27.5 John – Resurrection

There were many, many events in the old testament that foretold and foreshadowed the events that we have read about this week: the suffering, death and burial of our Lord and Savior.  But, as Jesus was with His disciples the day before, breaking bread and drinking wine, he gave the “go forward” reminders as well.  He told them, whenever you eat or drink, do it in remembrance of me.  Don’t just remember me, but do it in my honor, in my memory.

Our lesson today mentioned on ritual many families observe of burying the dead.  We place the bodies of departed family members into the grave, not for some mystic ritual, but because it reminds us that our savior also went into the grave, and, like Him, we fully expect all of His followers to rise again.

But this remembrance of the death and resurrection of Jesus is not and should not be limited to a time of death.  When a baptism occurs, the new believer goes into the water and comes out a new person, a person who has begun eternal life.

We can do this in some many other ways that does not have to be limited to activities in a church:  sleeping and waking, bathing, going in to and emerging from a house, going in to an emerging from a building, the darkness of night replaced by the brightness of day, the cold of winter replaced by the new birth of spring.

What if you looked at each new day with the attitude that when you wake from sleep, you are awakening in the honor of our Lord’s death and resurrection.  What if your first thoughts of the day were not on your to-do list or even on how creaky your bones felt, but on remembrance and thanks to Jesus for rising in a way that, without Him, we could not?

My Answers:

He was not left to decay, but partially prepared for burial and placed in a sealed tomb
He was given a grave of a rich man who belonged to the council that demanded his murder
It was a new grave, unused, with no other bodies in it

Because the body decays and is no longer of use to us after life.  In the same way, in baptism, our old selves are buried with Jesus but we are resurrected into a new life


27.4 John – In Secret

The serpent in the garden was described as being crafty.  When we sin, we often think we, too, are very crafty in our secrets and lies.  We think our sin is secret and doesn’t impact anyone else.  We think our sin is secret and not evident to others.  We think our sin is secret and doesn’t affect our relationships, especially our relationship with God.  But secrets are never truly secret – it is all just a crafty deception by the father of all lies that leads us to believe that we are crafty deceivers too.

I thought of this as I thought about Joseph of Arimathea working secretly.  Let’s see how that went.  Pilate knew, since he had to ask.  The soldiers knew, since they would have had to lower Jesus from the cross.  The servants of J of A knew, because they would have been tasked with helping move the body.  Nicodemus, a Pharisee and a member of the Jewish ruling council knew, since he came to help.  His servants knew, since he probably didn’t lug 75 pounds of spices by himself.  The apostles knew because some of the women followed and observed where he was being buried.  The Jewish rulers of the law knew because they requested Pilate post Roman guards at the entrance to the tomb, obviously also knowing which tomb.  The Romans also knew which tomb to stand guard.  God knew.

At this point, I’m not quite sure who wasn’t in on this secret!

Just a point to keep in mind when you look at the “secret things” in your own life.

My Answers:

Joe, member of the council, good and upright (see description of Job: blameless and upright), from Arimathea, Judean town, waiting for the kingdom of God, had a grave.  Nick, Pharisee, member of Jewish ruling council, came to Jesus at night, asked q’s about being born again, J3:16 spoken to him.  Tried to get Jesus a more fair trial, but shouted down.  Neither man confessed following Jesus because of fear – “they loved human praise more than praise from God.”

They lost the ability to interact with Jesus.  They could not sit at his feet and learn, instead they had to hide in the shadows.  They were not a witness to others but sided with those who murdered Jesus.  They gained guilt by association.  They gained membership into the leadership council, but without any true voice in the council.  They gained status and praise of men.

They risked being chastised and shunned by the religious leaders.  They risked being outed to them by others.  They risked being identified with Jesus followers.  They gained a place in history for their kindness (after the fact).  They gained the ability to repent of their part in Jesus’ murder and make minor restitution.  We don’t know their future

fear of censure or ridicule by others.  Fear of being labeled with a lie.  Fear of mis-acting or mis-speaking. Prayerfully and boldly.

27.3 John – Dead or Alive

It makes sense to us, but it is a fact worth stating: to raise from the dead you must first truly be dead.  Our lesson this week does a nice job of looking at the evidence of this fact.

First is the fact that someone died on the cross.  For the Roman soldiers, this execution was not their first rodeo.  They knew a lot about crucifixion, execution and death.  The new the signs of life and of death having experienced it over and over again.  They not only pronounced him dead by observation, but initiated a more thorough bodily exam by piercing his side with a spear while he still hung on the cross.  The direction of the spear into someone suspended above the soldier would have pierced into his diaphragm, lungs and possibly even to his heart.  If he was still alive, air would have gasped through the wound from the lungs, blood would have pulsed out through the cut arteries, the man would have cried out, moaned, or at least reflexed from the incision.

Second, the body was taken down from the cross and buried.  But, before he was placed in a tomb alone for three days he was wrapped and packed in spices by two individuals who had permission from Pilate and who cared about the murdered man.  If he was still alive, they would have seen evidence and would not have placed him enshrouded in a sealed tomb by himself.  They would have whisked the body away to provide medical treatment, not left it in a tomb.

Third, now that it is established that someone died and was buried, could it have been someone other than Jesus.  Now this gets into a great conspiracy theory.  But when and how could the switch have been made.  When he was arrested Judas clearly knew who Jesus was and gave no indication by his subsequent suicide that he pointed to a counterfeit.  Peter’s response to the arrest is not in keeping with them masquerading someone else as Jesus, nor do the actions of the Apostles following the arrest.  Jesus, once in custody, does not leave the hands of the soldiers, so there is a consistent chain of custody.  Even in Pilate’s quarters, he is still surrounded by the guards who torture and mock him.  When he is on the cross he speaks to His mother and John who recognize Him and His voice.  Other women are present.  The Jewish Leaders, who have observed Jesus repeatedly and who watched Him ride in triumphantly less than a week before, recognize Him and believe He is Jesus of Nazareth.  Furthermore, even after He has died, all believe He is the one in the tomb, the Romans who post guards, the Jews who request the guards, the women who go the day after Passover to finalize preparations of His body, the Apostles who run to the empty tomb.

The fact that Jesus lived is cross referenced in many different writings, biblical and other historic documents and all attest to His life and death without dispute.

I think the evidence would support the fact that Jesus died on the cross.  We’ll discuss the evidence of what happens next another day.

My Answers:

1. Roman soldiers knew about death on a cross.  2. His side was pierced and blood and water flowed out.  Depending on how deeply they pierced it may have pierced his lungs or heart as well.

To rise from the dead he had to be dead

No broken bones, not left until morning, pierced for our transgressions

Pierced for our transgressions, crushed for iniquities, our punishment was on him.  The Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all (scapegoat but He is the High Priest) – They will look on the one they have pierced and mourn, a fountain will be opened to the house of David to cleanse them from sin and impurity


27.2 John – Perfect Planning

In today’s lesson we see the stark contrast between man’s planning and God’s planning.  First, let’s look at the day from God’s planning, and then compare it to man’s.

At the moment of creation (and before if time existed), God knew that His creation would fall to sin and that a savior would be required, a savior who would need to be both fully God and fully part of the creation, man.  When He placed Adam and Eve in the garden He allowed free will, meaning they had to choose to obey or not, meaning there had to be a path available to disobedience.  He knew the serpent would tempt them.  When it happened He told them of His plan to send a son of Eve to crush the serpent’s head.  The books of the bible that we call the Old Testament, from this point forward, all point to that savior, the Messiah, the promised one, the King from the house of David, the scape goat, the pascal lamb, the sacrifice of blood in the garden to provide a covering of sin and as prescribed in the law through Moses.  Foretold over and over again through the prophets.  He knew Rome would overtake the Jews, introducing the torture and death of the cross.  He planned for His son to be born 33 years before.  He planned His ministry to begin three years prior.  He said over and again through Jesus the hour had not yet come, until, He announced in John 12 that the hour had now come.  He died on the cross at the exact moment on the exact day at the exact place that had been foretold and reminded year after year, the moment the Passover Lamb was killed outside of the gates of the city of Jerusalem.

On the other hand, after rushing out to capture Jesus the night before the Jews who captured Jesus and demanded His execution realized the process of crucifixion normally took 3 days and it was getting into the afternoon of the preparation day of the Passover and they needed to “speed things up”.

The next time we grow impatient with “God’s timing”, I think we need to keep in mind the depth of His plans versus the shallowness and naiveté of our own.

My Answers:

To speed up their death (couldn’t prop themselves up to breath so they would die quicker).  The Sabbath was near (started at sundown) and they did not want to be in defiance of the law about leaving a body hanging on a pole overnight nor did they want to come into contact with a dead man.  Either would make them unclean.

It was all for show.  Outward appearances, not inward transformation.  They were receiving all of their rewards and bringing others to harm through false teaching.

His willingness to die.  If Christ did not die he could not have risen again.  If Christ had not died, the price for my sins would be left unpaid.  If Christ had not died He would not have been obedient to His Father