Easter week is one of the most significant weeks in the Christian calendar due to the following events within an 8-day span — First Palm Sunday, then Good Friday, then Passover, and finally Easter (or Resurrection Day). This week Jesus is celebrated as the King of Peace, accused by the Jews, betrayed by Judas, captured by the Romans, brutally tortured, taken to a mock trial, brutally tortured, forsaken by all of his disciples, crucified, died an excruciating death after 6 hours, given an improper burial, spent three days and three nights in the grave, and then resurrected in his new body. This week marks the fulcrum of history.
On Palm Sunday, the crowd praised Jesus as he entered Jerusalem on a young donkey.
1 And when they drew near to Jerusalem and were come to Bethphage, to the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples,
2 Saying to them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway you shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them to me.
3 And if any man says ought to you, you shall say, The Lord has need of them, and straightway he will send them.
4 All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying,
5 Tell you the daughter of Sion, Behold, your King comes to you, meek, and sitting on an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.
This is an Old Testament prophecy from Zechariah 9:9.
6 And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them,
7 And brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon.
8 And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees and strewed them in the way.
9 And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.
Why did Jesus ride a donkey? Eastern custom dictated that Kings rode donkeys during times of peace and horses during times of war. The people knew that Jesus was coming as the Prince of Peace. Branches covering the donkey’s path and the people saying “Hosanna in the highest” was a custom for bestowing honor on Jesus.
1 Corinthians 5:7
For even Christ our Passover is [was] sacrificed for us:
Since Jesus is our Passover, studying the Passover enriches our Old Testament comprehension. Moses answered the call of God by returning to Egypt as God’s prophet to release the Israelites from slavery. Moses and Aaron have visited the Pharaoh on ten occasions requesting from Pharaoh to let God’s people go. Pharaoh refused each time resulting in a unique plague afflicting the Egyptian nation. Each affliction (blood, frogs, lice, darkness, etc.) was an attack on the weakness of an Egyptian God. They have returned from their tenth and final visit with Pharaoh.
1 And the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt saying,
2 This month shall be to you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you.
3 Speak you to all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for a house:
4 And if the household is too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbor next to his house take it according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb.
Each house cooked a lamb unless the family was small, then the lamb was shared with another house. This ensured minimal leftovers.
5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: you shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats:
Jesus Christ is our Passover so the requirements would be the same for him: without blemish, a male of the first year, taken from the sheep. Jesus was without blemish due to his sinless blood and his continual obedience to God’s word including fulfilling all Old Testament prophesies concerning him. A male of the first year means that his ministry would be less than one year. Jesus was taken from the sheep because he was a man like us tempted in all ways but without sinning.
6 And you shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.
How did the whole congregation of Israel kill Jesus? Because the masses led by the religious leaders wanted Jesus dead.
28 But I say to you, That whoever looks on a woman to lust after she has committed adultery with her already in his heart.
When they decided in their hearts that Jesus should be killed was when God convicted them.
7 And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it.
The blood of the lamb was spread on the sides and the top of the door of the house where they were eating. To leave Egypt they would have to walk through the door coated in blood. Jesus said, “I am the door; whoever enters through me will be saved.” (John 10:9a) The only way to salvation is through the death of Jesus. There is no other way.
8 And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs, they shall eat it.
9 Eat not of it raw, nor sodden at all with water, but roast with fire; his head with his legs, and with the entrails thereof.
The meat was cooked with bitter herbs and had to be roasted and not boiled. Also, the bread was unleavened (no yeast).
10 And you shall let nothing of it remain until the morning, and that which remains of it until the morning you shall burn with fire.
Just like the manna in the wilderness, the lamb could not be eaten the next day.
11 And thus shall you eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in haste: it is the LORD’s Passover.
They ate standing up, wearing sandals, staff in hand, their tunic cinched at the waist, and they were to eat in haste. They were ready to mobilize quickly.
This is a shadow of our communion. The unleavened bread represents Jesus Christ body which was broken for us. This points to our physical healing. The blood on the posts is representative of Jesus death was required for our deliverance. The wine in communion represents Jesus shed blood( his death) needed for our remission of sins. This points to our soul healing. Since we are body, soul, and spirit beings then communion cleanses our bodies and souls. The spirit is perfect and does not need cleansing.
I believe that eating in haste while dressed and ready to go indicates our need to be vigilant while watching for the return of Christ since he will return like a thief in the night.
12 For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD.
God says that he will execute judgment against all of the Egyptian gods. He had already executed judgment against nine of their gods. When Moses was a child the Pharaoh decreed that all of the newborn Hebrew males were to be killed to decrease the population. This was a judgment on all of the Egyptian households.
13 And the blood shall be to you for a token on the houses where you are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I smite the land of Egypt.
The blood was the protection from death. We are saved by the blood of Jesus Christ otherwise we are deserving of death also.
21 Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel, and said to them, draw out and take you a lamb according to your families, and kill the Passover.
22 And you shall take a bunch of hyssops, and dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that is in the basin, and none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning.
23 For the LORD will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he sees the blood on the lintel, and on the two side posts, the LORD will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come into your houses to smite you.
24 And you shall observe this thing for an ordinance to you and to your sons forever.
25 And it shall come to pass, when you come to the land which the LORD will give you, according to as he has promised, that you shall keep this service.
The annual Passover feast this event.memorializes their escape from Egypt and death.
26 And it shall come to pass when your children shall say to you, what mean you by this service?
27 That you shall say, it is the sacrifice of the LORD’s Passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians and delivered our houses. And the people bowed the head and worshipped.
28 And the children of Israel went away and did as the LORD had commanded Moses and Aaron, so did they.
29 And it came to pass, that at midnight the LORD smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle.
All Egyptian households suffered the pain of death.
30 And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead.
The devastation moved Pharaoh’s hardened heart because of impotence.
31 And he called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, Rise up, and get you forth from among my people, both you and the children of Israel; and go, serve the LORD, as you have said.
32 Also take your flocks and your herds, as you have said, and be gone; and bless me also.
33 And the Egyptians were urgent on the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste; for they said, We are all dead men.
34 And the people took their dough before it was leavened, their kneading troughs being bound up in their clothes on their shoulders.
35 And the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses, and they borrowed [asked] of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment:
36 And the LORD gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent [gave] to them such things as they required. And they spoiled the Egyptians.
The Israelites did not borrow the gold and jewelry since there were no plans to return the goods. The Egyptians gladly gave to hasten their departure.The gold, silver, and jewels provided materials during the construction of the tabernacle – especially the holy of holies.
37 And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot that were men, beside children.
38 And a mixed multitude went up also with them; and flocks, and herds, even very much cattle.
39 And they baked unleavened cakes of the dough which they brought forth out of Egypt, for it was not leavened; because they were thrust out of Egypt, and could not tarry, neither had they prepared for themselves any victual.
40 Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelled in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years.
41 And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt.
Joseph rescued the children of Israel from a seven-year famine by providing them choice land in Egypt. Pharaoh welcomed the Israelites which contributed to their prosperous lives. Eventually, the Israelites became slaves to a different Pharaoh because they forgot about Joseph. After 430 years in Egypt, the Israelites are freed from slavery due to the Passover. The weekly Sabbath and on the annual Sabbath reminded them of this deliverance which led to looking for the final Passover, Jesus Christ.