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 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 Saturday and Holy Week for 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 women saw Him first, then Peter, the disciples on the road to Emmaus, and finally the remaining Apostles.  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.

A Look at Holy Week

The ancient Hebrews used a lunar calendar, this means that the 1st of the month was during the New Moon phase and that would make the 15th of the month the Full Moon phase.  It was fun to connect the days of Holy Week with the lunar calendar; it just shows the orderliness of our God.

Day of our week Day of the  lunar calendar Passover Holy Week events
Sunday 10th Choosing and prepping the lamb The ride into Jerusalem, people prepared the way
Monday 11th Jesus cursed the fig tree and cleared the Temple courts,
Tuesday 12th Explained the dead tree and taught the people
Wednesday 13th He was prepared for his burial at the dinner
Thursday 14th Lamb is slaughtered and prepared at twilight Room prepared, Passover observed, prayed in the Garden
Friday 15th Burned any leftover lamb Trials and crucifixion
Saturday 16th Jesus preaching to the spirits in Hell
Sunday 17th He rose and showed himself to select people

The first Passover, when the Lord kept watch to bring the People out, they started for Succoth.  The starting point was Rameses; the distance is about 30 miles so that was a long walk on very short notice.  Pharaoh actually ordered them to leave.  The celebration observes seven days of bread with no yeast because that is what happened on the first Passover.

I have been writing for several years on numbers in the Bible.

  • Thirteen was about how new things started in association with that number.
  • Fourteen actually started events.
  • Fifteen is linked with cleaning things up to celebrate.
  • Sixteen was that God kept His eye on things

I found the connections between those studies and the days of the month for Holy Week interesting.

I have other studies on the days of the Holy Week – Thursday, and post labeled Easter 2015,

Easter 2015 – Reflections

How Would You Rewrite the Resurrection Story?

This may seem like a strange question but as I read and reread the stories of Holy Week I noticed Easter Sunday did not get a lot of print from the Gospel Writers. I started counting from the story of the “Triumphal Entry” or Palm Sunday to the women going to the tomb and the events of THAT day and this is the count of the verses I came up with:

  • Matthew 369 vs. 15 and 5 of that is about the guards – 4%
  • Mark 233 vs. 8 then the add on of 6 – 6%
  • Luke 233 vs. 49 – 17%
  • John 275 vs. 23 – 8 %

Luke, the Gentile, wrote the most and he wasn’t even there.

Does this seem right? Resurrection Sunday, Easter, the most important day in Christianity and from the writers we get a total of 101 verses!

If we look at the narratives it is even more shocking. Most of the verses are talking about the women or the guards with Jesus just making cameo appearances. In Mark Jesus does not even show up until someone added it at a later time (argue with the editors of the NIV). The main message on Easter Sunday from the angels and Jesus was “Go to Galilee”; well at least in Mark and Matthew. Luke and John deal with the measures Jesus took to convince unbelieving disciples that He was alive. (SIDE NOTE: This, being one week later was when Jesus showed up to have a heart-to-heart with Thomas and restore him.)

How could this oversight have happened? Why so little about the most important day in Christianity?   John went on to write Revelations and three epistles. Luke wrote the Acts of the Apostles and Mark probably did the writing of 1 and 2 Peter for his uncle. Matthew preached to nations and got martyred.

0h, wait maybe they wrote about what was important! What do you do with the Resurrection? How has Jesus coming back to life changed everything?  Never mind they are fine just the way they are written.

Women and the Resurrection

Studying the Resurrection has settled several things for me and one of them is that all of Jesus’ contacts on Easter morning did not happen by chance.  The fact that Jesus and the angels talked only to the women of the group of disciples was not by chance. (John and Peter showed up but no one talked to them.) I feel that it was the fulfillment of Genesis 3:15 because the woman’s seed had crushed the serpent’s head so the ladies should have been the first to know that Jesus was alive.

I think it is noteworthy that women were present on the way to the cross, present at the cross, and boldly had gone to the grave while the only man that was mentioned at the cross was John.  The women that are listed as being at the grave and/or cross are Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of Joses and James the younger, Salome, Joanna, and the others (possibly Mary Jesus’ mother, His aunt, and Mary the wife of Clopas who was at the cross).  I compiled this list from Mark 15 and 16, Luke 24, and John 19.  Mary Magdalene is mentioned in all four Gospels as being near the tomb on Easter.  In Exodus 23:17 it says that three times a year all the men are to appear before the Lord so the women being present at the feast showed their commitment to God and to Jesus.

Mary Magdalene has become the center of a lot of controversies but I think she knew The_Resurrection015what she had been delivered from and was thankful for it.  She seems to have been a detail-oriented person who was very outgoing and was not afraid to take charge of something and get it done.  Mary also had the ability to get other people on board with a project and get things finished.  She above anyone else would not have been the least bit intimidated by the negative disbelief of the men and her persistence paid off by moving John and Peter to go to the tomb.  I doubt she was alone when Jesus called her by name but it is possible and would be consistent with her character; she was going to find the body of Jesus and properly bury Him.

Jesus rewarded the faithfulness of women and settled for all times their importance in the Church by first showing Himself to them that Resurrection Morning.  He used them to challenge the men to believe and to get moving to Galilee as He had told them.

Reflections On The Resurrection #2

In the Resurrection what kind of body will we have? (1 Corinthians 15:35 NIV)

I have read this passage numerous times and never thought about it much until I read Chapter 16 in the C.S. Lewis’ book Miracles.  The Apostle Paul presents a clear argument that the body we now have will be changed when the trumpet sounds  (15: 51).  Lewis adds to Paul’s discourse by talking about Jesus after He came out of the tomb on Easter morning.  Mary and the other women did not recognize Jesus and thought He was a gardener until He called her by name.  The two disciples on the road to Emmaus walked with Him several hours and had their “hearts burning” as He spoke but did not recognize Him until Jesus blessed and broke bread.  The disciples at the Feast of Unleavened Bread meal thought He was a ghost even though He showed them scars and ate something.  Finally, Peter did not recognize Him when He was telling them about the fish until John told him “It is the Lord!” (John 21: 7)  A connection between all of these is that He had a changed physical body but retained His mannerisms: how He said, “Mary”, how He blessed a meal, and physical scars that were completely healed.  The accounts repeatedly tell of Him having a physical body or doing something that required a physical body.  The women held on to His feet, He could break bread, and He ate fish.

The_Resurrection016The earthly body that was sown as “seed” so He could become the “Firstfruit” on Easter was changed; it had a new “splendor.”  He had a “spiritual body” that was an improved version of His old one.  This sort of change is foretold in Daniel 12: 2+3 where Daniel talks about those who will “sleep in the dust” but “will shine like the brightness of the heavens.”

It also seems that He received new abilities with the new body.  He broke the bread in Emmaus and then disappeared (Luke 24: 31) and He “stood among them” twice in a locked room in John 20.  In Philippians 3: 10 – 11 Paul talks about the “power” that comes with the Resurrection.

Jesus physically returning as the Firstfruit and showing Himself to the disciples as foreshadowed in the Feast of Unleavened Bread and the Feast of Weeks let them know that there was a new power waiting for them.  After all, in John 11 Lazarus was raised from the dead as one of the Seven Miracles that were presented to prove Jesus’ divinity but his body was just brought back to life, no change was mentioned.

The Resurrection/new body is tied in with the tree of life from the Garden of Eden the references for this tree are Genesis 3: 22, Proverbs 11: 30, and Revelations 22: 2.  Adam and Eve missed the chance to have this change here on earth because they ate the wrong fruit but Jesus after missing several meals on Friday had a powerful snack before taking away the keys to Death and Hell from Satan and then showing Himself to everyone during the Resurrection.