History of Pentecost

Pentecost

HISTORY OF PENTECOST The Feast of Pentecost is taken from the Greek word πεντηκόστη, which means “the 50th,” referring to the fiftieth day after the Jewish Passover and the Christian Easter. In the Jewish calendar, this aligns with the harvest festival Shavuot, known as the “Feast of Weeks,” which occurs seven weeks (7 × 7…

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

Question_Mark_Cloud

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 his brother’s wife Herodias as…

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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 across the Roman Empire commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is set on the first Sunday after the full moon following the vernal equinox.   Meaning of the word Easter There are several theories about where we…

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History of the Trial: How many did Jesus have?

Via Crusis

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

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History of Maundy Thursday: Shere or Green Thursday?

Maundy 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 Holy Wednesday: Why was it called Spy Wednesday?

duccio di buoninsegna pact of judas wga06789

HISTORY OF HOLY WEDNESDAY The Wednesday of Passion Week – called “Passion” from the Latin passio, meaning suffering – is called Holy Wednesday. Alternatively, it is called Good Wednesday in the Western Church or Great and Holy Wednesday in the Eastern Church. It was previously called Spy Wednesday and was about Judas Iscariot. That Wednesday…

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History of Easter: The Sanhedrin – Who Was This Council?

Jerusalem Second Temple

HISTORY OF THE SANHEDRIN The Greek word Συνέδριον, sunedrion, means literally “sitting together” and is usually translated as “council.” It is referred to in the New Testament alternately 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. The Sanhedrin reflected the…

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History of Palm Sunday

Triumphal Entry

HISTORY OF PALM SUNDAY The week we now call Holy Week or Passion Week starts this weekend with Palm Sunday. Why was this week so important that three of the gospel writers (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) devote a full third of their contents to reporting this week, and the fourth gospel (John) dedicates its entire last half? Jerusalem,…

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History of Herod Antipas: Why Jesus called him That Fox

Herod Antipas

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 died 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

Pontius Pilate

HISTORY OF PONTIUS PILATE The Roman governor who presided over Jesus’s trial and ordered his crucifixion had a complex background. 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…

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Science of The Spring: What is the Vernal Equinox?

Equinox

SCIENCE OF THE SPRING In Colorado, we have a saying: we begin the first day of Spring in the same way we began the Fall: with snow. This symmetry is relevant, as the beginning of Spring and Fall coincide with the Equinox. This word consists of two Latin root words, aequus and nox, meaning “equal…

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History of Easter: Historical Climate

Historical Context Jerusalem

HISTORICAL CLIMATE OF EASTER As Passion Week begins next weekend, what was the historical climate of Easter Week almost 2,000 years ago surrounding the last week of the life of Jesus of Nazareth? He was a man “born to die,” not just in the ordinary sense but also in some unique sense. Jesus entered Jerusalem…

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