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The First Easter

Remembering the Last Week of Jesus’ Life

DAY 1 – Palm Sunday
Jesus’ Triumphal Entry

Prophecy: “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold,
thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.” (Zechariah 9:9)

Scripture Reading: Matthew 21:1-11, Mark 11:1-11, Luke 19:28-44, John

Symbolism of t he Palm: Palm branches were used to welcome Jesus into Jerusalem
not just because they were available, but also because of what they represented. The palm was so important that when countries were at war, the first thing they did was cut away the palm branches, causing their enemies to suffer the loss of food and livelihood. There were almost no waste parts to the trees. They were used for food, tools, boats, utensils, medicine, decorative beads, perfume, and many other purposes. Strewing the branches at Jesus’ feet was then, a symbol of sacrificing worldly goods, both necessities and luxuries.

Meani ng of “HOSANNA”: The Greek form of the Hebrew expression for “Save us
now,” or “Save, we pray”—Taken from Psalms 118:25. It occurs nowhere in the English Bible except in the exclamations of the people at Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem, and in the joyous shots of children in the temple (Matthew 21:9, 15). Today, the Hosanna shout is used in temple dedications.

Application: How could we show our joy for Jesus if He came today?

DAY 2 – Monday
Cleansing the Temple

Prophecy: “Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of
prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar: for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.” (Isaiah 56:7).

Scripture Reading: Matthew 21:12-18, Mark 11:12-19, Luke19:45-48
This is the second time Christ has cleared the temple. The first time He declared it to be “My Father’s house”—this time he called it “My house.” The offensive activity was occurring in the outside courts where people of all religions could come and worship. After clearing the court, blind and lame and honest came to Jesus to be healed and taught. Children saw his ministry and burst forth into praise and worship in a hymn that was heard by the angels: “Hosanna to the son of David.” The Temple officials demanded of Him: “Hearest thou what these say?” They thought Jesus would disclaim the title, for the son of David was to be the Messiah, the promised King. Jesus answered, “Yea; have ye never read, ‘Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou has perfected praise?’” The children were pure and unprejudiced by traditions, so they could recognize Him because they were so innocent.

Application: How might the Savior feel in your own family’s home? How might he cleanse
it? As a family, choose one way to purify your home to make it acceptable to the Savior and His healing influence.

DAY 3 – Tuesday
Parables and Teachings

Prophecy: “I will open my mouth in a parable.” (Psalms 78:2). Scripture Reading: Matthew 21:19, Mark 11:20, Luke 20:1-22, John 12:37-50
Day 3 was spent again in the temple, teaching the people and answering the challenges of the Pharisees, and Sadducees. The Savior’s last teaching in the temple was the parable of the Widow’s Mite. Later, He taught his disciples more about being watchful and ready for His second coming as they reached the Mount of Olives: Parable of the ten virgins, Parable of the talents, and Parable of the final judgment.

Application: What can we learn from the parables Jesus taught? How do they apply to
us today? Are we giving our most, developing our best selves? Are we preparing to meet Christ when he comes again?

DAY 4 – Wednesday
Rest in Bethany

Prophecy: “And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So
they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver.” (Zechariah 11:12)

Scripture Reading: Matthew 26:1-16, Mark 14:1-11, Luke 22:1-6
It is believed that Christ spent this time with His friends in Bethany. It was at this time, that Mary anointed Christ with the very costly and highly prized oriental ointment, Spikenard. There were many imitations of Spikenard, but as it was described as costly and very precious, we can guess that this was the very best. In contrast, His enemies, the scribes, chief priests, and elders of the people counseled together about the best way to arrest and capture Jesus, not wanting it to be in a public place during the busy Passover Feast because they feared the reaction of the people. This is why Judas bargained for His betrayal—thirty pieces of silver (about 17 dollars), which was the price usually paid for the life of a male slave.

Application: What can we offer Christ--Priceless ointment of obedience and sacrifice or
the betrayal of our commitment to Him for earthly treasure?

The Last Supper and Jesus’ Prayer and Agony in Gethsemane

DAY 5 – Thursday

Prophecies: “Yea, my own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath
lifted up his heel against me.” (Psalms 41:9) “Surely he hath bourne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet, we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God and afflicted.” (Isaiah 53:4)

Scripture Reading: Matthew 26:17-25, Luke 22:7-65, Mark 14:12-72, John
13:1-John 18:27

The Last Supper was a Passover meal which was celebrated by the Jews since the time
of Moses when the Israelites were trying to secure their freedom from the Egyptians. On a specific night the destroying angels would move through the city killing every firstborn child and beast in the land. The Israelites were given specific instructions to follow so the destruction would “pass over” their households: Those Israelites who sacrificed and ate a specially selected lamb and marked their doorposts with its blood, would be spared. Washi ng of t he Feet was a priesthood ordinance. It was reinstituted as admission to the school of the prophets in Joseph Smith’s time. It was done to teach the disciples humility and love in serving. The sacrame nt or Lord’s Sup per was given also during the Passover meal with Christ’s disciples. Judas had left, so it was just the Savior and His eleven disciples. After Christ introduced His sacrament, He prayed to His Father and His disciples. They left the room and went on to Gethse mane, which means oil-press. This was a place frequented by Jesus when He wanted to be alone for prayer or thought. It was an olive grove and in it, there would have been a mill that was used to press the oil from the olives. The very first press of oil from the olives is very red in color—reminding us of Christ’s suffering. Here, He pled for help from His Father and suffered such agony that “His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” Here, He suffered for each of us individually and for all our sins and heartache.

Application: As you pray today, ask, “What can I do to be more worthy to partake of the
sacrament this Sunday?”

Jesus’ Trial and Crucifixion

DAY 6 – Friday

Prophecies: “He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is
brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.” (Isaiah 53:7) “For dogs have compassed me; the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me; they pierced my hands and my feet.” (Psalmss 22:16) “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Why are thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?” (Psalmss 22:1)

Scripture Reading: Matthew 27:1-61, Luke 22:66-Luke 23:56, Mark 15:1-47,
John 18:28-John 19:42

Jesus’ Trial was illegal for many reasons. It was illegal because it occurred at night and

without public notification. It was held the day before the Sabbath and was concluded in one day. No investigations were made, and there were avowed enemies of Jesus’ sitting in judgment. There was no unanimous vote.

Crucifixion was the most horrible form of death. Humiliation was a big part of the
practice. The condemned was made to carry his cross through the city to the place of crucifixion of outside the city wall. Christ had been through so much deprivation and torture, He was unable to carry it and so Simon the Cyrenian was asked to serve. It is believed that he and his family were then or later became prominent members of the church.

Women at the cross were believed to be: His mother; his aunt, Salome; Mary, the
wife of Cleophas; and Mary Magdalene. It is believed that Jesus died of a broken or ruptured heart (Psalms 69:20,21). The blood and water that spilled out of His side when He was pierced with the sword were medical indications of a ruptured heart. The burial was made in haste before the Sabbath. Joseph of Arimathea was at heart, a disciple of Christ, but hesitated to confess it because he was afraid of the Jews. He wanted to make sure Jesus wasn’t buried in a mass grave with the other executed criminals, and so he went to Pilate to beg for His body. He was assisted by Nicodemus who brought the costly embalming ointments reserved only for the wealthy. Both belonged to the Sanhedrin, but both believed in Jesus.

Application: How do you feel about what Christ has done for you?

DAY 7 – Saturday
The Jewish Sabbath

Prophecy: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall
rejoice; and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.” (John 16:20)

Scripture Reading: Matthew 27:62-66, Luke 23:56
It was on the Sabbath that the chief priests and Pharisees came to Pilate and asked for a guard to be placed at the tomb. Even this act was against all that they were supposed to believe because Sabbath observance was very strict for the Jews. The Jews of this time were overzealous in living the man-made rules, but easily forgot the Lord of the Sabbath. However, when lived with the true spirit of the law, the Sabbath helped the Jews commemorate and celebrate their relationship with God.

The Sabbath was a day of joy and celebration, of laughter and song, of rest, and worship
of the sacred. Tradition actually prohibits sadness on this day. Talk of war and politics, problems and pain were meant the other days of the week. Family members prepared for the Sabbath by taking ritual baths and dressing in their best clothing. With everything in place on Friday evening, Jewish mothers lit candles and prayed signaling a transition from the secular to the sacred. Dinner was served on their best dishes and was often shared with strangers and the les fortunate. Part of that dinner always includes 2 loaves of read twisted together as one. The loaves are an important symbol of God’s Sabbath, and signify the time when the children of Israel were commanded every Friday morning to collect a double portion of their manna so that they would have food on the Sabbath when no manna was sent. It was against this Sabbath-day backdrop that the disciples of our Lord grappled with the reality and cruelty of Jesus’ death. Perhaps the shock of it all shielded them from the irony of their grief on this Sabbath day—a day of supposed gladness. Only one day away from the great joy that comes from understanding, the sorrow and confusion of Jesus’ followers on this Sabbath must have seemed overwhelming. Each disciple felt abandoned to a dark night of hopelessness—little dreaming of the brilliant Light prepared to dawn the next day.

Application: What might I do to prepare for a better Sabbath experience? Think about
the irony that Christ’s death brought grief to his disciples on earth, but joy to those in the spirit world. What might this teach us about trusting in the Lord with patience?

DAY 8 – Easter Sunday
Jesus’ Resurrection and Appearance

Prophecy: “He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from
off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the Lord hath spoken it.” (Isaiah 25:8)

Scripture Reading: Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, John 20-21
Jesus died and was interred during Friday afternoon. His body lay in the tomb during part of Friday (first day), throughout Saturday (second day), and part of Sunday (third day). We do not know what hour between Saturday sunset and Sunday dawn He was resurrected. An earthquake occurred, and the angel of the Lord descended and rolled the stone from the portal of the tomb in the early dawn of Sunday to reveal an empty tomb. Resurrected bodies are able to move according to laws that make it possible to move through barriers. Jesus now possessed the power of making Himself visible or invisible to mortal vision.

Appearances of Christ betwe en Resurrection & Ascension

Mary Magdalene, near the sepulcher. (Mark 16:9, 10; John 20:14) Other women, somewhere between the sepulcher and Jerusalem. (Matthew 28:9) Two disciples on the road to Emmaus. (Mark 16:14; John 20:26) Peter in or near Jerusalem. (Luke 24:34; 1 Corinthians 15:5) Ten of the apostles and others at Jerusalem. Thomas was not there this time and could not believe what the others told him. (Luke 24:36; John 20:19) Eleven apostles at Jerusalem. (Mark 16:14) Apostles at the Sea of Tiberias, Galilee. (John 21) Eleven apostles on a mountain in Galilee. (Matthew 28:16) 500 brethren at once, probably in Galilee. (1 Corinthians 15:6) James. (1 Corinthians 15:7) Eleven apostles at the time of the ascension, Mount of Olives, near Bethany. (Mark 16:19, Luke 24:50, 51)

Application: Spend some time in personal reflection. Devote an entire prayer to
thanksgiving. Write down your testimony of Jesus as the Christ. Study and ponder the sacrament prayers (Doctrine & Covenants 20:77, 79).