Saturday, April 16, 2011

Easter Story: From Palms to Passion

There is a church here in Billings advertising this week's sermon on their marquee.  It is entitled From Palms to Passion.  As the Easter season is upon us and tomorrow is what Christianity generally refers to as Palm Sunday, I felt it appropriate to look at the Savior's last week of mortality, beginning with His triumphal entry into Jerusalem up until He and His disciples leave for the Garden of Gethsemane.

"Christ's Triumphal Entry Into Jerusalem" by Harry Anderson

On the Sunday morning before the Passover ceremony, the Savior and some of His followers were approaching Jerusalem.  Jesus Christ instructed two of the disciples to go to a nearby town and retrieve a certain donkey, a white colt.  As they returned, Jesus rode into the great city of Jerusalem on the colt.  As he entered the city, the people shouted for joy and laid their clothes in the path and waved palm leaves.  In this moment, one of the prophecies of the prophet Zechariah was fulfilled (see Zechariah 9:9).  Unfortunatley the zeal for the Savior and His cause would not last very long.

Jesus then spent the week teaching in the temple everyday.  He was giving His final directions and instructions relating to the gospel to the Jewish nation as a whole.  Some of these include the parable of the ten virgins, the law of marriage, signs of the Second Coming, and counsel to render to God's that which is rightfully His. 

As the Passover commenced, Jesus Christ and the twelve apostles met in the upper room of a home.  Here the Savior taught those who would be continuing the church after His death.  He taught them to love one another, promised them that they would receive the Holy Ghost, and offered the great intercessory prayer.  At some point during the meal, Judas Iscariot left to go find those with whom he and conspired against his Lord with.

"In Remembrance of Me" by Walter Rane
Above all the words and works in that upper room, the sacred ordinance of the sacrament was instituted by the Savior Himself.  He blessed and broke bread, explaining that it was in similitude of His body.  The Savior then blessed wine and taught that it was in similitude of His blood which would soon be shed for the sins of the world.  Evening had come and after singing a hymn, Christ began the walk to Gethsemane, followed by the eleven remaining disciples.

What does this last week of Jesus' mortal life have to do with us?  Everything!  Were it not for the sacrament, none of us could have the continual remission of our sins from day to day.  I am grateful for the Savior's teachings in this His last week.  It all leads up to the most important event to ever occur in human history.  Check in soon for the next part of the Easter story, "Passion of the Christ"

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