The EYE WITNESS Bible Series produced by Hatikvah Films is excellent and I would suggest you consider using the one titled EASTER at your Home Group. Ideally, it would have been a study prior to Easter but any time of year it is a powerful message.
The following 14-minute segment shows enough to determine if it is for you. It tells the story of Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem riding on a donkey. It is described in all four gospel accounts. Only Matthew and John were present at the event, and all four gospel writers had different purposes in choosing the details of their storyline. Although the Triumphal Entry is traditionally taken to have happened on the Sunday before the crucifixion of Jesus, experts vary on the exact day it happened. John wrote that Jesus arrived in Bethany six days before the Passover, and indicates the entry happened the next day. John says that people were going to see Lazarus, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.
What about the pharisees and the sadducees, the religious leaders of the day, what was their reaction to Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead? There were many eye witnesses to that miraculous event.
“So the chief priests made plans to put Lazarus to death as well, because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and believing in Jesus.” John 10:11-12
Matthew indicates a donkey and its colt were to be brought to Jesus, while the other three gospels mention only a colt. Luke indicates the colt had more than one owner. Mark and Luke have Jesus saying the colt will be unridden. All of the writers have a common goal of relating the event and the crowd’s reactions to at least two scriptures:
“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is He, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” Zechariah 9:9
Symbolism of thorns in Scripture
As well as thorns and thistles being a very real physical component of the cursed world that we all now live in, they carry further symbolic negative overtones throughout the Bible, firmly pointing back to the Curse in Genesis. Their symbolic meaning also creates problems for those who do not read Genesis as a true historical account, as the negative biblical overtones associated with thorns and thistles are integral to their historical origin at the time of the Curse. Without the connection to their historical origin, their symbolic meaning becomes empty and vague.
The numerous references to thorns and thistles throughout the Bible remind us of the historical Original Sin and Curse that followed. The negative biblical overtones associated with thorns and thistles after Genesis 3:18 are demonstrated in their representation as obstacles, punishment, or serving as a reminder of sin and its consequences. For example:
- In Numbers 33:55, God warned the Israelites that if they did not drive out the inhabitants of the land of Canaan, allowing them to remain, the Canaanites would be an obstacle to them. They would be, “thorns in your sides”. Proverbs 15:19 again uses the imagery of thorns as obstacles, saying, “The way of the sluggard is like a hedge of thorns, but the path of the upright is a level highway.”
- The New Testament also uses thorns and thistles in reference to the inner workings of the worldly heart, corrupted by sin. In the parable of the sower, Matthew 13:3-8 some seeds “fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them” (v. 7). Also, the outward expression of that worldly heart which apostatizes from Christ is likened to a barren wasteland, which, “if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed, and its end is to be burned” (Hebrews 6:8).
The ultimate fulfilment of the symbolism that thorns and thistles have in the Bible is found in Matthew 27:29:
“And twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his head and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ ”
Here the governor’s soldiers placed a crown of thorns on Jesus’ head, to mock him as the King of the Jews. Oh, if only they had known both what they were doing and the symbolism that their actions entailed! Thorns were not present in the original very good world, but the Roman soldiers didn’t have any trouble finding thorns to place on Jesus head. Thorns that were a direct result of man’s original sin are now found in abundance in a world that is steeped in sin. What the soldiers unwittingly did was hugely significant. There is nothing random in the Bible; every word that has been written in its pages is significant. The crown of thorns vividly symbolised the curse of sin being placed on Jesus’s head. It immediately takes the reader back to Genesis, reminding us of why Jesus went to the cross, to take the penalty for sin on our behalf. He died as the perfect sacrifice for our sins, so that the Curse that God had pronounced upon this earth because of sin, can be removed for those that believe in him, and that ultimately creation itself can be redeemed. “For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God” Romans 8;20-21. Christ’s actions will blunt every sharply pointed thistle and thorn as well as the other effects of the curse. The Christian can shout, “O death, where is your sting?”
extract from article Why did Jesus wear a Crown of Thorns by Phil Robinson and Colin Jones www.creation.com
David Cameron and the Queen have given strong and encouraging Christian Easter messages this year. It’s a reminder of Australia’s Christian heritage which has blessed this country considerably.
At the Last Supper Jesus drank from 3 cups of wine as part of the Passover. He didn’t drink the Fourth Cup. How is this related to the Gospel and to prophecy? What do Passover’s four cups teach us?
EASTER is the time when we remember our Saviour’s resurrection which makes our own resurrection sure.
“JESUS answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” John 2:19
Jesus knew He was going to die in Jerusalem, but He also knew he was going to be raised from the dead. He knew the Messianic Psalms were about Him:
“For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.” Psalm 16:10 (Prophesy is proof the Bible is God’s Word)
Jesus knew nothing could separate Him from the Father’s love and we have been given the same promise in Romans 8: 38-39. And we have been given the same promise of resurrection Jesus was given.
” Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection from the dead? But if there is no resurrection from the dead, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is in vain and your faith also vain ……………………….. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.” But now Christ is risen from the dead and has become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. 1 Corinthians 15: 12 -20
“For this we say to you by the Word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with a voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will arise first.” 1 Thessalonians 4: 15-16
Paul says to comfort one another with these words and so we should, what a wonderful God we serve.
ETERNAL LIFE – Take the time this Easter to consider what JESUS (second person of the Trinity) did for humanity just 2014 years ago.
His perfect LOVE, His perfect OBEDIENCE enabled His perfect OFFERING for my sins and yours. GOD the Father FORGIVES those who repent of their sins and acknowledge JESUS as their Lord and Saviour.
The evidence for the resurrection of JESUS is irrefutable. The inability of the Jewish Religious leaders to produce Christ’s body. Many people saw Christ appear (500). Many saw him not individually but together. They saw him appear not once but many times. They not only saw him but touched him, conversed with him and ate with him. Following JESUS ascension to heaven the disciples were miraculously empowered by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost (third person of the Trinity) as told by Jesus to take the GOOD NEWS to the world. The sincerity of the disciples was attested to by their suffering and death. If the disciples had not zealously done as JESUS had instructed them Christianity would have died at its birth.
Have you accepted JESUS free gift of Eternal Life? You can be empowered by the Holy Spirit to start living eternally now.