Tag Archives: Holy Week

The Biblical Teachings of Passover and Easter by Gregory Hilton

Then came the day of Unleavened Bread, on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. So Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, "Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat it." They said to him, "Where will you have us prepare it?" He said to them, "Behold, when you have entered the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him into the house that he enters and tell the master of the house, 'The Teacher says to you, Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?' And he will show you a large upper room furnished; prepare it there." And they went and found it just as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover (Luke 22:7-13).
At sundown today, Jews across the world are gathering for a Seder dinner as a part of Passover. They are commemorating the flight of Hebrews from slavery in Egypt more than 3,000 years ago. They left Egypt in the hope of a new life in a promised land. The universal message for Jews and Gentiles is the same. Resurrection life is available to all who trust in God and receive new life through His Son.
The biblical teachings of Passover and Easter are similar. The Last Supper was a Passover Seder. Jesus was with 11 of his disciples. He was introduced by John the Baptist who said “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29).The Christian celebration of Easter has its roots in Jewish tradition.
Many of the observations can be found in “Resurrection: The Power of God for Christians and Jews.” It was co-authored by two Harvard scholars, one Jewish and the other Catholic, and it is a superb treatment of a core belief in Judaism and Christianity — resurrection.
Passover, more than any other Jewish holiday, revolves around food. Upon arriving to Seder there is an hour or so of rituals and prayers before the celebrants eat. But Passover is about the food because the holiday commemorates and celebrates the freedom of the enslaved Israelites — a holiday about the Exodus and the subsequent discovery of the land of milk and honey, must be celebrated with extravagant culinary treasures that prompt feelings of prosperity. Moreover, because there are special dietary restrictions during the week of Passover (i.e. no unleavened bread) the restricted menu narrows the possible options, making every Seder similar in its culinary offerings.

Holy Week and the Importance of Religious Tolerance by Gregory Hilton

Passover, Good Friday and Easter all Occur During Holy Week

Passover, Good Friday and Easter all Occur During Holy Week


The eternal message of Holy Week is conquering sin, death and evil, and Easter is my favorite service of the year. Easter is about our lives today, and its message is especially relevant for those who are encountering difficulties. This victory over death promises us a personal resurrection and eternal life.
I am from New York and many of my friends and colleagues are Jewish. They are correct in reminding me that Jesus was born into a Jewish family, he grew up as a Jewish boy, he worked as a Jewish young man, all of his teachings imply a Jewish setting and worldview, and he went to the Cross to be the Messiah of the Jewish people, as well as the “Lamb of God” who “takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). We Christians joyously recognize that our Savior was Jewish.
I would also like to address the Muslim community. It is important to discuss Holy Week in light of many recent statements demonstrating religious intolerance. There are over 1 billion Muslims in the world. I agree with former President George W. Bush who described Islam as “a faith based upon peace, love and compassion.” He said it is a religion committed to “morality, learning and tolerance.” I believe the passages from Koran in this video are taken out of context.
The Koran says “Even if you stretch out your hand to kill me, I shall not stretch out my hand to kill you.” Islam comes from the root word ‘salaam’, which means peace. The suicide bombers are bad Muslims. Suicide for any purpose is prohibited in Islam, and so is killing innocent people.
I do not have a religious test for the President and I am not making any judgments based upon his middle name. Obama critics are falsely claiming the President is a Muslim. They say: “Barack Hussein Obama is a Muslim name. If it walks, talks, looks, smells and feels like a duck, it’s a duck.”
It is important to be tolerant of all religions, and John F. Kennedy addressed this when he spoke to Protestant ministers in Texas in the fall of 1960:
“Because I am a Catholic, and no Catholic has ever been elected President, the real issues in this campaign have been obscured. . . I today visited the Alamo. For side by side with Bowie and Crockett died Fuentes, McCafferty, Bailey, Badillo and Carey — but no one knows whether they were Catholics or not. For there was no religious test there. . . Do not judge me on the basis of publications that carefully select quotations out of context from the statements of church leaders, usually in other countries, frequently in other centuries, and rarely relevant to any situation here.”
JFK also has a Passover/Easter message for all of us. It is the last line of his Inaugural Address, and it is engraved in marble at his Arlington tomb: “With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God’s work must truly be our own.”