Christian and Jewish Holy Days Coincide Today

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by Sharon Rondeau

Have "We the People" followed God's laws?

(Apr. 6, 2012) — The Jewish holiday of Passover begins tonight at sundown to celebrate the freeing of the Israelites from Egypt as depicted in the book of Exodus in the Old Testament.  This year, Passover and Good Friday fall on the same day.  It is said that the two traditions’ respective holidays of Passover and Easter “rarely coincide.”

Because Pharaoh refused to allow the Israelites their freedom, God visited ten plagues upon Egypt.  The plague upon the first-born took the sons of all Egyptian families, but spared, or “passed over,” the first-born sons of Israeli families.  After losing his own son to the plague, Pharaoh allowed the Israelites to leave.

In their haste, there was no time to allow the bread to rise.  Unleavened bread, or matzoh (or matzah), is eaten at Passover to commemorate the Israelites’ escape from bondage following “many decades” of slavery.  Some Jews burn anything considered “leavened” before Passover commences.

Moses led the Israelites out of the land of Egypt.  The parting of the Red Sea occurred at the end of the first week.  In Exodus 14:21, it says:

Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the LORD drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided.

God promised to deliver the Israelites and to protect them, but they wandered in the desert for 40 years because they were a “stubborn” and “rebellious” people.

According to Exodus 19, two months after their departure from Egypt, they entered the Desert of Sinai.  Verse 3 states:

Then Moses went up to God, and the LORD called to him from the mountain and said, “This is what you are to say to the descendants of Jacob and what you are to tell the people of Israel: 4 ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. 5 Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, 6 you[a] will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.”

God gave Moses the Ten Commandments, which are:

ONE: ‘You shall have no other gods before Me.’

TWO: ‘You shall not make for yourself a carved image–any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.’

THREE: ‘You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.’

FOUR: ‘Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.’

FIVE: ‘Honor your father and your mother.’

SIX: ‘You shall not murder.’

SEVEN: ‘You shall not commit adultery.’

EIGHT: ‘You shall not steal.’

NINE: ‘You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.’

TEN: ‘You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.’

The Last Supper took place on Passover and came to be known as "Maundy Thursday"

Maundy Thursday, the night Jesus and his disciples shared bread together for the last time, arose from the Jewish Seder Supper held after sundown on the first day of Passover according to three of the four New Testament gospels.  Today, Christians around the world observed Good Friday, the day that Jesus was crucified by the Romans.

While celebrating the old tradition of the Seder Supper, the Bible says that Jesus introduced the new covenant to his disciples, instructing them to “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

The Holy Eucharist, or Holy Communion, was given to the disciples for the first time on Maundy Thursday, and the Christian priesthood was begun.

Jesus had “commanded” his disciples to “preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.”  The New Testament states that that Jesus was tortured, crucified and died to redeem mankind from sin after leading “a sinless life.”  “Christ” means “Messiah” or “the Anointed One.”  He was sent to offer salvation to man to absolve his sins.  One priest perceives that “the major sins committed by people are mostly of infidelity and injustice.” The Ten Commandments instruct us to be faithful to our spouse and honest with others, and Jesus referred to them when he said, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind” and “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”

On another mountain, Jesus told the people:

3“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4Blessed are those who mourn,
For they shall be comforted.
5Blessed are the meek,
For they shall inherit the earth.

6Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
For they shall be filled.
7Blessed are the merciful,
For they shall obtain mercy.
8Blessed are the pure in heart,
For they shall see God.
9Blessed are the peacemakers,
For they shall be called sons of God.
10Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11“Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Tomorrow is Holy Saturday, when Jesus lay in the tomb following his crucifixion and death by suffocation.  It is a custom in some countries to focus on Jesus’s betrayer, Judas Iscariot.  No regular Catholic mass is held.

The Bible says that Mary Magdalene, a sinner, went to the tomb early on Sunday morning and found the large stone in front of it had been moved.  Jesus had risen from the dead to give believers eternal life:  “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies.”


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