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Today's Creation Moment

The Stones at Carnac
Genesis 11:8
“So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city.”
On the southern coast of the Breton peninsula in Northern France is a small rural town called Carnac. It is a pleasant enough seaside resort. I remember enjoying a couple of days there with my family...

The Resurrection

Gordon C. Mellish

Gordon MellishSix days before the Passover festival Jesus came to Bethany where Lazarus lived whom he had raised from the dead. (John 12:1) The next day (Sunday) the great crowd who had come to the festival heard that Jesus was coming into Jerusalem and went out to meet him with palm branches in their hands, shouting, "Hosanna! Blessed be he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!" And Jesus found a young ass and sat upon it; as it is written, "Fear not daughter of Zion; behold, your king is coming sitting on an ass's colt." (John 12:12-15, Luke 19:33-38, Mark 11:4-10, Matthew 21:5-9) So Jesus came to Bethany on Saturday, which was six days before Passover, which came on Friday that year. The day after he came to Bethany to visit Lazarus was Palm Sunday.

The Jewish festival of Passover is a one-day celebration of happiness because God did not kill them the night he killed all first born of the Egyptians and because it was the day they received their freedom from slavery in Egypt. It is not a Sabbath or a day of rest. The next seven days following Passover is the Feast of Unleavened Bread. They eat only unleavened bread during these seven days to remind them that they had to leave Egypt in a hurry and didn't have time to let bread rise with yeast. The first and last days of this feast are Sabbaths, and no work was to be done on the first and seventh days. The first day of Unleavened Bread is a High Day and a special Sabbath. Today the Jews celebrate these eight days and usually call all eight days Passover.

The following week Jesus preached in the Temple. He overthrew the money changers because they were cheating the people when they changed their foreign coins to temple coins. Only Jewish coins could be used in the Temple. This aroused great hate among the Jewish priests because Jesus insulted them, calling them vipers and other insulting names, and so they planned to kill him; but because Jesus was so popular, they feared a riot of his many followers. There were many foreign Jews in Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover, which was required of all Jewish males. The crowds were so large, they had trouble keeping order as it was. So what could they do? Nevertheless, Jesus kept preaching in Jerusalem and the Temple from Sunday thru Wednesday. There is no unknown day in Jesus' last week.

That Wednesday evening, two evenings before Passover, Jesus met with his disciples in an upper room to eat their evening meal. (Matthew 26:1-2, Mark l4:l, Luke 22:1-2 and John 13:1-2) At the meal, his disciples asked him where they would eat the Passover meal. Jesus said to go into the city to a certain man and say to him, "The Master says my time is near. I am going to keep the Passover with my disciples at your house." (Matthew 26:17-19, Mark 14: 12-16, Luke 22:9-13) But because Jerusalem was crowded with people from all over the world who had come to celebrate Passover, the priests feared they would be unable to kill him without causing a riot. They would not be able to control so large a crowd, and they definitely did not want to kill him on the feast day of Passover. (Matthew 26:2-5, Mark 14: 1-2, Luke 22:2)

Now, Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, knew when and where Jesus would be eating the Passover and how he could betray Jesus secretly without causing too much trouble. He then went to the chief priests and asked them what they would give him if he would deliver Jesus to them. After some negotiations, the priest agreed to settle for thirty silver coins. It was great news for the priests, so now they could kill Jesus before the Passover and avoid any riots. Judas told them they would be eating a meal in the evening before Passover, and he would lead them to a place near the garden of Gethsemane where Jesus often prayed. (John 18:1-2) The priests said the betrayal must not be on the Passover because there might be an uproar among the people. (Matthew 26:3-5, Mark 14:1-2)

Wednesday evening after they had eaten, Jesus washed the disciples' feet and told them that one of them would betray him. They, of course, asked who it would be, and Jesus said it would be the one who had eaten bread with him. (Matthew 26:21-23, Mark 14:17-20, John 13:18-30) So Judas ate the bread Jesus gave him, and Judas immediately went out and it was [Wednesday] night.

After they had eaten, they went out to an area called Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives. Jesus asked them to stay there while he prayed. It had been a stressful week, and the disciples were very tired. When he came back, he found them sleeping. Twice more he prayed, and each time he came back, he found them sleeping. After he returned the third time, he told them to get up because his betrayer was at hand. (Matthew 26:36-46, Mark 14:32-42, Luke 22:39-46, John18:1-2)

With Judas showing the way, the Pharisees and a band of men captured Jesus and took him first to Annas, the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest. After Caiaphas finished questioning Jesus, it was early morning because the roosters had started crowing. (Matthew 26:57-68, Mark'14:53-65, Luke 22:54-61, John 18:12-14, 19-27)

As soon as it was daylight, they then led Jesus to the council of 70 Sanhedrin and then on to Pilate the governor into the Judgment Hall. The priest and others did not go inside because they would become defiled for they had not yet eaten the Passover meal, so Pilate went outside and asked what accusations they were bringing against Jesus. (Matthew 27:1-2, 11-14, Mark 15:1-6, Luke 23:1-5, John 18:12-29) When Pilate learned Jesus was from Galilee, he thought he would get rid of this problem, so he sent Jesus to Herod Antipas, but after Herod and his soldiers questioned and mocked him, he sent him back to Pilate. (Luke 23:6-11)

Pilate had his soldiers beat him, put a crown of thorns on his head and a purple robe on him. This was not enough punishment for the chief priests, so they kept crying, "Crucify him, crucify him." It was the preparation day for the Passover [Thursday], so Pilate gave up trying to save Jesus and let them lead him away to a place of a skull, called in Hebrew Golgotha. There they crucified him. (Matthew 27:26-33, Mark 15:12-22, Luke 23:13-26, John 19:1-18, 42) "And that day was the preparation day [for the Passover] and the Sabbath drew on ... and they returned and prepared spices and ointments [on Passover Friday] and rested the Sabbath day according to the commandments." (Luke 23:54, 56) They could not have bought spices on Saturday [a High Sabbath]. Pilate would certainly not have crucified anyone on the Jewish holy day of Passover, and that Sabbath was also a High Day. (John 19:31)

"Now the next day that followed the day of preparation [for the Passover] the chief priests and Pharisees came to Pilate" and said that while he was alive he said, "I will rise again", so give us a guard so that his disciples don't come by night and steal him and say he has risen from the dead. Pilate said to them here is a guard. Make the tomb as secure as you can. So they made the tomb secure and set guards to watch it. (Matthew 27:62-66)

And so, just as Jesus had predicted, "For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale's belly, so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." (Matthew 12:40) Jesus was in the grave Thursday night, Friday night and Saturday night.