At Youth Group this week I shared the story of the first Easter. Only about half of them had any idea that Easter was about Jesus! So, just as I did at Christmas, it’s time for an Easter refresher course. The story of the first Easter in 300 words or less. Starting now…
- After preaching for three years, Jesus comes to Jerusalem. On “Palm Sunday,” one week before Easter, he is treated as a king, with crowds waving palm branches and shouting “Hosanna!”
- Jesus’ teachings anger the religious leaders of the day, the Pharisees. They pay Judas, one of Jesus’ disciples, 30 pieces of silver to betray him.
- Thursday night, Jesus has the “Last Supper” with his disciples to observe the Jewish Passover. He announces that Judas will betray him and Peter will deny knowing him.
- Early “Good Friday” morning, Jesus goes to pray. When he finishes praying, Judas gives him a kiss of greeting. This is a signal to men that have come to arrest Jesus.
- Jesus is taken to the court of the Pharisees and accused of blasphemy. Having no law to execute a man, they send him to Jerusalem’s governor, Pilate. Pilate doesn’t want to deal with him, so he sends Jesus to King Herod. Herod sends Jesus back to Pilate. Pilate has Jesus whipped 39 times. A crown of thorns was put on his head to mock the title he had been given, “King of the Jews.” The crowd demands more. Pilot finally orders Jesus’ execution.
- Peter is accused of following Jesus, but three times denies knowing him.
- Jesus drags his cross through Jerusalem. They put a nail in his hands and feet to keep him on the cross and hang him between two criminals. One asks for forgiveness for his sins. Jesus dies and his body is placed in a tomb which is sealed with a large stone.
- “Easter Sunday” morning, two women going to see his body find the stone rolled away and the tomb empty. They are told by an angel that Jesus is risen!
There you have it. An Easter refresher course in 289 words. Much more in-depth versions of this story can be found in the Bible. Check out Matthew chapters 26-28, Mark chapters 14-16, Luke chapters 22-24 and John chapters 13-20. You can also watch various movies about this week in Jesus life. BFG recommends The Passion of the Christ, a very well done movie telling the story of the last few hours before Jesus’ crucifixion. You’re welcome and HAPPY EASTER!