Why would a person lay down their life for a stranger? Even more peculiar is the person who dies for someone who damned and offended them for years on end. Easter is a very curious time of year. Many Christians exist and for them, Easter represents seeing what they have hoped all their lives: a heavenly eternity with Jesus.

A couple thousand years ago Jesus, one many Christians believe was both man and God. One of Jesus’ teachings was that a man has no greater love than to lay down his life for friends. Other faiths have picked up on the idea. For example, Gandhi, a Hindu, taught, man's excellence lies in his readiness to let others live and lay down his own life.

Easter week culminates with Good Friday, the day the Christ was crucified, and Resurrection Day. Modern music has memorialized these days and combined the events with mind-blowing imagery creating jubilant messages to devotees.

Palm Sunday

The story begins with Jesus entering Jerusalem a couple of days after the Roman governor Pilate arrived with a magnificent military procession. Jesus reached Jerusalem from the east riding on a colt. Many of Jesus’ followers laid their clothes, others leaves from trees on the ground for an ass to walk upon. The crowd cried, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” according to the Bible.

The high priests of Jerusalem were threatened by Jesus’ entrance and the people’s reaction.

Next, Jesus moved to the temple yards and created a scene. It was the Jewish holy season, the Passover, and the Holy City’s population had increased some five-fold. Moneychangers were in the temple court to convert foreign coin into Jerusalem money. Some suspect they were overcharging. Others had animals and birds in the yard to sell for sacrifice.

The courtyard was created for gentiles, or non-Jews, to worship God in. It was probably not the first time Jesus experienced these activities, he had worshipped at the temple before, but Jesus overturned the tables and drove the unholy people and animals from the courtyard. This not only created chaos, which the Romans would not tolerate but eventually cost religious leaders economically.

Even worse, at least in the Pharisees eyes, Jesus healed the sick and lame in the temple.

Good Friday

By the end of the week, Jesus was convicted of believing he was the son of God. Jewish leaders turned him over to Pilate as a traitor, calling him King of the Jews. Pilate couldn’t find a crime Jesus committed. When the governor offered to release a prisoner on the Passover, as was the custom, Pilate asked a crowd if he should free Jesus or a condemned murderer. “Barabbus,” they cried sealing Jesus’ fate.

This is not an anti-Semitic attack. Christians see this as all part of God’s plan for man’s salvation from sin. Jesus’ martyrdom is the most important event in history for most Christians. Had Jesus not died, Christian believers would have no hope of eternal life.

The belief is that their sins are washed away by the blood of Jesus as Andre Crouch explained in one of his anthems. And it's also mentioned in a song Johnny Cash made famous years ago.

Then three days later Jesus arose victorious from the grave. Many Christians believe Jesus is at God’s right hand and preparing mansions for his followers.