It’s No April Fool’s! He is Risen!

Today we gather to celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, and let me be the first to tell you, it’s no April Fool’s joke! Society today would have you believe that Jesus was just “a good man,” a “crazed philosopher,” a “delusional Jew,” but never the Son of God. I am here today to give you ammo to fight for what you believe and lay to rest three of the most common or profound theories about how the resurrection did not happen.

First, let us go through what is recorded in scripture as to what happened from crucifixion to resurrection. I will go through all of the gospels to give a full view of the events that unfolded during Christ’s time away from earth. First Matthew 27:50-28:8

50 Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. 51 And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; 52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, 53 And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many. 54 Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God. 55 And many women were there beholding afar off,  which followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him: 56 Among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee’s children. 57 When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus’ disciple: 58 He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered. 59 And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 60 And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed. 61 And there was Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulchre. 62 Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate, 63 Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again. 64 Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first. 65 Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can. 66 So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch. 1 In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. 2 And, behold, there was a great   earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. 3 His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow 4 And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead  men.5 And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. 6 He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the  place where the Lord lay. 7 And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you. 8 And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word. (King James Version)

A key detail to note here is the establishment of a watch by the Roman Guard. Now Mark’s recount from Mark 15:39-16:8

39 And when the centurion, which stood over against him, saw that he so cried out, and  gave up the ghost, he said, Truly this man was the Son of God. 40 There were also women looking on afar off: among whom was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the less and of Joses, and Salome; 41 (Who also, when he was in Galilee, followed him, and ministered unto him;) and many other women which came up with him unto Jerusalem. 42 And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath, 43 Joseph of Arimathaea, an honourable counsellor, which also waited for the  kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus. 44   And Pilate marvelled if he were already dead: and calling unto him the centurion, he asked  him whether he had been any while dead. 45 And when he knew it of the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph. 46 And he bought fine linen, and took him down, and wrapped him in the linen, and laid him in a sepulchre which was hewn out of a rock, and rolled a stone unto the door of the sepulchre. 47 And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses beheld where he was laid. And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him. 2 And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun. 3 And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre? 4 And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great. 5 And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were  affrighted. 6 And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which  was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him. 7 But go  your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye  see him, as he said unto you. 8 And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre; for they trembled and were amazed: neither said they any thing to any man; for they were afraid. (KJV)

Here, it is important to note, that they are said to come at the rising of the sun. Around the first hour of the Jewish day to anoint Christ’s body which is how they embalmed in their time. Now in Luke 23:50-24:12

50 And, behold, there was a man named Joseph, a counsellor; and he was a good man, and a just: 51 (The same had not consented to the counsel and deed of them;) he was of Arimathaea, a city of the Jews: who also himself waited for the kingdom of God. 52 This man went unto Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. 53 And he took it down, and wrapped  it in linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid. 54 And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on. 55 And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid. 56 And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment. 1 Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them. 2 And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. 3 And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: 5 And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? 6 He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, 7 Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. 8 And they remembered his words, 9 And returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest. 10 It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told these things unto the apostles. 11 And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not. 12  Then arose Peter, and ran unto the sepulchre; and stooping down, he beheld the linen clothes laid by themselves, and departed, wondering in himself at that which was come to pass. (KJV)

A key note here is that the other disciples had no clue and no belief in what the women had professed to them and Peter, said to be the most loyal disciple had to go check for himself what was reported. And lastly the account from John’s gospel John 19:30-20:10

30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost. 31 The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. 32 Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him. 33 But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already,   they brake not his legs: 34 But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water. 35 And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe. 36 For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken. 37 And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced. 38 And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus. 39 And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight. 40 Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury. 41 Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid. 42 There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews’ preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at   hand. 1 The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre. 2 Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they   have laid him. 3 Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre. 4 So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre. 5 And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in. 6 Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie, 7 And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself. 8 Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed. 9 For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead. 10 Then the disciples went away again unto their own home. (KJV)

Here we get details of the tomb, unlike the other accounts of what happened. Note that the napkin that was used to cover the face was not just thrown aside like the rest of the raiment, but neatly folded and placed aside.

So now that we have the tale of what happened in-between His death and resurrection as according to the Gospels, let us look at what some of the popular theories are about why the resurrection never happened.

  1. Jesus Was Not Dead
  2. The Disciples Moved the Body
  3. The Jewish Leaders or the Romans Moved the Body

Let me start with the last one. Let’s just think about this for one moment. The very people that worked so hard to not only kill Christ, but wanted to snuff out all remembrance of him, would they in all reality try to remove his body and help perpetuate the ‘myth’ as they called it? Also, why would they hold onto the body when the Romans began the largest manhunt in history for a corpse? Where people literally started losing their lives for not knowing what happened to the body, this preposition is pretty much literally ludicrous. The High Priest himself is the very one who made a request to the Governor to seal the tomb and post a guard, so why go through all that trouble to just help those you are trying to squander? Quite frankly, this theory just raises more questions than answers. Maybe the Romans took the body and not the Jews… hmm wait a minute… if the Romans launched the largest manhunt for a dead body that they already had, then why waist all the forces that could be keeping order and reinforcing the laws? What purpose does causing so much trouble do you when Caesar himself is coming to inspect the way your territory is being run? All this does is help push forward the idea of Christ is risen and cause more disorder. Again, neither side of this coin makes any sense. I rest my case against this theory.

Secondly, the Disciples moved the body. Now, let’s think about this for a moment. 11 men just watched the Son of God die, after being brutally and savagely beaten and flogged. These men were in fear for their own lives, most of them fled the moment Christ was taken by the Sanhedrin. Even Simon-Peter, his most loyal follower denied him 3 times the night of Christ’s arrest. Even after Jesus comes back to life, they still hid in fear, and did so until the day of Pentecost. What makes someone think they had the courage to even approach the tomb? Also, the tomb was guarded by a squad of Romans. And Romans, like modern militaries, take their guard duties extremely serious. In fact, more so than we do. If you were caught in dereliction of duty (not following orders), you would at the very least be imprisoned, and commonly beaten, and often times put to death or exile. So, what are the chances that an entire squad of legionnaires decided to just let 11 men walk up, remove the stone, and take off with the body of Christ? Just to show you how serious Romans took guarding anything, let’s look at Acts 16:23-30

23 And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely: 24 Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks. 25 And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. 26 And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed. 27 And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled. 28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here. 29 Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, 30 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? (KJV)

This guard knew the price of failure, so he had just as soon take his own life than suffer as he knew he would. All that to say this, I doubt very highly that they would fail on the vital task of keeping anyone out of the tomb.

Lastly, they say that Christ never died in the first place. Well, let’s just look at all that Christ suffered through. First he went through beatings at the hands of the Chief Priests (John 18:22, Luke 22:63-64, Mark 14:65, Matthew 26:67), which was pretty much the easiest He got. Then He was flogged before His sentencing, and beaten after (Mark 15:15, Luke 23:16, John 19:1-5). The tool of the flogging is known as the cat-of-nine-tails. A cruel whip with 9 leather strips with bone, metal, and whatever was left over from the last victim. This whip was designed to shred flesh and rip skin from muscle. The flogging would last until the victim could hardly stand or died. In this case, it was to the point of near death. Afterwards, the Romans took him back inside, beat and mocked him some more before Christ was set with His crossbar. So, after suffering tremendous blood loss and muscular damage, Christ is given a 75-pound crossbar and has to carry it 650 yards up the hill called Mt. Calvary. Already weakened by dehydration, hunger, and blood loss, Christ falls 3 times on His journey and each delay more than likely earned Him more lashes. Most normal people have died at this point, but Christ preserves himself long enough to accomplish what His father had set out for Him to do.

Now, the actual crucifixion. Probably the worst thing to endure, a form of torture that was designed to kill slowly, with some victims lasting days while struggling to survive. Once laid into place, Christ would have had a nail driven in each wrist, securing his arms outstretched on the bar. Next, his legs would have been bent slightly, and his feet nailed in place. Once Christ is nailed in, He is then lifted up on the cross and left to hang, choosing between breathing and the pain of his arms or feet. His outstretched arms and suspended body slowly suffocating him as He has to use His feet to push himself up to breath, tearing at his feet from the nails in them. At around 3pm, Christ dies. The Romans verify His death and pierced his lungs with a spear and out came water and blood (John 19:34). Water only comes from lungs in the 2 situations of death, drowning (which can be safely ruled out), and asphyxiation. The trapped air in your lungs condensates and becomes water. So, Christ is verified dead, safely ruling out this theory.

And here is the good news! Christ arose on the 3rd day just as he said he would. Our God is not dead and “The ultimate proof of the resurrection though is provided in the testimony of his early disciples.  Jesus was seen by over 500 witnesses over a period of 40 days. Acts 1:3 says that, “After His suffering, He showed Himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that He was alive. He appeared to them over a period of 40 days and spoke about the kingdom of God.”

The apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:3-6: “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, He appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.”

Peter who, denied Jesus, later preached in the heart of Jerusalem and proclaimed in Acts 2:32: “God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact.” Peter later wrote a letter reaffirming that the resurrection was not a tale made up by the disciples, He explained in 2 Peter 1:16: “We did not follow cleverly devised tales when we make known to you the power and coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty.”

People who saw Jesus after his resurrection had changed lives.  All of the original 12 disciples to include Paul were imprisoned, beaten, tortured, and died for their testimony.  All left friends, family, and even homes to let others know about the truth of Jesus’ resurrection.  They all overcame their fear of death.  People telling a lie, seldom die for it.  Listen to how they died and see if it sounds like they were just making up the Resurrection:

•Matthew was killed in Ethiopia
•Mark was dragged through the streets until he was dead
•Peter, Simeon, Andrew, and Philip were crucified
•James was beheaded
•Bartholomew was flayed alive
•Thomas was pierced with lances
•James, the less, was thrown from the temple and stoned to death
•Jude was shot to death with arrows
•Paul was boiled in hot oil and beheaded

*John was poisoned and then exiled to Patmos where he wrote the Revelation of Jesus
None of these men ever recanted their testimony of the resurrection. As I mentioned when I opened that we are commanded by Jesus to tell what we know.  “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen.” Matthew 28:20” -Harvey Smith (Case for the Resurrection, 2017)

 

So go forth and be merry! Spread the good news of the gospel to all that will hear your words! God bless you and keep you.

 

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Maundy Thursday and Good Friday

Thank you for joining me today on this special week in our faith! Maybe you are still learning about Christianity and want to know what all the craze is about this week for us, well I am glad you joined in for this. Today, I am going to give a recount, through scripture and historical records, of what happened the last 30 hours before Christ died on the cross for our sins.

The year is 30 AD, around 14 Nisan in the Jewish calendar, or 6 April in the modern American calendar. It is a Thursday night like most others, save it is the night of the Passover feast. Jesus has been in Jerusalem for only 5 days since His arrival on Sunday. Christ has spent the day ministering to the people of Jerusalem and the day draws close to an end when one of his 12 apostles leaves his side to entreat the Chief Jewish priests. Please join me in reading Matthew 26:14-16:

14Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, 15 And said     unto them, ‘What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you?’ And they covenanted  with him for thirty pieces of silver. 16 And from that time he sought opportunity to betray  him. (King James Version)

Here we have Judas named as the assailant that is to betray Christ for 30 pieces of silver. One of Christ’s most loyal followers and he still betrays Christ for a relatively small price. It is estimated that each silver piece would be worth $20 today, so in total, Judas betrays one of his most beloved friends for $600. Granted with that amount he could do a lot of good in that time, he still settles for a pitiful amount to betray a friend. The answer as to why Judas actually turns to betray Jesus is found in Luke 22:3-6:

Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve. 4  And he went his way, and communed with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray him unto them. 5 And they were glad and covenanted to give him money. 6 And he promised and sought opportunity to betray him unto them in the absence of the multitude. (KJV)

So, Judas is possessed by Satan to covenant against the Son of God. He is lost to his ignorance and blinded by Satan’s grip on him.

After the covenant of betrayal, Peter and John inquire as to where they should partake of the Passover Feast. As we read in Luke 22:7-14

            Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the Passover must be killed. 8 And he sent Peter and John, saying, Go and prepare us the Passover, that we may eat. 9 And they said unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare? 10 And he said unto them, Behold, when ye are entered into the city, there shall a man meet you, bearing a pitcher of water; follow  him into the house where he entereth in. 11 And ye shall say unto the goodman of the house, The Master saith unto thee, Where is the guestchamber, where I shall eat the    Passover with my disciples? 12 And he shall shew you a large upper room furnished: there make ready. 13 And they went and found as he had said unto them: and they made  ready the Passover. 14 And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him.

This feast that they are about to partake in is what will later be referred to as the Lord’s Supper or the Last Supper and is where we get act of Communion from. The significance of the Lord’s Supper is beyond measure. It helps us see that Jesus is God as He demonstrates his omniscient and omnipresent capabilities by revealing that He knows the actions of Judas and the future actions of Peter. This revelation of His abilities helps to ferment in the minds of His apostles that He is the One true God and the Son of God. Let’s continue reading on: Luke 22:15-24:

15 And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer: 16 For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God. 17 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, take this, and divide it among yourselves: 18 For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come. 19 And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. 20 Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.21 But, behold, the hand of him that betrayeth me is with me on the table. 22 And truly the Son of man goeth, as it was determined: but woe unto that man by whom he is betrayed! 23 And they began to enquire among themselves, which of them it was that should do this thing. 24 And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest. (KJV)

Here we see the apostles choosing once again to ignore what Christ has revealed to them, something we all do. I know I have done this in my life before, but here Christ literally tells them that this is His last meal and they ignore that and go on about who among them will betray Him and who is the greatest apostle amongst them. To which Christ replies in His usual parable mannerisms: Luke 22:25-30:

            25 And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. 26 But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve. 27 For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth. 28 Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations. 29 And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; 30 That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. (KJV)

In one of Christ’s last parables before the crucifixion He talks of servitude above all. Reminding them that the Son of God came not to be served but to serve. Christ truly lived out each commandment He gave unto His apostles, letting no hint of hypocrisy into His life or ministry. Then Jesus gets personal with His address and singles out His most trusted apostle Simon-Peter, Luke 22:31-34

31 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: 32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. 33 And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death. 34 And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me. (KJV)

Following Christ’s foreboding words to Peter, they leave for the Garden of Gethsemane. Once there, Christ separates Himself from the apostles and makes a prayer on our behalf. This prayer would become known as the Prayer of Intercession. John 17:1-26:

1 These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: 2 As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. 3  And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. 4 I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which  thou gavest me to do. 5 And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. 6 I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word. 7 Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee. 8 For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me. 9 I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. 10 And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them. 11 And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. 12 While I was with them in  the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of  them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled. 13 And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.18 As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. 20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; 21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art  in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. 22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: 23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. 24 Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me. 26 And I have declared unto them thy name and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.

The prayer of intercession is one of the most overlooked parts of Christ’s ministry, and is probably one of the most important, second to the sacrifice He makes on the cross. This prayer shows us exactly why Christ came to earth and lived the life He did when He didn’t have to. In this prayer, He secures our salvation and opportunity to go to Heaven, without His prayer here to make us one spirit with His, there would be no way we could have our sins forgiven without our own sacrifice. But when Christ takes our sins here from out spirits, He enables himself to carry our sins to hell and sets us free from eternal damnation. Following this passionate prayer, Christ asks for the strength to enact the will of His father. And then His final hours begin with a kiss of betrayal from Judas. Matthew 26: 47-56

            47 And while he yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great  multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people.48 Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast. 49 And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him.  50 And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come? Then came they, and laid  hands on Jesus, and took him. 51 And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest’s, and smote off his ear. 52 Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. 53 Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be? 55 In that same hour said Jesus to the multitudes, Are ye come out as against a thief with swords  and staves for to take me? I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no  hold on me. 56 But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled. (KJV)

To finish the events of Maundy Thursday, Christ is taken to the house of the High Priest of the Sanhedrin and Peter denies Christ thrice before the cock announces the new day and the beginning of Good Friday. And in the midnight hours, an illegal trail began by the Sanhedrin to convict Jesus Christ of blasphemy. Two false witnesses are brought forward and bring forward their fictitious and construed stories of Christ’s ministry. The priests ask what Jesus has to say, in which He simply replies “Thou hast said: Nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power and coming in the clouds of heaven” (Matthew 22:64 KJV). As the priests strike and mock Christ, Peter sits outside and is forced to confess whether or not he knew Jesus, to which he denies any association with Christ 3 times. As the priests finish their beatings and mocking they take Christ to Pilate, the military governor from Rome. Matthew 27:11-26

11 And Jesus stood before the governor: and the governor asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? And Jesus said unto him, Thou sayest. 12 And when he was accused of the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing. 13 Then said Pilate unto him, Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee? 14 And he answered him to never a word; insomuch that the governor marvelled greatly. 15 Now at that feast the governor was wont to release unto the people a prisoner, whom they would. 16 And they had then a notable prisoner, called Barabbas. 17 Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ? 18 For he knew that for envy they had delivered him. 19 When he was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him. 20 But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus. 21 The governor answered and said unto them, Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you? They said, Barabbas. 22 Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified. 23 And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified. 24 When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it. 25 Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children. 26 Then released he Barabbas unto them: and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified. (KJV)

It was custom to flog a prisoner before crucifixion. Here is a description of what is believed what happened to Christ during his:

Many scholars believe that Pilate originally ordered Jesus scourged as his full punishment and that the death sentence by crucifixion came only in response to the taunt by the mob that the Procurator was not properly defending Caesar against this pretender who allegedly claimed to be the King of the Jews.  Preparations for the scourging were carried out when the Prisoner was stripped of His clothing and His hands tied to a post above His head. It is doubtful the Romans would have made any attempt to follow the Jewish law in this matter, but the Jews had an ancient law prohibiting more than forty lashes.  The Roman legionnaire steps forward with the flagrum (or flagellum) in his hand. This is a short whip consisting of several heavy, leather thongs with two small balls of lead attached near the ends of each. The heavy whip is brought down with full force again and again across Jesus’ shoulders, back, and legs.

At first the thongs cut through the skin only. Then, as the blows continue, they cut deeper into the subcutaneous tissues, producing first an oozing of blood from the capillaries and veins of the skin, and finally spurting arterial bleeding from vessels in the underlying muscles.  The small balls of lead first produce large, deep bruises which are broken open by subsequent blows. Finally the skin of the back is hanging in long ribbons and the entire area is an unrecognizable mass of torn, bleeding tissue. When it is determined by the centurion in charge that the prisoner is near death, the beating is finally stopped.

The Roman soldiers see a great joke in this provincial Jew claiming to be king. They throw a robe across His shoulders and place a stick in His hand for a scepter. They still need a crown to make their travesty complete. Flexible branches covered with long thorns (commonly used in bundles for firewood) are plaited into the shape of a crown and this is  pressed into His scalp. Again there is copious bleeding, the scalp being one of the most  vascular areas of the body.

After mocking Him and striking Him across the face, the soldiers take the stick from His hand and strike Him across the head, driving the thorns deeper into His scalp. Finally, they tire of their sadistic sport and the robe is torn from His back. Already having adhered to the clots of blood and serum in the wounds, its removal causes excruciating  pain just as in the careless removal of a surgical bandage, and almost as though He were again being whipped the wounds once more begin to bleed. (Dr. C. Truman Davis, 2018)

This is all before the painful event of the crucifixion. The amount of suffering there kills most humans before they even get to the cross. Following this beating, Christ carried the cross to Mount Calvary a staggering 650 yard journey with a 75 lbs weight affixed to His back. Pushing his muscles beyond the point of failure, Christ is recorded to have stumbled 3 times before the Centurion loses his patience and orders a denizen to help Christ with the weight. And around 9 am they reach the site of the main posts for the crucifixion. Mark 15:25-39

25 And it was the third hour, and they crucified him. 26 And the superscription of his accusation was written over, THE KING OF THE JEWS. 27 And with him they crucify  two thieves; the one on his right hand, and the other on his left. 28 And the scripture was fulfilled, which saith, And he was numbered with the transgressors. 29 And they that passed by railed on him, wagging their heads, and saying, Ah, thou that destroyest the    temple, and buildest it in three days, 30 Save thyself, and come down from the cross. 31 Likewise also the chief priests mocking said among themselves with the scribes, He saved others; himself he cannot save. 32 Let Christ the King of Israel descend now from   the cross, that we may see and believe. And they that were crucified with him reviled  him. 33 And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. 34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? 35 And some of them that stood by, when they heard it, said, Behold, he calleth Elias. 36 And one ran and filled a spunge full of vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink, saying, Let alone; let us see whether Elias will come to take him down. 37 And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost. 38 And the veil of the temple  was rent in twain from the top to the bottom. 39 And when the centurion, which stood over against him, saw that he so cried out, and gave up the ghost, he said, Truly this man  was the Son of God. (KJV)

It is 3 pm at the time of his death, and, upon Christ’s death, the veil in the temple is torn, meaning that there is no longer anything between man and God. That Christ’s sacrifice was enough to cover our sins, offered up as the ultimate sacrificial lamb. God, the Son died to take our sins to hell and pay the price that we all deserve to pay. And that is where I leave you today, as the apostles were, left with questions, an unfinished story that the answers were already revealed, all you have to do is believe with all of your heart and profess that which is true, that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that He lived, and died to take away your sins, that you may have ever lasting life.

 

For additional events during the Holy Week in a timeline format please see this website:

http://www.jesus.org/death-and-resurrection/holy-week-and-passion/a-time-line-of-the-passion-week.html

 

 

Reference

Davis, C. T. (2018, March 29). A Physician’s View of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Retrieved March 30, 2018, from https://www1.cbn.com/medical-view-of-the-crucifixion-of-jesus-christ