Easter

History of Pentecost

PENTECOST The Feast of Pentecost is taken from the Greek word πεντηκόστη which means “the 50th,” referring to the fiftieth day after Passover and Easter. In the Jewish calendar, this would coincide with the harvest festival Shavuot the “Feast of Weeks.” In the Christian calendar, Passover played a part in a number of visits Jesus…

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History of Easter: The Players: Where are they Now?

HISTORY OF EASTER: WHAT HAPPENED TO THE PLAYERS AFTERWARD You may be asking yourself, “Self,” you ask, “where are they now?” And well you might ask. What happened to our players AFTER the events in the Easter story? HEROD ANTIPAS You may remember that I had said Antipas‘ taking as his own wife his brother’s…

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History of Easter: Why Bunnies and Eggs?

Vintage bunny

HISTORY OF EASTER The most joyous of Christian festivals and one of the first celebrated by Christians commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is set on the first Sunday after the full moon following the vernal equinox. The English word “Easter” corresponding to the German “Oster,” reveals the association of many Easter customs with…

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History of Good Friday

HISTORY OF GOOD FRIDAY For centuries pilgrims have walked the Via Dolorosa, “the way of sorrow” in Jerusalem, following the path Jesus took on Good Friday. Starting at the judgment seat of Pilate at the Antonia in the eastern part of the city immediately north of the Temple the path follows several “Stations of the…

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History of the Trial: How many did Jesus have?

THE TRIAL OF JESUS Beginning Thursday night and extending into Friday morning of Holy Week, the trial of Jesus which led to his crucifixion was, in reality, a series of about half a dozen trials, which were distributed across several locations in Jerusalem. Some of these locations are captured in the tradition of the Via…

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History of Maundy Thursday: a Shere or Green Thursday?

HISTORY OF MAUNDY THURSDAY Amid the bustle of Palm Sunday, Good Friday, and Easter, Maundy Thursday is easy to overlook. Few calendars label it, and some churches don’t observe it at all, though it may be the oldest of the Holy Week observances. It’s worth asking why, and how, generations of Christians have revered this…

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History of Easter: The Sanhedrin — Who was this Council?

HISTORY OF THE SANHEDRIN The Greek word Συνέδριον, sunedrion, means literally “sitting together” and is usually translated “council.” It is referred to in the New Testament as “the Great Law-Court,” “the Court of Seventy-One,” and “the rulers and elders and scribes.” It was the supreme theocratic court of the Jews and reflected the local autonomy which…

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History of Herod Antipas: Why Jesus called him That Fox

HISTORY OF HEROD ANTIPAS Herod Antipas was the son of Herod the Great (whom we met in the Christmas story) and Malthake. After his father’s death in 4 B.C., he was made tetrarch of Galilee and Peraea in the Trans-Jordan area of Palestine which he ruled as a client state of the Roman Empire. Like…

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History of Pontius Pilate: his Background Before Good Friday

HISTORY OF PONTIUS PILATE The name Pontius Pilate provides two valuable clues to his background and ancestry. The family name, Pontius was that of a prominent clan among the Samnites, hill cousins of the Latin Romans. They had almost conquered Rome in several fierce wars. The Pontii were of noble blood, but when Rome finally absorbed…

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