Blog #648 Holy Week and Passover

Holy Week

This is the Wednesday of Holy Week (Christians), two days before Passover (Jewish friends).  Both are significant times in those two religions – and both are related.

Jewish friends are remembering the “Passover”.  This is a time when the Jews (or Hebrews) were in Egypt.  While they went to Egypt as free people when Joseph was a leader in Egypt and there was a great famine, after many years, they had become slaves and also had become numerous.  There was enmity between the Hebrews and the Egyptians. God, using Moses, send various plagues on the land – locusts, frogs, snakes, gnats, flies and others. Finally, God sent death to the first born sons in the land.  But, the Hebrews avoided that plague by painting their doorposts with the blood of perfect lambs. The “Angel of Death” passed over the houses with the lintels covered in blood, but killed the firstborn in the unmarked houses (basically the Egyptian houses).  

Can you picture waking in the morning in the Egyptian cities and finding your eldest son still in bed – dead?  Can you image in a household where the father was also the eldest son of his parents, and he died as well as the eldest son in the family.  

Just doing an estimation.  Let’s say where were a million Egyptians in that region.  Half of those would be males – so about 500,000. Of those maybe 300,000 would be the first born sons.  So, about 300,000 died that evening in the Egyptian homes, but nobody died in the houses marked with the blood of the perfect lamb.

That would be a disaster.  While probably not the case, but for discussion sake, the funeral homes would be overwhelmed.  The plague of death of the first son would also have affected the funeral directors too!! Bodies needed to be moved out of house before they started to rot and stink.  But, there would be crying – from almost every house.

My Jewish friends are remembering a very significant event in their history.

Then the Jewish people were led through the desert to the “Promised Land” – described as a land flowing with milk and honey.  But, even there people make mistakes and sinned. In their customs of the time, people could atone from their sins by sacrificing animals – like lambs, and their blood would ‘cover’ their sins.

And, my Christian friends are doing much the same.  Except for the Christians, to them the perfect lamb is Jesus – a man who was sinless like a perfect lamb.  He stated he was the “Son of Man” – sent from God the Father – eternal. Like the lamb, his blood was shed, but Christian beliefs are that the shedding of His blood took away our sins.  And, His blood, like the blood of animals ‘covers’ our sins.

So, in effect, Christians and Jews are ‘blood brothers’.  The blood covers our sins. Jesus was wholly Jewish and observed the Jewish laws and heritage – including the passover feast; sins are taken away by the shedding of blood – the blood of a lamb; or the shedding of Jesus’ blood.

To me, the idea of this week is for both solemness and joy.  Yes, traditions over the years have added Easter Eggs, bunnies, Easter Bonnets, and chocolate – but all those are built on something deeper.

But, however you celebrate Passover, or Easter or Good Friday – make it be a meaningful and happy time for you!!!    And, if you don’t celebrate either of these, may it still be a great week as you know your friends and associates are in a very solemn time in their faith experiences.  Give them a smile.

Bruce

Posted by Bruce White

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