Updated: Apr 15
This Easter has caused many to reflect on not only death but what happens after it. The COVID-19 virus has struck the core of an issue that most turn either shyly or violently away from: the appointment of death and where people will end up after this appointment has been booked. There is hope for life after death through Christ, the risen king, who conquered death. For believers, death has lost its sting. For the nonbelievers, there is an eery gloom that surrounds this day with a more forthright example being carried out with the Coronavirus. The hour of death is always uncertain, coming like a thief. God states that life is a vapor. This post will focus on the theme of "You are the risen king," the importance of Easter through Christ's death and resurrection.
The tradition of the Christian faith holds that Christ was crucified on a Friday and rose again three days later, on Sunday. But why has this tradition remained a part of the Christian faith?
A helpful part to understanding the significance of Good Friday is an establishment of a timeline. the Bible provides this key evidence in the Gospels. All the Gospel accounts reveal that Christ's crucification occurred on a late Friday afternoon, with women witnesses (Matthew 27:57-61, Mark 15:42-47, Luke 23:50-56, John 19:38-42). Jewish regulations concerning the handling of an executed criminal would have also placed Jesus' crucifixion on a Friday just before the "evening star appeared" (Lexham Bible Dictionary, 2016).
Jesus was brought to Pilate after facing the San Hedrin on Friday morning of what was ordained the Passion Week. The Jewish leaders had charged Jesus with opposing taxes and claiming to be a king (Matthew 27:1, Mark 15:1-5, Luke 23:1-5, and John 18:28-38). Pilate, after questioning Jesus, found no guilt and sent him to Herod Antipas who was ruler of Galilee (Luke 23:6-12). Antipas and his soldiers ridiculed Jesus, but He was sent back to Pilate. "Since Jesus was accused of not being a friend of Caesar, Pilate submitted to the requests of the Jewish leaders (Matthew 27:15-26, Mark 15:6-15, Luke 23:13-25, and John 18:9-19:15)" (Lexham Bible Dictionary, 2016).
Upon original reading, the political situation surrounding Pilate's decision often goes overlooked but is crucial for understanding since it reconciles the accounts of the Gospels and is confirmed by historians Philo and Josephus. Pilate's decision to send Jesus to Antipas could have been with the motive of amends since the account in Luke 13:1 occurred in Gaililee. If the date of the crucification was in AD 33, this places the political situation during Pilate's reign on very uneasy terms. Sejanus' execution had just occurred and Pilate was struggling to keep his office. When Jesus was handed over to Antipas, Antipas could no longer report Pilate to Emperor Tiberius since Antipas had done this in the past during the shield incident (Lexham Bible Dictionary, 2016). The shield incident occurred after AD 31. Emperor Tiberius did not want to provoke the Jews and wanted to "avoid aggravation of Jewish sensibilities" (Lexham Bible Dictionary, 2016).
After Jesus's trial, beating and gorging, He was forced to walk to Golgotha with His cross where He would be later crucified. Golgotha was also the routine place of executions and was outside of Jerusalem. The way of suffering (or The Via Dolorosa) to Calvary was about 650 yards.
The video below gives an account of both the place that is believed to be Jesus' resting place (The Holy Sepulchre) and one that holds Biblical significance (the Garden Tomb).
More on Golgotha can be found in the Lexham Bible Dictionary under "Golgotha."
Luke's account in Luke 23:49 mentions that women came with Jesus from Galilee and saw the tomb and how the body was laid on Friday. On Sunday, they would return to find the tomb had been opened and were met with an angel telling them that Jesus had risen. The women witnesses were Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of Jesus, and women who were not mentioned (Luke 23:55, 24:1,10). Jesus appeared to His disciples after telling the women to spread the word He is alive and stayed with them for a short time before ascending into Heaven.
For more on the history of Luke, see Cold-Case Christianity's article "Why I Know the Gospels Were Written Early."
Why Christians Have Hope
The Christian faith hinges upon the resurrection. Without it, there would be no reason to believe and God would not be worth worshipping. Thankfully, we have a sustainable hope that our God is very much alive and worthy of worship.
For more articles please see the following publications:
Contrast of Fruit
Jars of Clay
The Danger of Counterfeits
The Myth Complex Part 1 and Part 2
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Lending a Hand
The numbers of the victims of human trafficking and the stories behind the numbers are why Blissful Faith is partnering with nonprofit organizations to help fund rescues and recovery programs for those entrapped in bondage. Each number is a person. You can be the one to help make a difference by purchasing a shirt (coming soon to the blog in a few weeks) or by ordering a downloadable product currently in the store, in which proceeds will go to nonprofits that seek to give a voice to the voiceless. See more on human trafficking from my previous articles below:
The Price of Freedom
Blissful Faith started as a lifestyle and branched into a blog to help others hear about Jesus Christ and how they too can develop a blissful faith through knowing God. This blog’s purpose is to be an evangelical outreach to further the kingdom of Christ. Furthering the kingdom means stretching outside of the comfort zone, comprehending and working towards meeting the needs of others. Putting faith to action keeps it from becoming stagnant.
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The Blissful Faith Merchandise store helps both this blog to grow and to meet the needs of others. About 8-10% of the proceeds will go to The Exodus Road and Agape International Missions to help combat human trafficking. The funds will help assist in rescue operations, providing shelter, and recovery programs to those in bondage.