We relive events from Maundy Thursday to Easter Sunday in close to real time.
Our Lord was arrested Thursday night. The Sanhedrin, Pilate and Herod had questioned Jesus by Friday morning.
I get the impression that none of Jerusalem’s authorities wanted to be the one who passed judgment on the Nazarene preacher. The Sanhedrin and Pilate worried about pubic opinion and our Lord’s popularity. (April 19, 2019)
Herod seemed disappointed that Jesus didn’t entertain him, and that’s another topic.
I’ll give him credit for trying to release our Lord by offering folks the choice of freeing Jesus or Barabbas.
That didn’t work. Jerusalem’s traditional leaders had influence, and used it.
“The chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas but to destroy Jesus.
“The governor said to them in reply, ‘Which of the two do you want me to release to you?’ They answered, ‘Barabbas!'”
Joseph of Arimathea took responsibility for burying our Lord. He put the body in his newly-cut tomb.
There wasn’t time for anything fancy. Not so close to the Sabbath.
Several women who had been with Jesus kept an eye on Joseph and our Lord’s body, making sure they’d remember where he’d been interred.
When they returned, after the Sabbath, finding the tomb was easy enough.
Our Lord’s body was another matter. The four Gospels describe what happened, but differ in details. I’m not surprised. None of the Bible was written from a contemporary Western viewpoint, and that’s another topic.
Besides, the women and the surviving 11 Apostles had experienced traumatic events and were in for more shocks.
All four accounts1 agree that our Lord’s body was missing.
Matthew, Mark and Luke place at least one angel at the scene.
John says that Mary of Magdala saw that the stone was rolled away and ran back to collect two Apostles before returning.
Luke has the women entering the tomb and finding no body.
“While they were puzzling over this, behold, two men in dazzling garments appeared to them.
“They were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground. They said to them, ‘Why do you seek the living one among the dead?
“He is not here, but he has been raised. Remember what he said to you while he was still in Galilee,
“that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners and be crucified, and rise on the third day.”
“And they remembered his words.
“Then they returned from the tomb and announced all these things to the eleven and to all the others.”
The guys didn’t believe them. Peter ran to the tomb. He found burial cloths and no body.
Jesus eventually convinced Peter and the rest that he was alive. Not a ghost. Really alive.
At a final meeting with the surviving 11 Apostles, they asked Jesus if this was when he was going to “restore the kingdom of Israel.” (Acts 1:6)
Some Christians have been wondering pretty much the same thing ever since.
Our Lord replied that they didn’t need to have that information.
That’s still the case. Which doesn’t keep some from jumping on the latest Rapture bandwagon. And that’s yet another topic. (December 7, 2018)
Then Jesus gave us standing orders — and left. It took two angels to get the “Men of Galilee” back on task.
“He answered them, ‘It is not for you to know the times or seasons that the Father has established by his own authority.
“But you will receive power when the holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’
“While they were looking intently at the sky as he was going, suddenly two men dressed in white garments stood beside them.
“They said, ‘Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky? This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven.'”
It’s simple, and incredibly hard to do.
And that’s yet again another topic. Topics:
- “Good Friday”
(April 19, 2019)
- “The Best News Ever”
(April 1, 2018)
- “Choosing Light or Darkness”
(March 11, 2018)
- “God, Love and Clouds”
(February 25, 2018)
- “Still Rejoicing”
(July 2, 2017)
- “The Eighth Day: Two Millennia and Counting”
(April 16, 2017)
This post’s first picture is Piero della Francesca’s “Piero della Francesca – Resurrezione.”
The fresco was made in the 1460s. It’s in the Museo Civico di Sansepolcro, Arezzo, Italy.