Jesus Returned

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I know it sounds simple but unless Jesus had returned and showed Himself to people, Palm Sunday through Good Friday would have made no sense at all.  According to Matthew Jesus had been preparing the disciples for His returning after His death by telling them to meet at a certain mountain in Galilee.  Jesus however knew His disciples and without a little pushing they would not go to that mountain.  They seem to hunker down in the upper room and probably would have stayed there confused instead of going back to Galilee.  Mary’s encounter in the garden with the added instructions, “Go back to Galilee” was a faith and obedience builder.  When they did not leave he met the disciples on the road to Emmaus and finally had to show Himself.  I think He wanted them to leave Jerusalem and go to friendly territory to make them move.  According to Matthew even with all of the visits there were still doubters when they did go to Galilee.

Easter saw several groups “returning” from various places.  Mary Magdalene and the group of women seem to have gone to the tomb several times before she/they saw Jesus.  The disciples even though it was dark returned from Emmaus to tell the Eleven (Ten – no Thomas) that they had seen Jesus.

Jesus’ concern for the disciples had Him return to them even before returning to the Father.  John 20:17 is the phrase, “ I am returning to my Father and my God.”  I have heard several explanations as to why this had to happen but I think our sin that Jesus took on Himself and separated Him from the Father and that had to be corrected.

I guess I wish someone would have chronicled all of the next forty days but some things are just not for us to know.  The bits and pieces we have make them sound amazing and that the Disciples did move around quite a bit from Jerusalem to Galilee and back again.

Matthew 28:1-15, Mark 16: 1-14, Luke 24:1-49, John 20:1-23

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The Jesus Psalm

I refer to Psalm 22 as the Jesus Psalm just because so much of it refers to the Easter story. I know there are other New Testament verses that will fit with Psalm 22 but this is a good start. I will encourage you to do one of these; there are several places in the New Testament that I will be doing during Holy Week and beyond.

Psalm 22

New Testament Verse

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish?
My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, but I find no rest. .Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the one Israel praises.
In you our ancestors put their trust; they trusted and you delivered them.
To you they cried out and were saved; in you they trusted and were not put to shame.But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by everyone, despised by the people.All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads.

 

“He trusts in the Lord,” they say, “let the Lord rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him.”

Yet you brought me out of the womb; you made me trust in you, even at my mother’s breast.
10 From birth I was cast on you; from my mother’s womb you have been my God.

11 Do not be far from me, for trouble is near
and there is no one to help.

 12 Many bulls surround me; strong bulls of Bashan encircle me.

13 Roaring lions that tear their prey open their mouths wide against me.

14 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint.
My heart has turned to wax; it has melted within me.

15 My mouth is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; you lay me in the dust of death.

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 16 Dogs surround me, a pack of villains encircles me; they pierce my hands and my feet.

17 All my bones are on display; people stare and gloat over me.

18 They divide my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment.

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 19 But you, Lord, do not be far from me. You are my strength; come quickly to help me.

20 Deliver me from the sword, my precious life from the power of the dogs.
21 Rescue me from the mouth of the lions; save me from the horns of the wild oxen.

 22 I will declare your name to my people; in the assembly I will praise you.

23 You who fear the Lord, praise him! All you descendants of Jacob, honor him! Revere him, all you descendants of Israel!
24 For he has not despised or scorned the suffering of the afflicted one;
he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help.

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25 From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly; before those who fear you I will fulfill my vows.

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 26 The poor will eat and be satisfied; those who seek the Lord will praise him— may your hearts live forever!

27 All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him,

28 for dominion belongs to the Lord and he rules over the nations.

29 All the rich of the earth will feast and worship;
all who go down to the dust will kneel before him— those who cannot keep themselves alive.
30 Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord.
31 They will proclaim his righteousness, declaring to a people yet unborn: He has done it!

Matthew 27: 46 About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lemasabachthani?” (Which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”)..John 8: 54 Jesus replied, “If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me. 55 Though you do not know him, I know him. If I said I did not, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and obey his word. 56 Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.”.

Matthew 27: 39 Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads 40 and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!”

Matthew 27: 41 In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. 42 “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. 43 He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’”

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Luke 22: 63 The men who were guarding Jesus began mocking and beating him.

Luke 14: 64 “You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?” They all condemned him as worthy of death. 65 Then some began to spit at him; they blindfolded him, struck him with their fists, and said, “Prophesy!” And the guards took him and beat him.

John 19: 28 Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.”

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John 20: 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

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Luke 23: 34 And they divided up his clothes by casting lots. (John 19:23)

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Luke 22: 42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”

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.Luke 4: 43 But he said, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.” 44 And he kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea.

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Matthew 21: The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!”

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Mark 8: The people ate and were satisfied. Afterward the disciples picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.

 

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Judas

Several years ago I was part of an Easter play; I got to play Judas.  Not much of a start to an acting career but I played the bad guy as best as I could.  In the final scene I was already off stage and standing behind the tomb with Jesus getting ready for the Resurrection.  My view was Jesus leaving a dark tomb going into a bright stage; that is when this short piece got birthed.  I had to image Judas dead as Jesus came to get the keys to hell. (This is part of a play I have been writing.)

Judas- five minutes after

(kneeling, as the lights slowly come up)

The heat, why is it so dark?

Where am I?

There is light, coming toward me, man it is hot, that light is a man?

He is coming straight toward me.  Its Jesus, he is coming, Jesus, here I am.

(turning as if following motion) He is going straight to that door. Why didn’t he stop, why is it so hot?

(standing up, proudly)

I am Judas Iscariot; the most important of Jesus’ twelve disciples.  Jesus had me keep the moneybox.

(lower voice)

There was never was enough in it to keep me satisfied.

(sniffing) 

That smell. That’s the perfume Mary poured on Jesus.

(growling) She would be remembered but still I am the most important, it was worth a year’s wage.  Instead of selling it and giving me the money,

(lower voice) I had to go talk to the High Priest.  Oh, that smell, it needs to go away.

The heat, that smell, where did Jesus go?  What is crawling in my leg?

(just grabbing leg)  It feels like a worm, crawling inside my leg. (now hitting his leg)

That money, I could have, I mean we could have used it for the poor.

(lower voice) The priest gave me more than a year’s wage,

(crying) why didn’t they take it back.   He was innocent.

They should have listened to me; I am one of the Twelve; I have authority!

(turning quickly) Who is laughing at me?  What do you mean no authority here, why I cast you demons out.  Stop laughing, why is it so hot!

You should have seen me leading the army to get Jesus, I was the man; everyone listened to me.

( perplexed voice) His eyes, He knew, He was never angry.  Love in His eyes.

That parade into Jerusalem should have been for me, I am important you know, one of the Twelve.  Stop laughing; the heat.

The kiss, everyone was watching, watching me.

(grabbing stomach) That worm is crawling, when will this thing die.  What do you mean never? (looking around)

I saw the miracles; I heard His words.

(lower, talking to self) I was the one; the old prophets had talked about me.  Jesus knew all the time; He never said a word, just love.

I had the bread and wine of Passover. I am ok; nothing wrong with me,

(looking around) you sound like children singing songs.  Mothers were always bringing them, we were busy, we had no time for them.  He should have never told me to leave them alone.

I was the one who started the fight at dinner. That was pure genius; they stopped wondering who was going to betray Jesus.  It was so easy they were so caught up in that kingdom stuff.   I had the moneybox, and I would have been the leader.  Stop laughing.

(looking around, holding his head)

I should have been sitting on that donkey, not leading it. That fragrance; I smelled it for whole ride into Jerusalem. He knew, even then.

“Not me”, I said.  Made it sound just like everyone else asking that question. That piece of bread he gave me, never did finish it.  The voice telling me to leave, yelling at me that it was time to go.  How did Jesus know?  I was so careful, no one saw me go to the High Priest.

Water, that is what I need, water.  Just like He washed my feet with.  He knew, those eyes, He never told.  Just a tear.  They all thought I was going to help the poor.  I could do as I pleased; I had the money.  More than most of them had ever seen, thirty pieces of silver.

His touch as He washed my feet, He could have stopped me.  All He ever did was love me.   He trusted me with the money.  I threw it at them; they should have let Him go. He never did anything wrong.

(screams) Stop laughing.  When will it get cool, cool like the water on my feet.(slumps to ground)

(looking up) The door is opening, Jesus.   Oh that smell: what is rattling?  Sounds like keys, we’re going now, right!  Jesus, Jesus where are you going? (sobbing)

(standing up proudly) I am Judas Iscariot.

 (lights go out)The most important of the twelve disciples.