EYE WITNESS ACCOUNTS OF JESUS CRUCIFIXION AND RESURRECTION

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
https://youtu.be/8ijCwrJVR4A

IRAQ’S CHRISTIANS DON’T LOSE HOPE

For the first time since ISIS drove all the Christians from Iraq’s Nineveh Plain in 2014, the Christian town of Qaraqosh celebrates Palm Sunday after many of its families have returned. During this week leading up to Easter, Open Doors team on the ground visits Qaraqosh to meet with Christians there.

 

Today, the world can see and hear the powerful truth—Christians have returned to the Nineveh Plain. Thousands of Iraqi Christians walked through the streets of the ancient town, waving palm and olive branches; praying, singing and remembering the triumphant entry of Jesus Christ. Their chorus: “King of kings and Lord of Lords. Glory! Hallelujah!”

We spoke with a 25-year-old teacher named Andraws. His message to Christians around the world was clear: “Please do not lose hope. Two and a half years we were displaced and we almost lost hope to ever return here. But today, we are here again, because of Jesus; because we had hope in Him,” he said.

Standing amidst the thousands of Christians, Andraws adds: “As you can see: the Christians have returned to Qaraqosh!”

Andraws and his family joined the march that ended with an open air service on the square of Qaraqosh’ St. John’s Church. The roof of the church served as a pulpit for the Church leaders, proclaiming the gospel, reading the Bible and leading the crowd gathered in the square into worship and singing Hosanna.

Andraws, an English teacher in Qaraqosh’s recently reopened school, says: “Today is the start of the week of Easter. And we are very excited about it. I’m glad that we can celebrate Palm Sunday again in our city. Thank God for that. Because three years ago, something like that would never happened, when we were displaced.”

Faith strengthened because of ISIS 

The young teacher tells us how his faith changed after ISIS forced him and his family out of their town, leaving almost everything they owned behind because they refused to renounce their faith in Christ. “During the first days we were displaced, I felt like there was no God or Jesus; because of the things that happened to us. But after that, I realised that Jesus does exist and we have to believe in Him.” “And because of Him, we are here today.”

Do Christians in your city celebrate Palm Sunday like these Iraqi Christians?

Report from Open Doors March 25, 2018 by Brian O. in Middle East