Tag Archives: Pharisee

Sundown, Good Friday

PietaMichelangelo Buonarroti1499

Pieta
Michelangelo Buonarroti
1499

Satan had never been particularly fond of sundown on Friday, since it marked the beginning of the Jewish Sabbath. Perhaps, two millennia ago he was more comfortable because the Sabbath had become a burden, rather than a cause for joy. The Pharisees had defined most activities, including how far you could walk before you were violating the Sabbath. It was a set of complicated rules rather than a day of rest.

This particular Friday had to be especially disconcerting. Satan had seen Jesus ridiculed, beaten, abused, and tortured. No doubt this pleased him while simultaneously frightening him. Even he knew that things were not as they seemed. He had to wonder what was going to happen.

Many believe that when Jesus cried out, “My God! My God! Why have you forsaken me?” was the point at which Jesus took on all the sins of the world. For the first time in eternity Jesus was not completely connected with the Father and it was terrifying and disorienting.

At that moment, Satan saw countless souls he had seduced, cajoled, lied to, and threatened slip through his very fingers. The justice they deserved was now paid in full, and they were reunited with God.

Jesus told us He had the ability to lay down His life and pick it up again. I think that once He had paid our debt, His job was done and He laid his life down. It was His choice to save us, and His choice to return the Father.

Satan had known from the very beginning that his quest was unachievable, but his ego was such that he continued anyway. I’m sure that even with our redemption, his arrogance demanded that he redouble his efforts. Even today you can see his efforts.

But it doesn’t matter. We have been saved. We have been forgiven. We are loved by our God and by His only begotten Son.

Give thanks. It is right and just.

You, Me and the Pharisees

Christ_PhariseesAs we approach Holy Week, we might think about the Pharisees, busily plotting how they would stop Jesus. We shake our heads and ask ourselves, how could they be so evil?

But were they?

These men were pillars of the community – they worshipped at the temple (THE Temple), faithfully studied scriptures and followed the Law to the letter.

If they were around today, we’d consider them good Bible reading, churchgoing men.

The law given to Moses prescribed many aspects of everyday life, and these men were law abiding citizens. In terms of that time in history they were the good guys. On the other hand, this Jesus was, in their eyes, and in the eyes of the Law, quite the sinner.

Imagine how we’d react to someone who had no visible means of support. Someone who wandered around the countryside, crashing on the couch of anyone who’d have him. A guy who hung around with hookers, street people (and diseased street people at that) and other seedy types.

That’s exactly how the Pharisees reacted.

Is it possible that without Faith we’d be just like the Pharisees?