GREAT MORNING BELOVED!!
“The Last Week – What the Gospels Really Teach About Jesus’s Final Days in Jerusalem” by Marcus Borg & John Dominic Crossan. This week, Friday
Good Friday is the most difficult day of Passion Week. Borg and Crossan state, “The day of Jesus’s crucifixion is the most solemn day of the Christian year. In Greek Christianity, it is called ‘the Holy and Great Friday,’ in Romance languages, ‘Holy Friday,’ and in German, ‘Sorrowful Friday.’
In the English-speaking world, it is ‘Good Friday.’ Good may have been derived from ‘God’s” Friday.
Either way, Jesus’ journey turned treacherous and acutely painful in these final hours leading to his death.
According to some Scripture, Judas Iscariot, the disciple who had betrayed Jesus, was overcome with remorse and hanged himself early Friday morning. Others have him receiving a horrible death. Either way, to some people, Judas did what he was to do…kind of setting Jesus up to fulfill his destiny.
Meanwhile, before the third hour (9 a.m.), Jesus had endured the shame of false accusations, condemnation, mockery, beatings, and abandonment. After multiple unlawful trials, he was sentenced to death by crucifixion, one of the most horrible and disgraceful methods of capital punishment known at the time.
Crucifixion was a Roman form of punishment to discourage dissent.
Before Christ was led away, soldiers spit on him, tormented and mocked him, and pierced his head with a crown of thorns. Then Jesus carried his own crossbar to Calvary where, again, he was mocked and insulted as Roman soldiers nailed him to the wooden post that was a permanent reminder of what could happen if you went against Roman law. That crossbar made the cross as we know it when tied to the post.
How many times have we been humiliated before friends and family…maybe at work or school? What did you do when that happened to you?
Do you think you could have taken it with little or no response as Jesus did?
In the other Gospels, it is stated that Jesus spoke seven final statements from the cross. According to Mark, which if you recall, is the Gospel we are studying, at 3 o’clock, Jesus cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
Then, Jesus breathed his last breath and died.
Many people, some of us even in our earlier years, were distressed upon hearing these words. We thought God did leave him.
Even if Jesus did say these words, and all the others, remember, this is a physical body leaving the mortal plane. Not the SPIRIT.
However, Syrian scholar, George Lamsa translates it this way, “My God, my God, for this was I kept!” This was his purpose. He was to triumph over death to show that our true being was immortal, in the image and likeness of God.
What are your thoughts on that?
At this time, the Temple curtain, which separated the Holy of Holies from the sanctuary, was torn in two. Symbolically, this is a judgment upon the temple authorities who colluded with the Romans against Jesus.
More importantly, it also means now access to God is open. Jesus mediated access to God apart from the Temple. This is our 1st Principle, that God is everywhere, for everyone.
According to Mark, only women attended the crucifixion…. Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and another named Salome. Another reminder that the disciples had abandoned Jesus.
Jesus and early Christianity gave women an identity and status they had not experienced since the time of matriarchal societies.
By 6 p.m. Friday evening, Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea took Jesus’ body down from the cross and lay it in a tomb.
Because Unity recognizes that every individual is the Christ in potential expression, fully One with the infinite wisdom of God, we don’t really have official dogma that must be believed. Rather, we affirm universal spiritual principles, and affirm the right and ability of each person to understand scripture—or anything else, for that matter—in terms of how those spiritual principles express.
One of those principles is that the true nature of every person is divine. We are not humans trying to become spiritual. We are spiritual beings engaged in a human experience through which we can bring more of the Nature of God into tangible expression.
If we are divine, then we are eternal; birth and death are mortal illusions allowing us to pass into and out of human experiences. We are expressing God as us, each individually, all the while connected as One.
So, it is not entirely accurate to say that Jesus “died” and was returned to life. He moved through the illusion of death and, by virtue of his ability to fully express his Christ Self, he was able to demonstrate to his followers that death was nothing to fear, because it had no reality.
Metaphysically, the cross represents a point at which our forward spiritual progress (the upright post) is held back by resistance from our attachment to the things of this world (the cross bar)
The crucifixion symbolizes the crossing out of all that belongs to the mortal consciousness in order that the way may be made for the coming forth of the Christ self.
Most of us grew up listening Easter after Easter, the story of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, all with the color of traditional Christianity. It is up to each of us to personally choose what we wish to believe about the life of Jesus. And that includes the virgin birth to the ‘death and resurrection.’
When we look at the story given to us, remember, until the ’trials’ were ended with Jesus being found guilty and sentenced to death, none of his followers were witness to any proceedings. So how do we know what happened?
Once the trials were concluded and the people were incited to crucifixion, Jesus’ fate was set. And if we believe that this is what Jesus was to do, to show us eternal life, then it is meant to be.
What, according to Unity’s belief tells us, that Traditional Christianity got wrong, probably among many other things, is that of Jesus dying for our sins. There was no redemptive atonement here. We didn’t need a substitute for God to forgive our sins.
There is nothing to forgive as far as God is concerned. We are perfect. We may have ‘missed the mark,’ as in archery, which is what the word sin means. But we are not cursed, we are blessed, from birth on and even before birth.
That forgiveness thing is a human thing on one level and a spiritual thing on another.
Jesus died to bring truth to us…that we are Spiritual beings and that we do not die. We are SPIRIT.