Middle Eastern Mythologies

The Christian Story

What are the central events around the Passion of Jesus?

In the last days of his life of teaching, Jesus was said to have entered the holy city of Jerusalem, riding on an ass, signifying his new message of humility. But his followers threw down palms in his path, signifying his “kingship” as Messiah. After a Jewish Passover Seder, which would become the basis for a central Christian ritual, the sacred meal, or Holy Communion, Jesus stirred up the Jewish religious and Roman political authorities with what they saw as disruptive words and actions, and he was put on trial, convicted by the Roman authorities and sentenced to die by crucifixion. He was taunted by his captors as the supposed Messiah, the “King of the Jews,” and was dressed accordingly and ironically in a purple robe and a crown of thorns.

For Christians, the crucifixion is a new version of the Jewish Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), in which the sacrificed hero atones for the sins of all, dying as a scapegoat, with the sins of everyone on his back. He is the new lamb substituted for Abraham’s Isaac.


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