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Crucified Before the Foundation of the World

"Crucified before the foundation of the world." What does that mean? How could that even happen? Historians and archaeologists ta...

Friday, March 25, 2016

Lent 2016--Day Thirty-Nine

Day of the Death of Jesus

Friday is the day that we accept as the traditional day of Jesus' crucifixion, but there are many reasons to suspect that the day was earlier in the week.

For one thing all references say he was in the tomb for three days. Friday afternoon to Sunday morning does not comprise three full days. Jesus prophesied that he would follow the example of Jonah: As Jonah was in the belly of the great fish for three days and three nights, so the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights.(Matt. 12:38-41) That would make the day of the crucifixion fall on Wednesday. Then Thursday, Friday, and Saturday would be three days and three nights.

The way we count it now, he died on Friday afternoon about 3:00, was in the tomb all day Saturday, and rose on Sunday morning. That comes out to be one full day and fractions of two other days. It works well for Holy week and gives us a chance to honor each step in the move toward the sacrifice of Jesus. Maybe it's enough to note all the details and accept what we can't change.

Other Characters in the Story

Judas is an important person in the crucifixion story. He was one of the twelve. It's not uncommon for believers to discount him. I once heard someone say, "He was never a real disciple. He could not have really been a believer." 

The preacher in the group said, "He cast out demons." His observation made me think again. You can't dismiss it that quickly.

Pilate also is a major player in the crucifixion. He seems to have been a weak administrator. He had no strong convictions and was swayed by public opinion. He found no reason to execute Jesus, but he just wanted not to be blamed so he washed his hands in the presence of the crowd who called for crucifixion. After the crucifixion he did seek repentance.

Then there was Peter who denied even knowing Jesus when servants pointed him out as a follower . Peter had been a leader in the disciples, and he often spoke for the group. He sometimes spoke when he should have been silent.

Death of Jesus

Jesus carried, at least, the crossbeam of the cross to Golgotha, until he fell under it's weight. The soldiers found a Cyrenian man named Simon and forced him to help. He was placed on the cross about 9:00 a.m. From noon until three in the afternoon there was an eclipse or a storm that darkened the day. He spoke several times, and the seven sayings from the cross should be studied individually.

Burial of Jesus 

He was buried by Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus. They asked Pilate for the body and wrapped it in clean linen and placed it in a new tomb and sealed it with a stone. Pilate ordered soldiers to guard the tomb as if they could prevent resurrection .