Greatest story Part 18: Celebration

The next day Jesus and the group headed out to participate in the many activities and celebrations taking place. The usually small town had swelled to six times its normal size so getting from place to place was a challenge but despite the overflowing number of people the mood was one of celebration and joy. The only cause for tension was the increased Roman presence in order to keep the large crowds in order. Jesus skillfully wove His way through the crowds, shielding His mother from the pushing and shoving as much as He could. As they gathered in the Temple courtyard the shofar rung out and all paused with awe. The High priest recited the Shema: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-5 NKJV)

The crowd replied: “Blessed are you, O Lord our God.” Another priest stepped forward with a scroll, he gently unrolled it and recited: “The Song of Moses. Then Moses and the children of Israel sang this song to the Lord, and spoke, saying: “I will sing to the Lord, for He has triumphed gloriously! The horse and its rider He has thrown into the sea! The Lord is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation; He is my God, and I will praise Him; my father’s God, and I will exalt Him. The Lord is a man of war; the Lord is His name. Pharaoh’s chariots and his army He has cast into the sea; his chosen captains also are drowned in the Red Sea. The depths have covered them; they sank to the bottom like a stone. Your right hand, O Lord, has become glorious in power; Your right hand, O Lord, has dashed the enemy in pieces. And in the greatness of Your excellence You have overthrown those who rose against You; You sent forth Your wrath; it consumed them like stubble. And with the blast of Your nostrils the waters were gathered together; the floods stood upright like a heap; the depths congealed in the heart of the sea.  The enemy said, ‘I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil; my desire shall be satisfied on them. I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them.’ You blew with Your wind, the sea covered them; they sank like lead in the mighty waters. Who is like You, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like You, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders? You stretched out Your right hand; the earth swallowed them. You in Your mercy have led forth the people whom You have redeemed; You have guided them in Your strength to Your holy habitation. The people will hear and be afraid; sorrow will take hold of the inhabitants of Philistia. Then the chiefs of Edom will be dismayed; the mighty men of Moab, trembling will take hold of them; all the inhabitants of Canaan will melt away. Fear and dread will fall on them; by the greatness of Your arm they will be as still as a stone, till Your people pass over, O Lord, till the people pass over whom You have purchased. You will bring them in and plant them in the mountain of Your inheritance, in the place, O Lord, which You have made for Your own dwelling, the sanctuary, O Lord, which Your hands have established. The Lord shall reign forever and ever.” Exodus 15:1-18 (NKJV)

The crowd replied: ‘Blessed are you, O Lord our God. Open to me the gates of righteousness; I will enter into them, I will give thanks unto the Lord. This is the gate of the Lord; the righteous shall enter it.’

The priest continued: “For the horses of Pharaoh went with his chariots and his horsemen into the sea, and the Lord brought back the waters of the sea upon them. But the children of Israel went on dry land in the midst of the sea. Then Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took the timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances. And Miriam answered them: “Sing to the Lord, for He has triumphed gloriously! The horse and its rider He has thrown into the sea!” Exodus 15:19-21(NKJV)

The crowd replied: “Blessed are you, O Lord our God. Forever worthy of our praise! Take my life and let it be consecrated Lord, to Thee. Take my moments and my days, let them flow in ceaseless praise. Take my hands and let them move at the impulse of Thy love. Take my feet and let them be swift and beautiful for Thee. Take my voice and let me sing always, only for my King. Take my lips and let them be filled with messages from Thee. Take my silver and my gold not a mite would I withhold. Take my intellect and use every power as you choose. Here am I, all of me. Take my life, it’s all for Thee.

Take my will and make it Thine, it shall be no longer mine. Take my heart it is Thine own; it shall be Thy royal throne. Take my love, my Lord I pour at Your feet its treasure store. Take myself and I will be ever, only all for Thee. Take myself and I will be ever, only all for Thee. Here am I, all of me. Take my life, it’s all for Thee.

Here am I, all of me. Take my life, it’s all for Thee. Here am I, all of me. Take my life, it’s all for Thee. Here am I, all of me. Take my life, it’s all for Thee.”

The next priest stepped forward and gently unrolled his scroll: “David blessed the Lord before all the assembly; and David said: “Blessed are You, Lord God of Israel, our Father, forever and ever.  Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power and the glory, the victory and the majesty; for all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours; Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and You are exalted as head over all. Both riches and honor come from You, and You reign over all. In Your hand is power and might; in Your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. Now therefore, our God, we thank You and praise Your glorious name. But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly as this? For all things come from You, and of Your own we have given You. For we are aliens and pilgrims before You, as were all our fathers; our days on earth are as a shadow, and without hope. O Lord our God, all this abundance that we have prepared to build You a house for Your holy name is from Your hand, and is all Your own. I know also, my God, that You test the heart and have pleasure in uprightness. As for me, in the uprightness of my heart I have willingly offered all these things; and now with joy I have seen Your people, who are present here to offer willingly to You. O Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, our fathers, keep this forever in the intent of the thoughts of the heart of Your people, and fix their heart toward You.  And give my son Solomon a loyal heart to keep Your commandments and Your testimonies and Your statutes, to do all these things, and to build the temple for which I have made provision.” Then David said to all the assembly, “Now bless the Lord your God.” So all the assembly blessed the Lord God of their fathers, and bowed their heads and prostrated themselves before the Lord and the king. 1 Chronicles 29: 10-20 (NKJV)

The crowd replied: “Blessed are you, O Lord our God. Forever worthy of our praise!” and each person knelt down slowly, lowering their faces to the ground. As their foreheads hit the ground a song of praise rung out: “To You my God is my passion, in You is my desire and love. To You is my heart and my kidneys, to You is my spirit and breath. To You are my hands, to You are my legs and from You is my character. To You myself, to You is my blood and my skin with my body. To You are my eyes and my ideas and my shape and my form. To You is my spirit, to You my strength and my trust and my hope. To You I’ll sob and not resemble until You will illuminate my darkness.  To You I’ll call for, to You I’ll cling until my return to my land. To You is kingship, to You is tide. To You is my craving adoration. To You is help in time of trouble, be my help in time of trouble. And what am I and what is my life? And what is my strength and my power? As a fallen straw pushed aside, and how will You remember my mistake? And hidden light in front of You, let it be my hideout and my abode. And under Your wing’s shade please allow my presence.”

The High priest stood and issued the final blessing: “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.” Numbers 6:24-26 (NKJV)

Jesus and the group wove their way back through the crowds and spent the rest of the day enjoying the celebrations before enjoying a meal together back at Rufus’ home.


Written with help from:

“OPEN TO ME” Lyrics from Psalm 118:19-20, song lyrics link:

“Take My Life”, written by Christopher Tomlin & Louie Giglio. YouTube link.

“TO YOU MY GOD” Lyrics: Rabbi Avraham Ibn Ezra, link:

‘To You’ Hillsong YouTube clip

This is also a really interesting and in-depth explanation about Passover here:

Many blessings, Keona