“The Last Week – What the Gospels Really Teach About Jesus’s Final Days in Jerusalem” by Marcus Borg & John Dominic Crossan. This week, Saturday & Sunday
We’re coming to the end of our study of this very interesting take on the life of Jesus during his last week and how he reacted with others and how he was treated. And those responses from the people ranged from adoring him to demanding his death.
And along the way, we have asked ourselves some interesting and important questions. Here are some from the previous weeks’ discussions of the day of Holy Week:
What has fear caused you to do? This might be an important question for our current times. Have we let fear overtake our understanding that love is the only answer to any and all questions?
What tempts you?
The Palm Sunday processions… Jesus and the palms waving or Pilot with his hundreds of soldiers? Which are you in? Which do we want to be in?
Can you say you believe it to be so and then see it?
How do you give to Caesar and give to God?
The High Priests and scribes were saying the words but not living them. The words are not coming from their hearts. Is this how you are living your life?
Imagine yourself as a disciple of Jesus through these 5 days of Holy Week…what are your thoughts?
What person mentioned do you relate to the most? Jesus, Pilate, Mary, Martha, Lazarus, his disciples, the crowd waving palms and shouting Hosanna, Mary Magdalene, the soldiers, the by-standers?
I wanted to remind you of these questions because they can take you deeper into knowing your true self.
It is one of my jobs to call you higher, thus the probing questions.
Now, let’s look at todays’ Message. Remember, we are following the Gospel of Mark. And he speaks nothing of Holy Saturday.
The other Gospels mention little more than mourning and resting as it is the Sabbath.
Jesus’ body lay in its tomb, where it was guarded by Roman soldiers throughout the day on Saturday. When the Sabbath ended at 6 p.m., His body was ceremonially treated for burial with spices and long sheets of linen cloth purchased by Nicodemus.
Nicodemus, like Joseph of Arimathea, was a member of the Sanhedrin, the court that had condemned Jesus Christ to death. For a time, both men had lived as secret followers of Jesus, afraid to make a public profession of faith because of their prominent positions in the Jewish community.
Similarly, both were deeply affected by Christ’s death. They boldly came out of hiding, risking their reputations and their lives because they had come to realize that Jesus was, indeed, the long-awaited Messiah. Together they cared for Jesus’ body and prepared it for burial.
On Resurrection Sunday, or Easter, we reach the culmination of Holy Week. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the most important event of the Christian faith. The very foundation of all Christian doctrine hinges on the truth of this account.
Early that Sunday morning, Mary Magdalene, according to Mark, went to the tomb. Other Gospels have several other women with her, but they all have Mary Magdalene. She is more important, I think, than many in Traditional Christianity give her credit for.
Either way, the women went to the tomb, and discovered that the large stone covering the entrance had been rolled away. An angel announced:
“Do not be afraid! You seek Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here; behold the place where he was laid.” Mark 16:6
On the day of his resurrection, Jesus Christ made at least five appearances. Mark’s Gospel says the first person to see him was Mary Magdalene, another indication of the position women had in Jesus’ ministry.
Jesus also appeared to Peter, to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, and later that day to all of the disciples except Thomas, while they were gathered in a house for prayer.
The eyewitness accounts in the Gospels provide what Christians believe to be undeniable evidence that the resurrection of Jesus Christ did indeed happen. Two millennia after his death, followers of Christ still flock to Jerusalem to see the empty tomb.
The purpose of Easter means the full confirmation of all that Jesus taught and preached during His three-year ministry. If He had not risen from the dead, if He had simply died and not been resurrected, He would have been thought just another teacher or prophet. However, His resurrection rebuked all that and provided final and undeniable proof that He was really the Son of God and that He had overcome death once and for all.
We in Unity prefer to focus on Christ and His work on our behalf, not the crucifixion. The more we do that, follow our Way-Shower, the better.
Next week, Easter Sunday, we will talk more about what the crucifixion and resurrection means to each of us.