The King Arrives

Today is Palm Sunday, and that means it’s the start of Holy Week. For Christians, Holy Week is a time where we focus on Jesus and prepare our hearts to celebrate Easter. We look back on the seven days leading up to the greatest moment in all history, the resurrection of The King, Jesus.

However, in order to truly understand Holy Week, we have to first understand Passover.
Passover in Jerusalem was, and is still a massive celebration. As a matter of fact, Jews have celebrated Passover for 3,000 years. So, what is Passover? It’s a 7-8 day holiday that remembers and celebrates the pass over in Exodus chapter 12. At the start of Exodus we see the people of Israel enslaved by Egypt. They’re being beaten, broken, whipped, and killed by a brutal ruler, Pharaoh. In chapters 2-6 we see a man named Moses be born, and he is sent by God on a journey that will eventually lead to Israel’s freedom. In chapter 7, Moses stands up to Pharaoh and warns of God’s command to release the Israelites from captivity. Pharaoh laughs, mocks Moses, curses the name of God, and sends Moses away. Over the next 4 chapters, God sends 9 plagues to wreak havoc over Egypt. Pharaoh remains stuck in his ways, and in chapter 11 God sends the 10th and final plague to crush Egypt and break Pharaoh.

God was preparing to strike and kill every firstborn in the land of Egypt, (Exodus 11:5). Every firstborn child, and even the firstborn cattle were going to take their last breath. Moses warned Pharaoh, pleaded, and begged him to obey God, in order to save Egypt from a great cry, (Exodus 11:6). Again, Pharaoh threw Moses out of his throne room and rejected God’s command.

While God prepares to destroy Egypt, he chooses to have mercy on Israel. In Exodus 12:5-13, we see a beautiful picture of grace, and foretelling of Jesus. Each household in Israel was to sacrifice their most precious lamb, and spread its blood on their door posts. The destroyer, also known as the death angel (Exodus 12:23), would sweep throughout the land and slay the firstborn, but would pass over the homes that were covered by the blood (Exodus 12:23). Blood was shed to save God’s people in Exodus, and would later be shed on the cross to save us.

This was the first Passover, and the start of the ancient Jewish holiday. Fast forward to Matthew 21, and Jerusalem is jam packed to celebrate Passover. Thousands and thousands of people flood the city to celebrate, fellowship, and worship together. While all of this is happening, The King arrives. The people see Jesus ride in on a donkey and shout, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Mark 11:1). They cry out praises to Jesus, lay palm branches at his feet, and rejoice that the Savior is finally here! The people know the prophesies, they grew up singing songs of the coming King, their ancestors waited for him, and now he’s finally here! Little do they know, that in 5 days their shouts of joy will turn into cries of hatred.

This is why we celebrate Palm Sunday, and over the next few days we will focus on the events leading up to Good Friday and Easter. If you’re unfamiliar with the book of Exodus, I encourage you to read chapters 1-14. It’s an amazing story that you and your family will enjoy. After reading through those chapters, give Mark 1:1-11 a read. Imagine what Jerusalem looks like. Listen to the crowds cheer, see the kids smile, and reflect on the arrival of Jesus in your life.

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