Have you ever wondered why Easter falls on a different date every year?
Easter is always the first Sunday after the first full moon following the vernal equinox (March 20 or 21). The date of Easter is based on the lunar calendar that the Hebrew people used to identify Passover, which is why it moves around on our Roman calendar. Easter can fall as early as March 23 and as late as April 25.
This year Easter Sunday is on April 21st. The next time it will fall on this date is in the year 2030. I wonder where we will be then?
And I wonder what it would have been like to be there there in Jerusalem all those many years ago. The Passover was being celebrated – a celebration of thankfulness to God for bringing God’s people out of Egyptian captivity. So Jerusalem was an incredibly busy place with people filling the streets. It was also a time, however, when the Israelites were under oppression from the Roman government and they were anxiously waiting for God to send them a deliverer – another Moses or David.
As Jesus enters into the city the people begin to cry “Hosanna, Hosanna, Hosanna in the Highest”. They had heard of Jesus’ great wisdom and miracles. Others were there when He had feed the five thousand with only a few fishes and loaves of bread. This must be the man who would save them!
The crowds took the cloaks off their backs and spread them on the road. They waved branches, cheering “Hosanna, in the highest”. Their shout of “Hosanna” was a shout of “Save us”.
But as we know, Jesus did not come to save them from their political oppression. He came to rescue them from their sins.
As we enter into the Easter story this week, know that this man of power and presence – Jesus the Christ – came not only for those in the crowed streets of Jerusalem, but He came for you and for me.
On Sunday we will wave palm branches to the King of Kings. We will sing “Hosanna, hosanna in the highest” like the crowd in Jerusalem all those years ago were singing “Save us”.
However, unlike the crowd that gathered that day, we have the assurance that when we surrender and commit our lives to the king, Jesus will save us!
Also this Sunday we will experience a very special communion service as we look ahead to Holy Thursday or Maundy Thursday.
Speaking of which, do plan to join us for Messy Church on Thursday, April 18th at 6 pm. This will be a very family friendly Maundy Thursday experience.
Do you know where the name Maundy Thursday came from?
Maundy Thursday is the Thursday before Easter and the word Maundy is from the Latin translation of Jesus’ words in John’s Gospel, chapter 13, verse 34: “Mandatum novum,” meaning “new commandment.” During the last supper that Jesus had with his disciples, he said this: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
On Good Friday April 19th at 11 am we will gather to remember.
Often people will say that the word “good” does not properly describe the day. “What’s so “good” about Good Friday?” they ask. Think about it this way: on that day Jesus paid the penalty for humanity’s sins; because he took upon himself what we deserve, it is a day that delivers good news for those who accept this gift. Joy is coming.
On Easter Sunday at 11am we celebrate the Risen Christ.
Jesus lived, died, and was raised from the dead on a Sunday morning. This is likely the most attested event in human history. Through this God showed us his perfection, his love and he showed us he is who he said he was. We, who are Christians, believe that the cross and empty tomb are the decisive moment in history and …death no longer has final say. Hosanna!
Join us this Holy week as we journey to JOY!