepared. This was a Jewish tradition. While they were celebrating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it and gave it to them and said: “Take, eat, this is My body.” Then He took the cup, and when He had given thanks He gave it to them, and they all drank from it. Jesus said: “This is My blood of the new covenant which is shed for many.” You can read about this I Mark 14. You can go to 1.Corinthians 11. Paul is writing there that we should do this in remembrance of Him. Verse 26 goes like this: “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.” I personally believe that communion is in memory of Jesus and what He did, but it is also a covenant between He and me. 1.Corinthians 11 is warning us about doing this in an unworthy manner. We should take communion often, much more often than we do.
When we read the four Gospels, we can read about the happenings that followed the Passover. Go to Matthew 26. After the communion, they sang songs of praise. Then they walked to the Mount of Olive. Jesus predicted what should happen. When He said that Peter should renounce Him three times, Peter denied that violently, but that came to pass. They reached a place called Gethsemane and Jesus took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee with Him at a little distant from the others to pray. Jesus knew what was coming and fear came over Him and He wanted the disciples to stay awake with Him. They fell asleep and were of no support. Jesus cried out to His Father: “O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done.” Jesus was in agony and fought all night. He was actually sweating blood.
The disciple Judas wasn’t with them since He was the one to betray Jesus. Judas took with him many men from the High Priest and the elders of the people. They came with swords and clubs. They took Jesus as a prisoner. He was taken to the high priest Caiaphas where the elders and the scribes were assembled. Many were giving false testimonies about Jesus, but Jesus Himself kept silent. Peter was outside, but every time they asked him if he was with Jesus, he denied. The high priests and the elders wanted to kill Jesus and Jesus was given to the governor Pontius Pilate. The tradition was that a prisoner was released every Easter time and Pontius Pilate had a desire to release Jesus, but the priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to call on Barabbas to be released. The soldiers of the governor grabbed Jesus, hit Him and spat on Him. Then they took Him to be crucified.
Jesus was hanging on a cross together with two robbers, one on the left and one on the right side. One of them was mocking Jesus. The other asked if Jesus could remember him when He came to Paradise. Jesus answered: “Assuredly, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” The pain and the suffering Jesus went through cannot be compared to any other pain and suffering. He took all of our sins and all of our sicknesses with Him on the cross. In the middle of this agony, Jesus managed to say: “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they do.” I do not believe that we fully understand what really happened that day. It was the sixth hour and the sun was covered for three hours, the veil of the temple was torn in two from the top to the bottom and the earth quaked. Jesus cried out that He yielded up His spirit and then He died.
Jesus was buried in a grave and the tomb was closed with a huge stone.
I am so happy that this is not the end of the story. No, He had said that He would rise from the grave the third day and that was exactly what happened. When the women close to Him came to the tomb the third day, the tomb was empty, the stone was taken away and two angles told them that Jesus was risen.
THE POWER OF DEATH WAS BROKEN. HE IS RISEN! HALLELUJAH!