The Ten: Symbols to reflect on at Easter

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Palm branch
A symbol of victory and peace used to honour Jesus.
“The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, ‘Hosanna!’, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’, ‘Blessed is the king of Israel!’”—John 12:12,13.

During the last supper, Jesus shared a meal with the disciples before His crucifixion. With rich symbolism from Passover, the unleavened bread represents God’s deliverance of His people. Jesus infused it with more meaning. “And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me’”—Luke 22:19,20.

Jesus also shared a cup of wine with the disciples during the last supper. “Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom’”
—Matthew 26:27–29.

A symbol of God’s love for us through the sacrifice of His son.
“So Jesus said, ‘When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me. The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him’”—John 8:28,29.

Tree or wood
Other than the cross made of wood, Jesus‘ sacrifice restored our access to eternal life, symbolised by the tree of life which was lost because of Adam and Eve‘s disobedience. “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed”—1 Peter 2:24.

Crown of thorns
Intended to humiliate and degrade, His crown of thorns was the consequence of our sins. “When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, ‘Here is the man!’. As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, ‘Crucify! Crucify!’”—John 19:5,6.

A stark reminder of the pain Jesus endured for us. “After they had nailed him to the cross, the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice”
—Matthew 27:35 (NLT).

Empty tomb
Jesus conquered death, which meant we could have life. Thank you Lord! “Early on Sunday morning, as the new day was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went out to visit the tomb. Suddenly there was a great earthquake! For an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, rolled aside the stone, and sat on it. His face shone like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow”
—Matthew 28:18–22 (NLT).

A pure sacrificial offering, representing Jesus and His act of love for us. “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, ‘Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!’”—John 1:29. 

Foot washing
An act of humility, love and service which Jesus participated in with His disciples during the last supper. “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you”—John 13:14,15 (ESV).

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