Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Truth Behind Good Friday 4-11

According to what was written in the Gospels, it was about the sixth hour and all of the land was dark for the next three hour, until the ninth hour.  Now some scholars say that the sixth hour was actually noon.  And if this be true, then the ninth hour would actually be three o’clock in the afternoon.  And it was in the ninth hour that Jesus gave his famous loud cry, saying Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?  These words have been translated to say, My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?  Eventually, Jesus bowed his head, breathed his last, and gave up his spirit.

The scriptures tell us that it was the day of preparation and the Jewish leaders did not want the victims hanging there on the cross the next day, which was the Sabbath; a very special Sabbath at that, for it was the Passover so the Jews made a request of Pilate, asking him to place an order that the legs of the men broken.  This would hasten their deaths and then their bodies could be taken down and taken away.  So, the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first of the two men, who were crucified with Jesus.  Then they came and broke the legs of the second man.  But when they came to Jesus, to break his legs, the found that he was already dead at that time, so they did not break his legs.

Now when it was evening, because it was the preparation, a time of getting ready, that is to say, the day before the Sabbath, there came a man of wealth from Arimathea, Joseph by name, a godly man who was a secret disciple of Jesus and one who himself was personally and eagerly expecting the arrival of the kingdom of God.  He was a responsible man in high honor, an honored member of the Jewish Supreme Court and one who did not agree with the decision and actions of the other Jewish leaders.  He gathered his courage, going to Pilate without fear, and boldly made a request for the body of Jesus.  And Pilate, who was surprised that Jesus was already dead, sent a message to the Roman officer who was in charge, putting a question to him to see if Jesus had been dead for long.  The officer confirmed the fact and Pilate gave orders for the body to be given to Joseph.  Joseph, who brought a long sheet of clean linen cloth, took the body down from the cross.  Nicodemus, the man who had come to Jesus at night, came too, bringing a hundred pounds of embalming ointment made from myrrh and aloes.  Together they wrapped the body of Jesus in the clean linen cloth saturated with the spices, as is the Jewish custom of burial, when they put the dead to rest.

The scriptures tell us that the place of crucifixion was near a grove of trees where there was a new tomb, which had been cut out of the rock at the side of the hill for Joseph, himself.  You see there was a need for haste; Jesus was placed in the tomb because it was close at hand.  It was the day that the Jews got ready for the upcoming Sabbath, for it was the day of preparation as it was known, so they placed him there in that tomb.  Now as the body was taken away, the women from Galilee, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, the mother of Joses, were watching as Jesus was carried into the tomb.  Both Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting by the place of the dead, watching, for they saw the place and how his body was put to rest.  And a great stone was rolled across the entrance as they left.  The women then went home and prepared spices, ointments, and perfumes to embalm him.  However, by the time they had finished it was the Sabbath, so they rested all that day as required by law.

Now the next day that followed the day of the preparation, as it was known, at the close of the first day of the Passover ceremonies, the chief priest and Pharisees went together to Pilate, saying, Sir, we remember that the deceiver had once said, while he was still alive, After three days I will come back to life again.  So, they requested that an order from him be given to seal the tomb until the third day to prevent his disciples from coming, stealing his body, and then telling everyone he came back to life.  They stated, If that happens we’ll be worse off than we were at first.  Pilate told them to use their own temple police, for they could guard it safely enough to ensure that no one could come to steal his body and make that claim.  So they went and made safe the place where his body was laid, putting a stamp on the stone.  Then they sealed the stone and posted guards to protect it from intruders.

Before we continue, we need to establish a time line so that we can determine exactly when he died and when he rose.  As we have stated earlier, there is much controversy surrounding the crucifixion, the death, and the resurrection of Jesus, but if we examine the clues that God has put in place for us, then we should have no problems in establishing a time line.  But before we go any further let us review.  Remember that we will follow this progression of days using today’s terminology.  By this, we mean that a day will be counted as it was in the days of Jesus’ death, crucifixion, and resurrection by using words that we commonly use today in determining the time of day.  As you recall, a day back then went from sunset to sunset and not from midnight to midnight.  You may also recall that the day started in the evening at sunset and ended the next evening at sunset unlike today where we consider the day starting in the morning and ending the next morning.

However, in an effort to minimize the confusion, let us consider including the following phrases; evening before sunset to indicate the end of the day and evening after sunset to indicate the beginning of the day.  And while we are at it, let us also include these phrases; morning before sunrise to indicate the end of the evening and morning after sunrise to indicate the beginning of the morning.  Now we know technically, there is a small amount of time unaccounted for between before sunset and after sunset and between before sunrise and after sunrise, but for this exercise, we believe that this will not interfere with our time line.

When we examined the scriptures that spoke of Jesus’ resurrection, we found that Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of James, and Salome, went out and purchased some sweet spices that they might anoint the body of Jesus with the next evening following the Sabbath.  This appears to be in line with the scriptures that spoke of his death, which stated the women had went home and prepared spices, ointments, and perfumes to embalm him, but by the time they had finished, it was the Sabbath day, so they rested all that day as required by law.  Now we have already established that the Sabbath, which was the last day of the week, started Friday evening after sunset and continued until Saturday evening before sunset.

Actual Definition
Identifying Event for the Day
Day 7
Last day of the week
Friday evening after sunset
Saturday evening before sunset
The Sabbath Day

Enjoy your blessings - KW

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