Jesus Is Alive!

The women, Mary Magdalene, Mary Jesus’ mother, Joanna, & a group of their friends went to Christ’s tomb to wrap His body in spices & precious ointments. As a preparation for final burial. Because they didn’t want the stench of a decomposing body drifting beyond the rock that sealed the tomb, & perhaps, horror of horrors, attracting scavenging animals. They’d wanted to do the preparation of the body right after the crucifixion, but they ran out of time due to the oncoming, God-mandated Sabbath time of rest that seemed to serve as a lurking 24-hour period of anything BUT as they waited, patiently & obediently before gathering themselves at the crack of dawn on Sunday.

Something wasn’t right. There was the tomb, & there was the rock that was supposed to be covering its entrance. Only it wasn’t. It has been neatly, yet forcibly removed from its location so that now it was more of a decoration than an impenetrable blockage. What could this mean? They didn’t have to wait long for an answer.

Two men in the whitest, most dazzling clothes ever appeared to them, declaring, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? Jesus is not dead. He is ALIVE!” The women ran back in to Jerusalem & shared what they had seen & heard, & over the next days/weeks, Jesus appeared, in the flesh, to more than 500 of His followers, challenging His disciples to take the good news message of repentance & forgiveness of sins in the Name of Jesus to all the people of the the world. And the world has never been the same.

Spending some time in the Scriptures on Good Friday…

Passover
Matthew 26:17-35
17 Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Where will you have us prepare for you to eat the Passover?” 18 He said, “Go into the city to a certain man and say to him, ‘The Teacher says, My time is at hand. I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples.’” 19 And the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared the Passover. 20 When it was evening, he reclined at table with the twelve. 21 And as they were eating, he said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” 22 And they were very sorrowful and began to say to him one after another, “Is it I, Lord?” 23 He answered, “He who has dipped his hand in the dish with me will betray me. 24 The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.” 25 Judas, who would betray him, answered, “Is it I, Rabbi?” He said to him, “You have said so.” 26 Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” 27 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, 28 for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” 30 And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. 31 Then Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away because of me this night. For it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ 32 But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.” 33 Peter answered him, “Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away.” 34 Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” 35 Peter said to him, “Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you!” And all the disciples said the same.


Garden, prayer, arrest, betrayal
Luke 22:39-53; John 18:3-5
39 And he came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him. 40 And when he came to the place, he said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” 41 And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, 42 saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” 43 And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. 44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. 45 And when he rose from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping for sorrow, 46 and he said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation.”47 While he was still speaking, there came a crowd, and the man called Judas, one of the twelve, was leading them. 3 So Judas, having procured a band of soldiers and some officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, went there with lanterns and torches and weapons. 4 Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to him, came forward and said to them, “Whom do you seek?” 5 They answered him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I am he.” Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them.
He drew near to Jesus to kiss him, 48 but Jesus said to him, “Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?” 49 And when those who were around him saw what would follow, they said, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?” 50 And one of them struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his right ear. 51 But Jesus said, “No more of this!” And he touched his ear and healed him. 52 Then Jesus said to the chief priests and officers of the temple and elders, who had come out against him, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs? 53 When I was with you day after day in the temple, you did not lay hands on me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness.” And they all left him and fled.


Denial
Luke 22:54-62; John 18:15-17
54 Then they seized him and led him away, bringing him into the high priest’s house… Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he entered with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest, 16 but Peter stood outside at the door. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the servant girl who kept watch at the door, and brought Peter in. 17 The servant girl at the door said to Peter, “You also are not one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.”. 55 And when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat down among them.
58 And a little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” But Peter said, “Man, I am not.” 59 And after an interval of about an hour still another insisted, saying, “Certainly this man also was with him, for he too is a Galilean.” 60 But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. 61 And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.” 62 And he went out and wept bitterly.


Sanhedrin
Matthew 26:57-68
7 Then those who had seized Jesus led him to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders had gathered… 59 Now the chief priests and the whole council were seeking false testimony against Jesus that they might put him to death, 60 but they found none, though many false witnesses came forward. At last two came forward 61 and said, “This man said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to rebuild it in three days.’” 62 And the high priest stood up and said, “Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you?” 63 But Jesus remained silent. And the high priest said to him, “I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.” 64 Jesus said to him, “You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.” 65 Then the high priest tore his robes and said, “He has uttered blasphemy. What further witnesses do we need? You have now heard his blasphemy. 66 What is your judgment?” They answered, “He deserves death.” 67 Then they spit in his face and struck him. And some slapped him, 68 saying, “Prophesy to us, you Christ! Who is it that struck you?”


Pilate
John 18:28-38
28 Then they led Jesus from the house of Caiaphas to the governor’s headquarters. It was early morning. They themselves did not enter the governor’s headquarters, so that they would not be defiled, but could eat the Passover. 29 So Pilate went outside to them and said, “What accusation do you bring against this man?” 30 They answered him, “If this man were not doing evil, we would not have delivered him over to you.” 31 Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.” The Jews said to him, “It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death.” 32 This was to fulfill the word that Jesus had spoken to show by what kind of death he was going to die. 33 So Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” 34 Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?” 35 Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you over to me. What have you done?” 36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” 37 Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” 38 Pilate said to him, “What is truth?” After he had said this, he went back outside to the Jews and told them, “I find no guilt in him.


Herod
Luke 23:6-16
6 When Pilate heard this, he asked whether the man was a Galilean. 7 And when he learned that he belonged to Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him over to Herod, who was himself in Jerusalem at that time. 8 When Herod saw Jesus, he was very glad, for he had long desired to see him, because he had heard about him, and he was hoping to see some sign done by him. 9 So he questioned him at some length, but he made no answer. 10 The chief priests and the scribes stood by, vehemently accusing him. 11 And Herod with his soldiers treated him with contempt and mocked him. Then, arraying him in splendid clothing, he sent him back to Pilate. 12 And Herod and Pilate became friends with each other that very day, for before this they had been at enmity with each other. 13 Pilate then called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people, 14 and said to them, “You brought me this man as one who was misleading the people. And after examining him before you, behold, I did not find this man guilty of any of your charges against him. 15 Neither did Herod, for he sent him back to us. Look, nothing deserving death has been done by him. 16 I will therefore punish and release him.”



Beaten & Scourged

Mark 15:6-20
6 Now at the feast he used to release for them one prisoner for whom they asked. 7 And among the rebels in prison, who had committed murder in the insurrection, there was a man called Barabbas. 8 And the crowd came up and began to ask Pilate to do as he usually did for them. 9 And he answered them, saying, “Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?” 10 For he perceived that it was out of envy that the chief priests had delivered him up. 11 But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release for them Barabbas instead. 12 And Pilate again said to them, “Then what shall I do with the man you call the King of the Jews?” 13 And they cried out again, “Crucify him.” 14 And Pilate said to them, “Why, what evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Crucify him.” 15 So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released for them Barabbas, and having scourged[a] Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified. 16 And the soldiers led him away inside the palace (that is, the governor’s headquarters),[b] and they called together the whole battalion.[c] 17 And they clothed him in a purple cloak, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on him. 18 And they began to salute him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 19 And they were striking his head with a reed and spitting on him and kneeling down in homage to him. 20 And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him. And they led him out to crucify him.


Crucifixion
Luke 23:32-43
32 Two others, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. 33 And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. 34 And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”[a] And they cast lots to divide his garments. 35 And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!” 36 The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine 37 and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” 38 There was also an inscription over him,[b] “This is the King of the Jews.”39 One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him,[c] saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” 40 But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43 And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”


Death
Matthew 27:45-56; John 19:23-37
45 Now from the sixth hour[a] there was darkness over all the land[b] until the ninth hour.[c] 46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 47 And some of the bystanders, hearing it, said, “This man is calling Elijah.” 48 And one of them at once ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine, and put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink. 49 But the others said, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.” When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his garments and divided them into four parts, one part for each soldier; also his tunic.[d] But the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom, 24 so they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.” This was to fulfill the Scripture which says, “They divided my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.”
So the soldiers did these things, 25 but standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” 27 Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.
28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” 29 A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. 30 When Jesus had received the sour wine, 50 He cried out with a loud voice, saying, “It is finished…”


Burial
Matthew 27:57-66; John 19:23-42
1 And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. 52 The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, 53 and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. 54 When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!” 55 There were also many women there, looking on from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to him, 56 among whom were Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Joseph and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.
.31 Since it was the day of Preparation, and so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken and that they might be taken away. 32 So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him. 33 But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34 But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water. 35 He who saw it has borne witness—his testimony is true, and he knows that he is telling the truth—that you also may believe. 36 For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken.” 37 And again another Scripture says, “They will look on him whom they have pierced.”
57 When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who also was a disciple of Jesus. 58 He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. 59 And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen shroud 60 and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had cut in the rock. And he rolled a great stone to the entrance of the tomb and went away. 61 Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb. 62 The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate 63 and said, “Sir, we remember how that impostor said, while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise.’ 64 Therefore order the tomb to be made secure until the third day, lest his disciples go and steal him away and tell the people, ‘He has risen from the dead,’ and the last fraud will be worse than the first.” 65 Pilate said to them, “You have a guard[a] of soldiers. Go, make it as secure as you can.” 66 So they went and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone and setting a guard.

*All Scriptures compiled from the English Standard Version of the Holy Bible

thoughts on TiVo, signs & wonders, love, & other musings…

I’ve been waiting for 3 years, & now DirecTV has figured out a way to make their DVR technology compatible with the wiring in my house. In the interim, I had TiVo – & wasn’t incredibly overjoyed at having to subscribe to a dish service, & a separate service so I could record the shows I wanted to watch at my convenience.

So, today, a joyous occasion. After 4 false starts & missteps, the DVR is being installed as I type this. Which means that I needed to call & cancel the TiVo service. Which is a lot easier than it sounds. Should be simple, right? Call in (because you can’t cancel on line, don’t you know? For my protection. Right. I think that it just might be that they make you call in so they can hit you with the Full-Scale Guerrilla Blitzkrieg (FSGB,) which employs intimidation, cajoling, ridicule, name calling, & other fun Techniques of Manipulation to try & keep you as a customer.

I’d prefer not to recount the entire 20 minute interchange with Andrew, which I endured in order to obtain the elusive Confirmation of Cancellation code, hanging like the proverbial carrot at the end of a stick. And yes, it really was that bad. Bad enough that I’d like to call in to talk to a supervisor to discuss my experience. Bad enough that at one point I asked Andrew, (in my best Steven Seagal ‘I’m totally under control but I’m so incredibly fearsome you really don’t want to continue in this vein because of my knowledge of Kah-razy’ voice):

“Is it your job to attempt to antagonize me to the point that I just hang up the phone before getting the elusive Confirmation of Cancellation code, thereby maintaining my TiVo subscription? Do you realize that I had my mind made up to cancel this service when I called in this morning, & all of your Techniques of Manipulation, attempted twisting of my words, & unwillingness to Cut to the part where we CANCEL the service have only served to harden me to the idea of EVER using, let alone recommending the TiVO service to ANYONE?”

To which Andrew replied, “I just can’t see why you won’t keep this great service at the great price with the great deal I’m offering you.”

Oh goodness. Breathe. And I realize I’m upset. Frustrated. On-the-verge of snap-age. Over TiVo. But its not about the TiVo. Its more about the discomfort of conflict. The feelings of being manipulated & not having my “No!” heeded. Anger at the part of me that wants to give in, to make Mr. Andrew happy, pay more money for a service I no longer need. Just to make the conversation stop.

Asking God to examine my heart.


And in other news, I’ve been reading a book by Philip Yancey called
Disappointment with God. Only about 1/4 of the way into it & already I’m hooked. What has stood out to me the most so far is Yancey’s observation about the correlation (or lack thereof) between displays of God’s power (the ‘mighty hand & outstretched arm’) & the devotion, love, faithfulness, & obedience of His people, Israel.

You’d think that the result of God’s miraculous provision, protection, deliverance, & presence would have been the undying, unwavering love & devotion of the people that He provided for, protected, delivered, & dwelled with. Surprisingly, what actually happened was that Israel complained & grumbled. Chased idols. Mistrusted. Wished for a return to the good old days of slavery in Egypt. Rebelled against their God-appointed leader. And God.

Makes me think about Jesus in the Gospels, & how He would heal, & then tell those that had been healed not to say anything about it. For the longest time, I never really understood why He would do that. In my mind, it seemed that these signs, wonders, & miracles would serve to point to Christ as the Messiah, the Anointed One, the Promised Saviour… & that people would have had even more reason to believe in Him because there was evidence of His power & might backing up His words.

But when I read through the gospels, there were many, many miracles that Jesus did. Turned water into wine. Raised the dead. Fed 5000 people with 2 fish & 5 loaves of bread. Healed every kind of disease. Was transfigured & transformed, revealed in all His glory. Was crucified & buried, then was resurrected from the dead. Was taken into heaven in the full view of hundreds of people.

And the result? Lots of crowds, not many disciples. Lots of people, the multitudes, the religious leaders , & even a king, continually asked Him to perform more signs.


Maybe what we’re looking for, what we think we need from God, isn’t really what we actually need in order to be faithful. To love God. To obey. To persevere. And the signs we hope for (pray for? wish for?) wouldn’t really be the ‘thing’ to put us over the edge, the short-cut to being able to live it.

Sigh. Gonna ponder & meditate on it.


And for the 1st time in more than a month, my whole family is home, together, at the same time. Pizza Plus for all! Booyah.

Life is beautiful.