I just had a talk with my grandchildren (ages 6 and 7) and it left me wondering how many kids are simply clueless when it comes to the true meaning behind this sacred holiday. After showing the kids a few YouTube videos having to do with the Resurrection - an exercise I recommend (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9YZZKe73_-8) - I reminded them that there was so much more to Easter than bunnies, Peeps and Jelly Beans.
I couldn't help but wonder how many adults don't know much about Easter either, recalling the days when I, too, was pretty clueless. At the risk of writing a book on the subject, I decided to focus only on these two points: Good Friday and Resurrections. You'll get the point, I'm sure.1)
GOOD FRIDAY OR GOOD WEDNESDAY?
Good Friday's coming up. I used to work for a great Christian man who took so much grief from friends when he didn't close up shop on that day. As he said, in defense of his decision, it's not a legal holiday. I was not a Christian in those days and needed the money more than I needed a vacation, but I do recall the nasty attitude of some of his “Christian” friends who dropped by to scold him. As I recall, I was NOT impressed.
God uses many "3-day" examples in Scripture. In every one, they referred to more than the brief "Good Friday at 3PM to Easter Sunday morning" period most Christians know and love. Jesus was buried just before sunset on Wednesday afternoon, and was in the tomb Wednesday night, Thursday, Thursday night, Friday, Friday night, and Saturday, three days and three nights, just as He promised when comparing Himself to Jonah who was 72 hours in the belly of the great fish. He was resurrected, most likely, just before sunset on Saturday afternoon, exactly 72 hours after His burial. Sunday morning, when the women came to embalm His body, He was gone. They didn't see His resurrection but they DID see the empty tomb. They were told by an angel He had risen just as He said He would. It's this simple:Jesus was crucified on Wednesday morning at the third hour.
From noon to 3PM, there was “darkness on the land.”
By 6PM, Jesus was in the tomb, as the bodies could not remain on the cross on a Sabbath day, for "THAT SABBATH was a High Day" (Jn 19:31). That means it was NOT a weekly Sabbath; NOT a Saturday. It WAS the Passover Sabbath which was a Thursday.
Therefore, Jesus was crucified on Wednesday. Good Wednesday, if you like. And the actual Resurrection was NOT on Sunday morning.
Over the years, Bible translators did not understand the distinctions in the Hebrew Sabbaths in the Passover Week. A bit arrogant but we'd probably do the same thing today, assuming that everyone told time and used the same calendars as we do. Because of this, these translators assumed Jesus was crucified on Friday, because He was crucified the day before the WEEKLY Sabbath. In the Passover Week, THURSDAY was a Sabbath, a HIGH DAY, an EXTRA Sabbath. Two Sabbaths in one week, causing confusion in the Church to this day.
2) LET'S TALK ABOUT RESURRECTIONS!
Good Friday is the day when Christians pay homage to the crucifixion of Jesus, right? Rightfully so! After all, it's bigger than Christmas! Anyone can be born, right? I was; how 'bout you?
Not just anyone can be resurrected. That is, unless you include the Widow of Zarephath's son under Elijah's ministry (1 Kings 17:22), Elisha laying on the dead child who sneezed 7 times (2 Kings 4:34-35), and the dead man tossed into Elisha's tomb (2 Kings 13:21) who came back to life when he touched Elisha's bones.
In the New Testament, Jesus raised quite a few, as we know, and in the Book of Acts, Peter raised Tabitha (Acts 9:40) and Paul raised to life the man who fell from the window and broke his neck while Paul was preaching (Acts 20:9).
Let's not forget, according to Matthew, just after Jesus gave up His Spirit and the temple veil was torn top to bottom, verses 51-53, “The earth quaked and the rocks were split. The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection, they entered into the holy city and appeared to many.”
In addition, the Jim Rutz book “MegaShift” reveals quite a few modern miracles including resurrections.
Have you heard of anyone who was legally dead after an auto accident or on the operating table who came back to life after surgery, medicine or a heart defibulator? Can't these be recognized as resurrections, too?
WHAT'S MY BEEF?
So, what's the big deal? It's really simple. If Christians will bite – hook, line and sinker – at every wind of doctrine any seemingly spiritual person or group attempts to ram down their throats, including that which pertains to these two topics, what else are we swallowing? I'm not saying anyone is evil or in league with Satan if they DO believe these things; what I AM saying is, there is absolutely no reason to check our brains at the door. What does the original language tell us? What was going on culturally and historically at that time? Go ahead and dig a li'l deeper!
Three types of Doctrine are mentioned in Scripture; those of Man, those of Demons and those of Christ and of God. The things many Christians have been lead to believe – doctrine, dogmas, traditions of men – in many cases, have served little purpose but to cast condemnation, invite division, heap guilt and hopelessness, and create a caste system of “Good Christians” - those who obey the rules - vs “Bad Christians” - those who find they can never measure up and may turn their backs on their faith as a result.
I LOVE the fact that the Berean Christians searched the Scriptures DAILY (Acts 17:11) to see if the stuff Paul and Silas were teaching them was all true (something I can't even imagine!). I can't understand why so many Christians today don't take the time to study the Scriptures, preferring instead to, essentially, pay Moses to ascend the mountain and come back down with something good from God to share during Sunday services.
My prayer is that these two points regarding Easter will cause multitudes to take the initiative to ask questions and seek answers, even challenging teachers to explain why you're being asked to do, say or believe what you're being taught, or told, to do.
The Holy Spirit will shine the light of truth for you. Count on it. Bear in mind, the Gospel calls us to peace. We should have peace about everything we're being taught, even if Paul and Silas are teaching us.
Founder of The Church @ Work (TCAW)
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