Hell: Covenant: Judaism, Christianity and Islam: Part 5

THE UNVEILING CONTINUES

OBJECTIVE: (Isa. 53:1-12 esp. V.7 keywords: a lamb to the slaughter) To understand the fulfillment of the prophesied sacrificial lamb.

(John 14:7-8) Jesus’ previous statement; (V.7) “If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him and have seen him.” had gone right by the disciples. Jesus had spoken so many things in such a veiled way that Philip must have looked at Jesus with surprise; (V.8) “Lord shew us the Father, and it sufficeth (is sufficient for) us.”

(John 14:9 an even greater unveiling) Jesus saith unto him; Have I been so long time with you, and yet thou hast not known me, Philip? He that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how saith thou then, Shew us the Father?”

(John 14:10) But then Jesus elaborated on what He had said; “Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.”

(John 14:12) Jesus said if they believed on Him they could do greater works than Jesus had done because Jesus was going to His Father. Again the disciples were puzzled. (John 11:33-45 esp. V.43-44) They surely asked themselves; “How can anything be greater than raising the dead back to life again?”

(John 14:13-15) Jesus promises that whatever they ask in His name He will do it that the father may be glorified in the Son. But then Jesus qualifies His statement; “If ye love me keep my commandments.” Of course they loved Jesus, that’s why they had followed Him but they felt this was leading up to something big and special because Jesus was being very plain with them.

Jesus had been talking about leaving them (John 14:16-18) and now he said; “I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter (intercessor, consoler, advocate), that he may abide with you forever. Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth (to stay in a given place) with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless (bereaved, orphan): I will come to you.” Then Jesus once more started talking about leaving.

(John 14:19-21) “Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest (to exhibit in person, to disclose by words, declare plainly) myself to him.”

(John 14:22) Finally the other Judas spoke up; “Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us and not unto the world?” He had voiced the question that must have been burning in all of them; “How in the world are you going to do all this?”

(John 14:23-24) Jesus again says He and His Father would make their abode (residence) with those who love Him and keep His words. Jesus bluntly says the words He speaks are from His Father who sent Him and those who won’t keep His words don’t love Him.

(John 14:25) Basically Jesus said I’ve told you these things while I’m yet with you.

The disciples must have looked at each other in astonishment for in their heart were the words; “It’s a love test. If you love Me enough to obey My words you have proved your love for Me. Yet with you? Is Jesus going someplace?”

Remember that the N. T. was not written and all the disciples had was their Judaism teaching. Then Jesus continued; (John 14:26) “But the Comforter (intercessor, consoler, advocate) , which is the Holy (pure, blameless, consecrated) Ghost (the rational soul, Holy Spirit), whom (a person) the father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

(John 13:23 esp. V.27 & 33 thru 16:33) Jesus is telling His disciples about His purpose, His leaving and their purpose. In this discourse, like many other times Jesus’ statements are veiled (allegories).

(John 14:26 keyword: Comforter- intercessor, consoler, advocate) They knew the definition of Comforter and it must have been a great relief that “somebody” was coming to help them because Jesus had said and done so many things they were sure they’d never remember all of it and they didn’t know what much of it meant either.

(John 15:1-27) (V.1-6) Jesus said He is the true vine and God is the husbandman (land-worker, farmer) and that the branches of the vine that wouldn’t bear fruit He (husbandman- the farmer) would take them away and the branches that did bear fruit He would purge (cleanse, prune- to do away with the useless parts).

Jesus told them they were clean through the word He had spoken to them, that they had to abide (to stay in a given place, state, relationship, to dwell) in Him before they could bear fruit, that without Him they could do nothing and if any man won’t abide in Jesus he will be cast off as a branch, withered and burned. They knew about farming and how a grapevine worked. And they knew they did not want to be burned.

(V.13) They would remember Jesus had said; “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (V.12 & 17) They would remember that Jesus told them twice to love one another (V.18, 19 & 23) and that the world would hate them because the world hated Jesus first and whoever hated Jesus hated God the Father.

(John 16:1-33) Jesus said; (V.1-3) “These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended (entrap, scandalize, stumble, entice to sin, apostasy). They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me.” They must have looked at each other with eyes darkened with worry and the beginnings of fear.

(V.4-7) Jesus told them He hadn’t told them these things at the beginning because He was with them but now He was getting ready to leave and it had caused them sorrow (sadness, grief) but it is expedient (be better for, bring together, bear together) that He leave or the Comforter will not come unto them. They must have felt something beyond their control was rushing upon them. They would be long dead when a little over 6oo years later a religion would be founded that would try to convert or destroy every Jew and Christian on the earth!

(V. 8-16) Jesus explained more in depth the work of the Comforter (Spirit of truth, Holy Spirit, Holy Ghost, Spirit of God, Spirit of Christ, the Spirit). (V.17-19) The disciples didn’t understand, were obviously ashamed to ask Jesus and they tried to discuss with each other what they didn’t know.

(V. 19-28) Jesus knew and He went into an in-depth explanation of the events that were coming. (V.29-30) They implied they now understood and that they believed He came from God.

(V. 31-33) For effect Jesus said; really, do you really believe? A time of terror is coming that you can’t imagine and you will be scattered away from Me. But I have already told you “that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

(John 17:1-26) Then Jesus launched into what is truly The Lord’s Prayer and most of it was for his disciples. (John 18:1) Then they left where they were and went across the brook Cedron (Kidron in Hebrew) and went into the garden of Gethsemane where Jesus began to pray for Himself.  

(Luke 22:44) “And being in an agony (struggle, anguish, anxiety) he prayed more earnestly (more intently): and his sweat (perspiration) was as it were great (many, often) drops of blood falling down to the ground.” Question: Have you ever emotionally struggled with such an anguish of anxiety about an unavoidable event that was going to happen to you that your intestines felt like they were drawing and crawling inside you, your body sweated and your skin seemed to crawl? Think about it. 

Jesus is a man who does not want to leave His friends and He does not want to face the awful humiliation, pain and death that are almost upon Him. He is a man, a wonderfully alive, breathing, seeing, thinking, vibrant man who has not experienced death (John 8:46 keywords: which of you convinceth- proof, evidence, convicts- me of sin & 2Cor. 5:21 keywords: For he hath made him to be sin, who knew no sin) and Jesus has never experienced the degradation, guilt and shame of sin.

Plainly stated: (1Pet. 1:18-20 keywords: as of a lamb without blemish- faultless, unblameable- and without spot- morally and physically unblemished) Jesus did not become a sinner in need of redemption and He did not become the devil our adversary and our sins did not contaminate His perfect holiness as some idiots say! We committed the sins NOT JESUS! 

(Matt. 26:39, 42 & 44) Jesus dreads the pain that will soon engulf His skin, nerves, muscle, brain and bone. He has prayed three times, His Holy Spirit powered, loving, beautiful, courageous soul has overcome His agony and Jesus will not waver nor give in to the dread that drenches His sinless flesh.

(Matt. 26:47-56) Then, sometime in the darkness of night, lit only by their flickering torches the soldiers, who are the Jewish temple guard from the chief priests, come to the Mount of Olives, Judas identifies Jesus (Matt. 26:48-49) with the serpent's tender kiss of betrayal (John 18:12) and the captain and officers of the Jews which are the temple guard (Jews) take Jesus and bind Him. (Matt. 27:3-8) Judas goes away to meet his lonely, hellish, betrayer's end.

(John 18:12 keywords: of the Jews) Then the Jewish temple guard takes Jesus to the high priest’s palace where He is questioned in secret; (Matt. 26:64-68) as only hatred can do the guards spit in Jesus’ face and slap Him unmercifully in the cold, lonely, shameful night. The chief priests, elders and the council, (the Sanhedrin Council comprised of Pharisees who are all Jews), seek false witnesses against Jesus so they can kill Him.

(Mark 14:60-65 esp. V.64 keyword: blasphemy) They accuse Jesus of blasphemy, (Isa. 50:6 & Luke 22:63-64) pull the hair from His cheeks and spit in His face, they buffet (strike and club with the hand) Him in the face until the night is hideous with the sound of their grunting efforts and snarls of hatred. Jesus stumbles this way and that and they hold Him up so He won't fall.

Jesus the compassionate healer is rocked and stunned from their jarring fists smashing into His face and head and His neck threatens to break with the savage rotation of His head from the force of their punches. (Isa. 52:14) the prophecy is being fulfilled that his face was so marred (disfigured, battered) more than any man.

Finally, they stop, they smirk at each other and one whispers a plan, (Luke 22:63-64) they blindfold Jesus and one smashes a huge, hard knuckled fist into Jesus' unprotected, bruised, horribly swollen, bloody face. The planner then jeers in a coarse, vulgar, hating voice; "Prophesy, who is it that smote thee?"

Another grits out in a guttural voice (Mark 11:15-18) and reminds them how Jesus had called their beloved temple a den of thieves. But a third wonders why Jesus did not resist or try to shield his body from their punches and slaps.

Their hatred and contempt goes on and on (Isa. 53:5) and the prophesy is fulfilled that He is willing to be bruised (crushed) for our iniquities. Jesus does not stand there smiling a placid smile of forgiveness. He is being tortured! He grimaces and gasps with pain!

(Luke 2:1 & 3:1) Israel is a subjugated people by the Romans and subject to Roman law (John 18:31) and only the Romans can crucify a person. (Acts 7:48-58 & 14:19) The Jews still stoned people but that was generally a mob action.

(Matt. 26:65-66) The high priest and his court had wrongly found Jesus guilty of blasphemy. (Matt. 27:25 keywords: all the people) The high priests could have incited a riot among the Jews resulting in stoning Jesus but that would have been over quickly. Beating, scourging and then crucifixion lasted much longer, was unimaginably more painful and was far more cruel and thus more satisfying to them.

(Luke 22:66-71) The dawning drives the night from the sky and it is Friday morning. Jesus is brought before the Jewish council to be questioned and it doesn't take them long to find a reason to deliver Jesus to the Romans to be killed. (Matt. 27:1-14) The Jews deliver Jesus to Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor, and demand that Jesus be crucified because the chief priests and elders had said (Matt. 25:31-34) Jesus claimed He was King of the Jews.

Pontius Pilate questions Jesus, the whispering, rasping, tortured voice answers and Pilate finds no fault in Him. (Matt. 27:19 & John 18:28-38) Pilate, filled with fear, vacillates between (Matt. 27:19) His wife, (Luke 23:6-11) Herod, (John 18:29, 38, & 19:4) the Jewish mob, (John 18:28 & 33 & 19:1, 9, & 13) and Jesus.

He finally ignores his wife, (John 19:12-13) worries more about losing his position as Roman governor than defying the Jews, (John 19:1) gives the order to have Jesus scourged and the Roman soldiers take over from the Jewish temple guard.

History teaches the Romans named their whip the scourge (Matt. 20:18-19) and being whipped with it was called being scourged. It is a stout wooden handle usually with nine plaited leather lashes 18-24 inches long with bits of steel and tiny shards of bone woven into them. The scourging consists of thirty-nine strokes upon the naked body of their victim.

(Isa. 52:14) As Isaiah had prophesied; Jesus is already beaten nearly beyond recognition by the Jewish Temple Guard and the Roman soldiers. (Isa. 50:6 keywords: gave my back to the smiters) Unresisting, Jesus is tied to a post by the Romans and scourged (Isa. 53:5) until He is cut to ribbons (stripes), wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities.

The scourge is a cruel symbol of Roman power and with it the Romans can punish, torture and humiliate a person's body as the platted thongs rip, slash, devastate and cut the naked human body to shreds. The awful whip throngs wrap around Jesus' back, ribcage, chest, arms, hips, thighs and shoulders and, as the expert whip man follows through to drag the lashes then snaps the whip back, the lashes drag the cruel bits of steel and shards of bone through Jesus' skin and muscle as Jesus writhes in unbearable agony.

Eventually they expose the ribcage bones and they are like whips of molten fire as they rip through the screaming nerves in all those tender, tender places. A horrid, red hot hell of unimaginable pain burns through Jesus as the scourging continues. Blood spurts and droplets spray into the air and Jesus is covered in gore as the steady metronome of ripping whip strokes continue. 

Jesus’ torn to shreds skin and slashed muscles involuntarily writhe and spasm. He involuntarily twists and squirms from the pain shrieking through His nervous system until it feels as if His head must explode from the burning slash of the lashes and His tormentors laugh crudely, make rude remarks and utter harsh curses as, so alone, Jesus suffers there.

The scourging is finally, finally finished. A hideous circle of Jesus' blood stains the laid flagstone floor around the binding post there in the center of the scourging plaza. Standing in the splattered, smeared blood of Jesus the cold-eyed, muscular Roman soldiers with their calloused, rough, uncaring hands untie the binding ropes. The bold, burly, cruel faced soldiers jerk the slender, sagging, unresisting brutalized body around and drag Him stumbling and staggering away.

(Matt. 27:28) After Jesus is scourged the cruel, battle hardened soldiers mock Him by putting upon Him a scarlet robe (John 19:2) lined with purple. Mocking, they plait a winding crown of cruel thorns, jam it on Jesus' head, the razor sharp thorns cut and gouge the bruised, battered, aching flesh of His head all the way to his skull like daggers going into His brain; they bow on their knees, grin, mirthfully gouge each other with their elbows and mock worship Jesus as the King of the Jews.

(Mark 15:39) Perhaps the centurion had a premonition when he saw the colors of the robe and thought; Purple on the inside and scarlet on the outside! Is Jesus a king on the inside who is bleeding for His people on the outside?” They spit foul gobs into Jesus’ face. It is the ultimate gesture of contempt, degradation and humiliation. Yes! Yes, fresh blood cascades from the thorn wounds and pours in crimson streams down His bruised, mottled, swollen face and involuntary shudders shake and ripple through His tortured body!

(John 19:4-5) Pilate motions 2 soldiers to jerk and drag Jesus before the Jews again and He stands sagging, swaying and bloody, thorn crowned, fist whipped and scourged nearly to death and so terribly alone there. 

(John 19:6 &15) The Jewish mob’s faces are red and bloated with hatred, their eyes glare balefully, their neck veins bulge and their mouths are twisted, and open, and ugly with unholy passionate hatred as they scream, curse and demand three times that Pilate crucify Jesus (John 19:15) and they declare Caesar is their king. AND: (John 15:23) Jesus had said; He that hateth me hateth my Father also."

Three times, the number of completion, and the Jews rejection (Gen 3:15) of the prophesied promised seed, (Isa. 49:26) their prophesied “Saviour and Redeemer”, is complete. (Luke 23:18) Yes, yes, of course the notable prisoner Barabbas prances and frolics in his new found freedom because the Jews had chosen him to go free instead of Jesus. (Luke 23:19) Barabbas had made sedition (rebellion) (John 18:40) and he is a robber (John 10:10) and murderer just like Satan, the devil.

(Matt. 27:24) Pilate takes water, washes his hands in front of the Jews and states he is innocent of Jesus’ blood. (Matt. 27:25) The Jews scream in bestial fury “His blood be on us and on our children.”  Then Pilate declares the death sentence on Jesus.

(Matt. 27:24-26) Mary is horrified, sickened, and nearing shock. Her breath comes in small gasps and her heart is churning in great slow thumps and is near bursting. Her thoughts flutter here and there like trapped birds in a cage. Her tortured soul is valiantly struggling to refuse to believe what her horrified eyes and ears have seen and heard. “THIS CANNOT BE!”

In a subconscious effort to stave off insanity (Luke 2:7) a memory bursts through her tortured brain of how satisfied she was to hold her firstborn Son to her bosom while He nuzzled and nursed that first night of her Darling's life, ahhh, how He loved to snuggle to her warmth, then she had wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and finally laid Him in the manger there in the stable.

(Luke 2:6-21) She remembered how she had pondered and wondered about the shepherds and angels, the prophesy and singing, the circumcision and naming; JESUS (Yeshua, Iesous). She remembered the Bethlehem midwives’ astonishment that she could be pregnant yet her hymen that denoted her virginity was still intact.

 (Luke 2:22-35) Mary suddenly recalled the eighth day, the day of circumcision and naming. The circumcision was a visible sign her Son was under the COVENANT and they had named her son Jesus as Gabriel had instructed before Jesus was formed in her womb.

(Luke 2:27-35) Mary recalled the fortieth day when they had sacrificed and presented Jesus to the Lord (V.27 & Lev. 12:1-8) according to the Law of Moses as was every Jewish male baby when their mother’s forty days of purification was done. Simeon had been inspired by the Holy Spirit when he took her Baby from her and prophesied that Jesus was;

(Luke 2:32 & 35) "A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel." AND: "(Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed." This day the sword was piercing her soul.

(Matt. 27:31) Then the tough, battle hardened, burly Roman soldiers strip the scarlet/purple robe off Jesus with their rough uncaring hands and they jerk and blood smear His own raiment back upon Him. (John 19:17) They roughly shove the cross on His raw, bloody back and shoulder and make Him carry it a few weak, staggering, stumbling, dragging, slow, painful steps.

(Mark 15:20-21) Then they compel Simon the Cyrenian, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to help Jesus carry his cross to a knoll near Jerusalem that is part of Mount Moriah (John 19:17) called Golgotha in Hebrew and (Luke 23:33) Calvary in Greek; both names are defined (a place of the skull).

There the horror continues when (Mark 15:25) at the third hour (Matt. 27:35-36 esp. V.35 key: parted his garments) they jerk Jesus' garments off, slam Jesus' naked, unresisting, tortured body down on the cross, Jesus’ unresisting arms and hands flop out on the crossbar of the cross as He laid them down, offering them to the nails.

The uncaring Roman soldiers hammer the heavy iron nails shrieking through His hands and feet into the wood. Jesus' battered, swollen face contorts into a grimace of agony with every dull, thumping hammer blow. 

Working with terrible, muscular efficiency the soldiers, pick up the cross and drop it into place. A gasping, groaning spasm of horrid, unspeakable pain grimaces across Jesus’ tortured, sweaty, hideously swollen, bruised, bloody, lacerated features when His full weight hits the nails that hold him to the cross.

(Luke 23:34) Just before the sixth hour, even though His eyes are burning and blinking from the blood and sweat; in spite of the spasms of pain that quiver and jerk His battered, tormented body; even with the fetid, rotted mouth of death sucking His life out of him; His mighty heart of love is still filled with compassion and Jesus raggedly whispers through gritted teethFather forgive them; for they know not what they do.”

Even there, in their pain of being crucified, no man could be neutral; no man could ignore the miracle worker from Galilee because (Luke 23:39-43) one malefactor (criminal) railed on Jesus and the other malefactor asked for mercy.

And even there, in those awful circumstances; because Jesus saw the need in the malefactor’s eyes. Jesus’ great heart opened, the immeasurable depths of His love, pity and tender mercy poured out and He gasped a pain fractured; Verily (truly) I say unto thee, today shalt thou (you will) be with me in paradise.”

Heedless of the mumbling coming from the three crosses, (Ps. 22:18 & Luke 23:34) as had been prophesied, the soldiers cast lots (gamble) for His clothes under His cross and then as He hangs there by the nails (Ps. 22:17) the calloused soldiers loll back with careless ease watching Jesus with their cold soldier's eyes that had seen much death while they wait for Him to die  

(Matt. 27:36-43) (V.36) While the soldiers sit and watch, (Psa. 22:6-8 keywords: laugh me to scorn, they shoot out the lip, they shake the head) as had been prophesied, (V.39) the chief priests, scribes and elders stroll by, wagging (shook) their heads and reviling (taunt, scorn, reproach), (V.41) and mocking (pucker, jeer, laugh in derision) Jesus as He writhes in His lonely agony on His bloody cross.

Their eyes are cruel, hateful and hot with revenge while they gloat, scorn and mock Him; (V.42) “He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross and we will believe him. (V.43) He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God.”

The Jewish hierarchy suddenly shrink away from the cross (Matt. 27:45-46 esp. V.45 keywords: over all the land- land is defined as- the whole the globe, the earth, world, the occupants of it) and the soldiers watch in open mouthed apprehension when a frightening, supernatural darkness darkens the day at the sixth hour.

The aborigines all over the world, even across the big waters, huddle big eyed in the frightening, somehow threatening darkness. (Eph. 6:12) Some horrid, unspeakable evil was afoot and maybe it stalked them in this living darkness. They grip their stone weapons nervously and look about with worried fear. "What are the gods doing?" Even on the dark side of the world the normal darkness of night has become darker, infernal and somehow hellish.

The people in those tribes drew together, clutching their weapons, looking fearfully about while the women hold their sobbing children; something supernatural and fearful is here and chills race over them! With trembling fingers tribes all over the world strike fires, comforting fires, hoping to drive the frightening, awful, supernatural, darkness away.

Jesus feels His life force draining away as every cell, every nerve and every organ shrieks in their dying. (Matt. 27:46) Jesus the man cries out with a loud voice, rasping with dry mouthed agony, saying; exactly as had been prophesied (Ps. 22:1); 1st My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?”

(Luke 23:46) Then Jesus entrusts His spirit (His life) to God and eternity when He says; 2nd Father into Thy hands I commend my spirit.” (John 19:30) And finally as cold, cold death shivers through His nerves, blood, muscle, bone, and brain 3rd It is finished

(Matt. 27:50-51) Jesus slumps against the nails in the eerie shapelessness of death. With terrifying almost supernatural fury the ripping, grinding and booming of an earthquake jars, splits the rocks and rumbles the ground as the veil of the temple is rent (split) in twain (divide) from the top to the bottom (Matt. 27:54) The soldiers who are watching are afraid and the centurion says; “Truly this was the Son of God.”

No one yet understands this ripping of the veil in two is a symbolism (prophesy) that in just a few days (Acts 2:1 thru 6:7 and on) through Jesus any Jew, any non-Jew, any man, any woman, any child can enter into the holiest place of all and ask for salvation through the blood of Jesus the Lamb of God.

(John 19:21) The Centurion gives the order to break the legs of the malefactors so they will die quicker and they can be buried and not defile the Jewish Sabbath that begins at sunset.

But one soldier, more bold than his fellows, cautiously approaches Jesus and peers into His swollen, disfigured, dead face a few fleeting moments. (Zech. 12:10) As prophesied (John 19:34) his brawny arms suddenly surge out and back in a flickering many times practiced spear thrust that pierces Jesus’ side and up into His heart.

Blood and water gush out, the soldier turns away as he shoulders his spear and comments; “I didn’t break Jesus’ legs because he was already dead!” as he swaggers away. In his arrogance (Num. 9:12) he does not realize he has fulfilled an ancient prophesy.

The soldiers back away and talk quietly for a while and a few of Jesus’ followers sadly stand around watching. Then their voices trail off as they see two figures trudging up the hill; one carries a short ladder and the other is bent under a heavy bundle.

(John 19:38-42) When the two men get closer they see it is Joseph of Arimathaea and Nicodemus. They have begged permission to take Jesus' body down. They put their loads down, briefly pray, get out two blocks of wood, place them on each side of the Lord’s feet and start carefully extracting the long spike that held the tortured feet to the cross.

It is obvious the two weeping men don’t want to damage the swollen purplish feet further; enough abuse has already been done to this precious body. Joseph climbs the ladder and starts on the left hand while Nicodemus holds Jesus’ lower legs. (V.40) It seems endless but finally they have Jesus’ already stiffening corpse onto the spread linen shroud.

(John 19:37) Surely: For a few seconds, as men will, they stand looking sadly at the dead body of all their hopes and dreams. They pray again, (John 19:40) quickly pack Nicodemus’ bundle of spices around Jesus’ body, tenderly wrap it in the spread linen shroud, lift Him up and hurry away toward Joseph’s new tomb. (Luke 23:54) They must hurry and bury Jesus; it is almost Passover Sabbath and they dare not defile that!

(Matt. 26:56 keyword: fled) The disciples had fled when Jesus was killed. (John 20:19) After it was over they had scattered then met at some secret place and were now hiding for fear of the Jews. As men will they were worried about themselves first. They had been associated with Jesus who said he was King of the Jews, that was rebellion and they were afraid they were hunted men.

After much whispered discussion they got around to the subject that hung over them like a dark, crushing, smothering cloud; "Jesus is dead!" "We placed all our hopes and dreams on Him and Jesus is dead." They discussed what had happened. "No man could live with the wounds we saw." "I saw the light of life die in His eyes." "I saw His already stiffening body taken down from the cross." They talked about the past;

(Gen. 22:10) "And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son." (Luke 1:38) Mary said; “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word." (Matt. 1:24) "Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife." Faith had accomplished Jesus' birth.

(Luke 22:48) "Judas, which betrayed him" and the leadership hierarchy of priests gathered (Matt. 26:3-4) "And consulted that they might take Jesus by subtility, and kill him." Unbelief because of greed, pride, envy and lust for power had killed Jesus. "Jesus is Dead!"

As they huddled there in the darkened room every unusual sound caused them to start, look around apprehensively and hush their whispers. Rebellion carried an automatic death sentence! It never entered their thoughts there might be something afoot which would strain their ability to believe beyond what they knew; "Jesus is dead!" was their reality.

They talked about (Luke 16:19-31) when Jesus had taught about Lazarus and the rich man’s inward person, the soul and had even described the soul's abilities in painstaking detail that after the body dies the soul will still have the essence of life, the God given spirit, the spark of life, with it.

Jesus had said the soul can still (V.23) see, suffer--> he felt pain (V.24) speak, taste, touch, smell, (V.28) remember, feel emotions--> he loved and felt concern for his five brothers, (V.27-30) hear, pray, understand, worry, reason--> he made an argument based on reason (V.31) and feel disappointment! “But Jesus is dead!”

(John 11:11-46) “We saw Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead (John 12:1-2) and we ate supper with him.” BUT: (Isa. 52:14 & 53:4 & 8) The devastation wrought upon the Lord’s body had been too complete; no man could live with the wounds they had seen; (Matt. 6:22) they had seen the light of life die in Jesus’ eyes; and they knew His stiffening corpse had gone into the grave.

(Matt. 17:1-4) Jesus had been transfigured before them, His face had shown like the sun, He was clothed in light and they had recognized Moses and Elijah talking to Jesus. (John 5:29) Jesus had taught much about the resurrection but that was some dimly understood, scarcely believed activity in the far, far future.

(John 5:28) Jesus had even said the hour is coming when all that are in the graves shall hear His voice. “What did He mean by that?” (John 5:29) Jesus had bluntly said all people will live forever. BUT: They could not completely accept the reality of life after death, it was only words. "Jesus is dead!" was their only reality.

NOTE: Pope Gregory XIII introduced the Gregorian calendar (also called the Western calendar and Christian calendar) in Oct. 1582. In Gregorian time the day ends and begins at midnight. In Jewish time the day ends and begins at sunset.

Jesus is buried in a hurry, Gregorian first day (the Jewish sixth day of the week), late that Friday afternoon so the Jewish Sabbath Day (Jewish seventh day of the week starting Friday at sunset and ending at sunset on Saturday), Gregorian second day, will not be broken and the Jewish Passover celebration will not be defiled. (Luke 24:1) The next day, the third day, the first day of the Jewish week, is the Gregorian third day, which is the Gregorian Sabbath (Sunday). END OF NOTE.

(Matt. 28:1-7 esp. V.1 keywords: first day of the week) At dawn the women start to the Lord’s grave and an angel tells them Jesus has risen from the dead, early in the morning, from that stinking, hateful hole in the earth and has left to go to Galilee (Matt. 28:16) where He has a prearranged meeting with the eleven disciples at a predetermined place. It is the first day of the Jewish week that will be later known as the Christian Sabbath.

(Matt. 28:8-10) With vast excitement the women are on the way back to tell the disciples the Lord has risen but Jesus meets them. They are astonished! With weakness and trembling they are almost afraid to look at Him. They can feel the love radiating from Jesus and they know. They whisper to each other;

"It is Jesus! It is Jesus! He's alive!" With that final assurance to each other they fall prostrate and worship Him. Jesus accepts their worship and with the sweetest of all smiles and in a tender voice He tells the women to remind the disciples of their meeting (Mark 16:11) but when they are told the disciples don’t believe the women. How could they? “We saw the light of life die in His eyes! Jesus is dead!”

Later on that same day the disciples are eating supper, (Mark 16:14) Jesus visits the disciples the FIRST time and upbraids them for their unbelief and hardness of heart. (Luke 24:36-40) Jesus tells them to look at His hands and feet where He had been crucified (1John 1:1 keyword: handleand to handle Him and see for themselves that He is flesh and bone. It is the first day of His new resurrected life.

(1John 1:1-4 keywords: and our hands have handled) And they do, oh how they do! They touch His skin and hair, in awe they examine His hands and feet and tenderly touch His side. With gladdened shouts, laughter and tears they hug and pat Jesus and kiss His cheeks and hands.  (Luke 12:1-4 & John 15:1) It is their Friend! It IS Jesus! "JESUS IS ALIVE!"

Even though he had denied Jesus three times Simon Peter was still the bold one and he shyly, hesitantly touches his fingers to Jesus’ throat; Simon feels the surge of life in the great vessel there and he bursts into great sobbing tears of wonderful joy while he searchingly looks into the smiling friendly eyes of Jesus.

At one time or another during the joyous interlude they each think in one fashion or another: (John 20:24) “Thomas has truly missed it all!” (Luke 24:41-44) Jesus eats supper with them and in that strange way of emotional uproar the food is tasteless as the disciples mechanically chew. "JESUS IS ALIVE!" They hang on every word Jesus speaks.

(John 11:25-26) Then someone remembered Jesus had said; I am the resurrection and the life and he had eaten supper with Lazarus whom he had raised from the dead. (Ex. 3:14) Then someone whispers; “I remember the teaching in the temple that God had named himself to Moses; “I AM” when He sent Moses to Egypt. Do you think---” and his voice trailed off into nothing. The rest stared at him silently. The thought was too great for them to comprehend.

(John 20:24-25 esp. V.25) Thomas, when he returns, does not believe what the disciples tell him. That staunch, stubborn disciple juts out his chin; "Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side I will not believe.” “Jesus is dead!”

Can you imagine the uproar and commotion of persuasion when Thomas stoutly refuses to believe what they are so excited about, (1John 1:1-4) about Who they have seen and touched? ""JESUS IS ALIVE!" Thomas knew what he had seen and he would not be persuaded! "Show me!"

(John 20:26-28) It is the eighth day when Jesus visits the disciples the SECOND time, Thomas' eyes almost pop out of his head! "Come here Thomas." What would you do? Of course, the Doubter is hesitant, almost bashful.

But when he looks into Jesus' eyes, when he sees the tender humor there, the love, the kindness, when he feels the overwhelming love that can only be felt when Jesus is close Thomas' stubborn heart melts within him and with his arms outstretched he rushes faster and faster across the room toward Jesus.

Jesus shows Thomas the places where He had been so terribly and fatally wounded and tells Thomas to touch them. Thomas is weeping and somehow frozen by his swirling emotions. Jesus gently takes him by the hand and places his fingers into the prints of the nails, He draws Thomas closer, pulls His robe aside and plants Thomas' hand in the awful spear mark.

Thomas, his heart pounding, is open mouthed with wonder. His lips won't move but his thoughts are roaring; (Matt. 17:22-23) “Jesus has conquered death just like He said he would!" Thomas' heart threatens to explode, his breath is caught in his chest and his skin is on fire. "JESUS IS ALIVE!”

Thomas' silent lips still won't move and his throat is too tight to form words. "JESUS IS ALIVE!" Only Jesus could ever make Thomas feel like this!" (John 20:28) Then in gladdened humility and streaming tears Thomas worships Jesus and his mouth finally works as his voice, hoarse with emotion, rings out; "My Lord AND my God."

(Lev. 12:3 & Luke 2:21) REMEMBER? The eighth day; the day of naming; and Thomas has said; “MY LORD AND MY GOD”! (John 20:29) Then Jesus speaks the words that are for other people, in other times and other places. "Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: BLESSED ARE THEY THAT HAVE NOT SEEN, AND YET HAVE BELIEVED." 

Luke would later reveal (Acts 1:2-3) Jesus visits and teaches many other disciples during the forty days between His resurrection and His ascension. He visits a lot of people during this time and on one occasion He visits (1Cor. 15:5-8) more than five hundred believers at once.

(John 21:3) On the 39th day some of the eleven disciples get bored and impatient and go fishing. They are a bit piqued because they are the special ones; they are the eleven, the inner circle. Jesus should spend more time with them. Ahhh, how soon pride besets us all. They fish all night and catch nothing. (John 21:4) ON THE MORNING OF THE 40TH AND FINAL DAY Jesus visits them the THIRD time, three, the number of completion.

(John 21:4) From the shore, separated from them, yet with them, Jesus tells them where to fish which is #1 symbolically prophetic (John 16:13 keyword: guide) that Jesus, through the Spirit of truth, will spiritually guide them (Matt. 4:19 key phrase "fishers of men") in the catching of men (John 14:20 & 23) when; “ye in me and I in you” happens.

Jesus prepares their breakfast over a bed of coals which is #2 objectively prophetic (John 14:23-26 esp. V.23 keywords: make our abode with him and V.26 keywords: teach you all things) Jesus will spiritually teach (feed) them through the Comforter who is the Holy Ghost (Holy Spirit).

They catch one hundred and fifty-three fishes which is historically, at that time, one of every type of fish in the Sea of Galilee (Matt. 24:14) #3 and that is objectively prophetic that the end will not come until His Kingdom is preached to every nation which includes the Gentiles. (Mark.1:8 & 17) The disciples finally understand that, as fishers of men, they must follow Jesus’ instructions through the Holy Spirit before they can catch men.

(John 21:13-18) Jesus gives them their breakfast and after they finish eating (Luke 24:44-49 esp. V.44-46) He explains how the law, the prophets, and the psalms all spoke of Him. The tabernacle, all its accouterments and the Ark of the Covenant are part of the Law of Moses. There were prophets when the kings ruled. (V.45) Then He opens their understanding so they can understand the scriptures (the holy writ).

(V.46) “Thus it is written, and thus it behoved (necessary as binding) Christ to suffer, and rise from the dead the third day.” THEY WOULD NEVER DOUBT JESUS AGAIN!

BINDING

One of them spoke softly; (Gen. 22:1-13) “Blood had to be shed for God’s binding covenant (V.18) with Abraham to be put into effect!” Then he quoted; (Gen. 17:7) And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed in their generations for an everlasting (defined as: #1 eternal, always, perpetual and #2 concealed, to veil) covenant (defined as a compact made by passing between pieces of flesh by cutting, a confederacy), to be a God unto thee and to thy seed after thee.

Another whispered; “The thorns, the nails and the spear passed between Jesus’ flesh by cutting. Is it possible…..?  

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