Understanding the season of renewal and blessings at Easter Published March 30, 2006 By Chaplain (Maj.) Mark McDaniel 301st Fighter Wing NAVAL AIR STATION JOINT RESERVE BASE FORT WORTH, Texas -- In April, two religious communities celebrate significant holy celebrations. In the Jewish community, Passover will be celebrated. In the biblical account, the people of Israel were enslaved in Egypt. God sent Moses to deliver them out of this bondage. After the king of Egypt, Pharaoh, refused to allow Israel to go into the desert to worship God, God wreaked havoc on the nation through ten plagues of, literally, biblical proportions. Each of these plagues were meant to show-up the gods of Egypt. The tenth plague was where Passover originated. Each Israelite was to slaughter a lamb and take the blood of that lamb upon the posts of their front door. The death-angel of God went throughout the land of Egypt and killed all the first-born of each house. If blood was found, then the death-angel would “Passover” the house. After this event, Pharaoh allowed Israel to leave and worship God. In the Christian community, Easter is celebrated. The belief is that Jesus entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. Many of the Jews believed that Jesus could possibly be the long-awaited Messiah, or savior, of the nation. They welcomed him with Palm branches announcing him as their king. Jesus, however, was not like many of the so-called Messiah’s before him. He did not want to lay claim to an earthly throne, or remove the presence of Roman soldiers from Israel’s land. He went against what the crowd wanted. The religious leaders called for Jesus to be executed because he claimed to be one with God. Jesus was handed over to the Roman authority, Pontius Pilate, who ordered Jesus’ crucifixion – a common method of putting criminals to death during that time. Jesus was laid in a tomb and then, according to Christian beliefs, rose again from the dead on Sunday. Both of these holy days are significant events in the history and life of each faith. For those of you who are practicing believers in Judaism and Christianity, may this season be one of renewal and blessing. For those of you who are not adherents of either faith, it is hoped this article helps you understand the dynamic and profound significance of this time to both Jewish and Christian believers. God’s blessings.