Have You Heard?

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Acts 5:27-32
Psalm 118:14-29
Revelation 1:4-8
John 20:19-31

 

Nisan is the first month of the Jewish calendar, now and in the days of Jesus. We know from the Biblical record, at least if we follow the Synoptics, that Jesus arrived in Jerusalem on 10 Nisan, the first day of the week that year, what we refer to as Sunday. That was an important day in the Passover cycle because all the Passover lambs had to be inspected and approved by the Temple priests.

Jesus presented himself for inspection and he was found by the Temple authorities to be impure.

Passover always occurs on 15 Nisan, but the lambs must be slaughtered on the 14th, which was the fifth day of the week, our Thursday. As it happened, again by the Synoptics, Jesus was arrested, tried, convicted, and executed on 15 Nisan. (The day is from sundown on our Thursday to sundown on our Friday.)

The Gospel of John appears to have the arrest and execution occur on 14 Nisan, which would have Jesus, our sacrificial lamb, being slaughtered the same day as the other Passover lambs.

Whatever the case, the first day of the new week, our Sunday, 17 Nisan, Jesus began to appear to his disciples, and some even inspected the empty grave.

Today, the week after Resurrection Day, 24 Nisan, Jesus was still making appearances and confounding the Temple authorities.

We can be sure that word had already spread as far as Galilee within that week. People who had seen Jesus and heard him preach and teach were likely skeptical at first, but many believed what they heard. As Jesus told Thomas: Happy are those who have never seen me and yet have believed! Phillips

Have you heard?

We do a disservice to Jesus at this time of year when we emphasize that Jesus died and rose, as though what he did was so simple that any of us could have done it. I would be willing to suffer physical pain for a guaranteed six hours with the additional guarantee that I would be given new life and that everyone in the world would also receive new lives. Easy peasy.

But that is not what Jesus did, well yes, but it is not all he did. When he died, Jesus was taken by the Angel of Death to sit in front of the Devil. Because Jesus carried my sins, and yours, with him, Jesus had to serve the Devil, the price of sin. Those who die with sin must be punished.

It is natural, with our human understanding, to assume that Jesus went to Hell and kicked the Devil around Friday and Saturday, and then came back to us on Sunday. Job done.

The whole of Revelation, Daniel, Ezekiel, and some other passages suggest that Jesus, the Messiah, had a great deal more work to do, specifically, a war to fight.

In his prayers the night of his arrest, it is clear that Jesus was not looking forward to the trip. What went on between death and resurrection may have amounted to thousands of years in our way of thinking.

Whatever, victory is the end result.

Have you heard? Do you believe?

 

Be righteous and do good.

Mike Lawrence

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