“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. -Isaiah 55:8
I believe scripture was not given to us as a cookbook, but more like a song or a poem–its meaning is not obvious. We are challenged to read, think, meditate, and through those, let God speak to each of us personally.
Recently, I pondered, what happened between the time Jesus died and the time Mary Magdalene discovered that His tomb was empty? We’ll never know for sure–at least while we’re still in this life.
Did His body lie there until Easter morning while his spirit experienced death as humans do? It’s possible, since Jesus was not only here to teach us, but also to experience human life first hand. Did this include all aspects of death? Jesus knows us not only by omniscience, but also by experience. When praying we dare not say, “You just don’t understand!”
Did His spirit, separated from his body return to Heaven? Also possible (as all things are to God), but I don’t find any reference that even obliquely hints at this. Instead, scripture seems to allude to the Ascension was His first return to Heaven.
Did His spirit merely rest along with His body? His human body was broken. He was divine, but still human. Would his human soul be weary? Most of us have experienced spiritual weariness and Jesus may have allowed the human side of his spirit experience what any human would have felt after such a death.
Thinking about the question made me feel just a tiny bit closer to Him. I don’t need to know exactly what happened. Whatever Jesus did was the right thing for both Heaven and Earth.
Holy Saturday, Jesus’ body has been laid in the tomb. I don’t usually think much about Holy Saturday—it’s kind of the runt of the litter—the unappreciated day of Holy Week.
On Holy Saturday, was Christ aware of His body lying there? I’ve always felt that at death I will discard my body like the first stage of a rocket and launch the next stage. But Jesus wasn’t moving on just yet. When the Risen Christ revealed himself to Mary Magdalene the next day, He told her not to hold onto Him because He had not yet ascended to the Father. If He was aware of his body in the tomb, was he glad for the quiet after the screams of the crowd, first praising him then demanding His death? Was the cool comforting after hours on the cross in the scorching heat?
On Holy Saturday, the Apostles, as far as we know, were busily doing the only logical things—running and hiding from the authorities, frightened, confused, and bewildered.
And what about the Jews who had demanded His death? Did they go home to a pleasant celebration of the Passover Feast as if this was just a normal event? What about the Roman officials and soldiers who knew the whole event was bogus with an illegal overnight kangaroo court? One of the soldiers had been shown the truth and had proclaimed that, “Surely this was the Son of God.” Did Pilate resent being played for a patsy by the Jews, forced to do their bidding even though as governor he was supposed to be the one in charge.
How many had second thoughts and regrets once the mob mentality had passed? How many asked, “What have I done?”
How many didn’t.
And one last thought. I am amazed at places where I unexpectedly find God, one of which seems at least semi-appropriate for today. In the Harry Potter series, Harry and Hermione find Harry’s parents’ gravesite. Included on the stone is the inscription:
“The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.”
which plays in integral part in the plot. It is also a quote from 1 Corinthian 15:26 recounting how Jesus conquered death.
Posted in Culture, History, Holidays, People, Philosophy, Religion
Tagged Christianity, Easter, Holy Saturday, Holy Week, Jesus, resurrection
Church of the Holy Sepulchre
In the Old Testament, God the Father rested from Creation on the seventh day.
I suspect that it was no coincidence that after His death, Jesus His Son also rested on the seventh day.
God always shows us how His plan flows together in such a beautiful manner.
Posted in Blog, Communications, Culture, Family, Friends, History, Holidays, Leadership, People, Philosophy, Religion
Tagged Bible, Christ, Christianity, crucifixion, Easter, God, Holy Saturday, Holy Week, Jesus, New Testament, Old Testament, Religion and Spirituality, resurrection
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.
Posted in Communications, Culture, Family, Friends, Future, History, Holidays, Leadership, People, Philosophy, Religion, Uncategorized
Tagged crucifixion, foregiveness, Friday, God, God the Father, Good Friday, Jesu, Jesus, Pharisee, resurrection, Sabbath, salvation, Satan, Shabbat