Light and Dark – Jesus in the Tomb

There are several dark to light elements in this story that will be discussed.  Jesus was sealed in a cave in the evening (Mark 15: 42).  On Passover, the women rested but were out while it was dark the next day (John 20:1).  The sun was rising on the first day of the week as they found the empty tomb. I wanted to leave off “of the week” because it was the first day of a new era for mankind.  The light of grace had rolled away and an earthly barrier and had come out to start things anew!

It really is not right to say Jesus stayed in a dark tomb for three days.  Saturday of Holy Week is often overlooked in its importance. Jesus did not come out, He went “down” to retrieve the keys that no longer could stay in Hell.  Death had a job to do on the first Passover but Jesus had ended the old, so ownership of the keys was restored to Him.  (Please click on Jesus Preached– it is a poem.  These link with Saturdayand Holy Weekfor previous studies.) The references are Matthew 27: 67, Revelations 1:18, Ephesians 4:8, and 1 Peter 3:19, 4:6. 

Another darkness that became light was the cloud on the minds of all of the followers of Jesus. The dark cloud that had covered the understanding of all the followers of Jesus was replaced with the light of understanding the Scriptures.  This dawn took most of the first day, as the womensaw Him first, then Peter, the disciples on the road to Emmaus, and finally the remainingApostles.  The darkness that started at the cross was replaced with the light of a risen Jesus!

Three– Jesus predicted the three days in the tomb by using Jonah’s stay in the great fish.

End and Start – The First Adam had given up a lot when he ate the fruit in the Garden.  The Second Adam (Jesus) reclaimed the keys to death and Hades.  

Jesus in the darkness coming into the light had been played out many times before.  All of them pointed to this moment.  Creation, the first Passover, God filling the Temple all gave us pictures of what was to come!  He now came from the tomb to start a new picture – Jesus returning for His Bride.  

The next fifty days speak to many things.  Jesus stayed with the disciples for forty days (showing Himself to many).  Then a ten-day period where the disciples prepared themselves and sought the coming of the Spirit.  

The Spirit arriving on Pentecost shares things with Israel meeting God on the Mountain.  A notable part is missing – the darkness.  The Spirit arrives with fire (light) and the sound of a mighty wind.  (Think about the Second Coming of Jesus.)  The Church/Bride has her birthday, and Jews and Gentiles become one new creation.

FURTHER THOUGHT – Reflect on the Book of Revelations by comparing it with the Book of Acts and the time of the Church under the Caesars.

Light and Dark – Jesus on the Cross

Matthew 27: 45, Mark 15: 33, Luke 22: 53 + 23: 44, John 19: 28 – 31(NIV)

From the sixth to the ninth hour there was darkness over the land!  Matthew, Mark, and Luke record this event (see references above).  John does not mention this part of the scene at the cross but adds other details that help to form the picture. (There is a difference in John on the “hours”. Probably due to Jewish vs. Roman timekeeping practices. It is a shame great minds have to pick the minor things and ignore the important.)

Let’s shift back to the first Passover to offer an explanation for the darkness.  The lambs were to be killed at twilight.  The “sixth to the ninth hour” was the timeframe for the killing of the lambs in Jesus’s day, that should have been three to six p.m. modern time, so it needed to be dark.  John adds the phrase “the day of Preparation” for the Passover.  I have heard many powerful sermons that included the “darkness” but, today, I will go with this more practical explanation.  

Okay, going a little dramatic.  Could this darkness be felt, like the darkness in the ninth plague?  Can you imagine the panic even if it was just as dark as a moonless night!  But to toy with my own question, I have to wonder who “sent” the darkness?  God or Satan?  In Luke 22: 53 Jesus tells the mob that “darkness” is reigning!  This is the only place that I could find like that in the Bible.  So, was it dark to complete the picture from Exodus, or because the Father was mourning, or because Satan truly was clueless to the fact he was losing and that was his poor attempt at domination, or was it to prepare for the light?  How do you read it?

Now to the Light!  (This is not in the Bible, but I hope it happened this way!  It would look good in a movie.)  Jesus had said several of His “last words” in the dark.  John said He knew “all things were completed” when He asked for a drink.  Then He said, “It is Finished” and gave up His spirit.  When Jesus said it is finished, I can see a beam of light punching through the darkness as He bowed His head.  At first, the light was just on Jesus.  Then it started to spread out from Him until it covered the land that had been in darkness.  That light shook the ground, when it spread over tombs it reversed death, and when it hit the Temple one really thick curtain tore in two pieces and light up an empty room. Oh well, nothing that dramatic is recorded but at that time of year, there should have been several more hours of daylight.   

Three– There are several (probably more):

  1. From the first Passover – three sides of the door painted with blood.  Foretells the cross.
  2. Three hours of darkness as the Lamb was dying.
  3. Three men on crosses – the thieves could represent the sheep and goats at the Judgment; the arrogant thief = Law and the repentant thief = Grace, Jesus is in the middle of all of these.
  4. Three groups of on-lookers
  5. Passersby– People hurrying to get to Jerusalem for the Feast; Priest who came just to torment and mock Jesus.  They saw but learned nothing.
  6. Soldiers– They had to be there.  The centurion, at least, learned that Jesus was the Son of God.  You have to wonder if his name was Cornelius?  They probably learned the most, simply because they knew the least.
  7. The Women and John– They choose to be there.  Grief, horror, and questions filled their minds overwhelming their understanding of what was happening.  Who could not be affected by the moment?  They knew Jesus had told them, but they did not comprehend in the trial.  Did they learn?  I am sure they did, but this took time to process.  The effects of the lesson developed over the next fifty days. It prepared them for Pentecost.  

End and Start –The Law ended/was fulfilled and Grace took center stage. No matter what I thought to write it always came back to that thought. FURTHER THOUGHT –  Our redemption from sin is finished because Jesus paid the price on the cross! In our lives, there are “things” that we need to offer to God so that we can follow Jesus more completely. We refer to this as crucifying them! Sometimes we freely offer them, sometimes God starts the process, in both cases, we have to let the things die. What is one thing you were in the “dark” about as it died and what was the “light” as the result?

Light and Dark – Jonah

Jonah was in a fish! It was dark in there! Him being spit out put him back into light.  This signals the time Jesus would spend in the grave. The first mention of Jonah is in 2 Kings 14: 25 where he is credited with a prophesy that came true, the story of the Book of Jonah would have been after this.

The thing that leaves you hanging about Jonah is what happened to him?  Did he repent of the harsh attitude, did he go back to Israel, or did he just stay bitter?  

Peter was identified as “bar Jonah” or son of Jonah.  It would be a stretch to say they were related!  Matthew 16: 17 does not seem to imply that Jesus was being “funny”, so that probably was Peter’s name.  Peter may have had similar traits as Jonah (hard-headed, impulsive, teachable but slow to change), so we can hope that Jonah returned to God like Peter did.  

ThreeThree days and three nights is the most notable part of Jonah’s ordeal.  That is because it has three references in the New Testament – two different times in Matthew (12: 41 + 16: 4) and one repeat in Luke (11: 29).  Jesus offered it as the only sign from heaven that unbelieving Jews would get.  I noticed that there were three “God provided” after Jonah preached to Nineveh – the plant, the worm, and the wind.  There was also a three day walk across the city.

The study of Solomon, Jesus walking on water, and this one, all have connections to the festivals that happen in the seventh month”. (Jonah is read as an example of repenting and reaching out to a Gentile nation.)

End and Start – Jonah’s time in the fish ended his disobedience and started his journey to face his fear of being labeled a “false prophet” if Nineveh was not destroyed.  At this time in history, Assyria was oppressing Israel and would send a replacement population to occupy Samaria. So, Jonah had serious reasons, in his mind, why he was not going to do it (hatred of Assyria, fear of being a false prophet).  Even though other prophets had dealings with foreign nations this was the first prophet that was specifically sent to an enemy nation telling them to repent!

FURTHER THOUGHT – Have you done a “Jonah”? Have you ever tried to run from something that Jesus wanted you to do?  How did it end?

Light and Dark- Exodus 10

Light and Dark– Exodus 10

Dark and light here are part of the plagues before Passover.  In Wonders that Plagued Egypt and Reflections on Judgement I cover some of the plagues but there is so much to learn and see.  In studying this time, I noticed that Moses was directed to confront Pharaoh early in the morning.  This darkness was special – it could be felt!  Ra, their sun god, had bowed before the God of Israel.  (I have been in dark places that set your nerves on edge, but I have never felt darkness.)  When Moses started asking for physical possessions I am sure Egypt was ready to give them anything to get rid of the People. 

Three– It stayed dark for three days.  These three days speak to the time Jesus was in the grave. I hope that I am not squeezing this to fit my ideas, but you need to think before these days fit into the tomb. Israel was in the light, Egypt was in darkness. Jesus was in His glorified body walking through hell getting the keys back, the disciples were in the “dark” about what really happened to Jesus! 

End and Start – There are several things that are happening here, so there are multiple endings and starts.  I see this as God ending His “playing nice” with Pharaoh. I think the people of Egypt had had enough and wanted the People gone.  What started was God’s direct attack on Pharaoh and his son.  Ra was the sun god and major deity for Egypt, and the pharaoh was his son and physical form on earth.  It is also the second time (? – the plague of gnats 8: 16) that God did not tell Moses to go to Pharaoh to warn him of what was coming.  Pharaoh had to call for Moses, then he was warned of the last plague. (Khepri was the gnat god and the god of creation, moving the sun, and rebirth.)  Slavery was ending and freedom about to begin.  Worshipping Egypt ended and worshipping Jehovah was beginning.

FURTHER THOUGHT– What gods do you need to leave in the dark so you can live, better, in the light of Jesus.

John 7 – Jesus’ Timetable

John 7

Sometimes when you are studying one thing something else catches your attention, this is one of those things – John 7.  It is not part of the Passover to Pentecost time period but comes several months after Shavuot or Pentecost.   All of the crops are in, and this is an important event for the Jews that commemorates the forty years of the Exodus.  It is one of three Feasts that everyone was to go to Jerusalem and celebrate.

Part of the reason John would put this in his Book (v. 1 – 5) is to show the change in Jesus’ earthly family after the Resurrection, they were in the Upper Room praying with the rest of the disciples instead of doubting.  You need to remember that Jesus would still have a victory ride into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, so His time was not ready.  Jesus was not going to be pushed into doing things out of the timing of the Father.

In verse fourteen, of chapter 7, “halfway” into the Feast would have been the fourth day and was between two sacred assemblies.  There were specific offerings for each day see (Numbers 29: 12 – 40).  John 7: 37 places the rest of the chapter on the last day, but all of the way to chapter 10: 21 seems to be in this general time period.  If John 8:1 is correct it may have occurred the next day after the Feast.

John 10: 21 – 42 is the Feast of Dedication or Hanukkah which is in December, so there is a time gap.  But one thing that stands out in these three chapters is the number of times they were going to apprehend Jesus or stone Him, remember “His time had not yet come.”  Much of this rage is because of miracles, challenging their practices, and claiming to be the Son of God, the Messiah.  THE important thing that Jesus stated in most of these conversations and is very important for us today is who gets the glory and the credit for the miracles.  Jesus gave the glory to the Father!

I realize that Jesus is His name and that Christ is a title; so, there are times when one should be used over the other.  It just seems that too many preachers forget to use the name, Jesus. Paul in his writings will use the terms Jesus Christ and Christ Jesus; there is a subtle difference here that our society seems to forget.  Jesus Christ is “man-God” while Christ Jesus is “God-man.” (Sorry, I forget where I first read this; it may have been in Vine’s Dictionary.)  If someone is not/can not use the name Jesus, properly, I suggest you RUN.  It is amazing how many people use the name of Jesus as a point of authority when cursing but do not believe in Him.