“Hey, hey, we’re the Monkees…” That song accurately describes what our children were like nearing the end of our COVID isolation period – an army of monkey extras in Planet of the Apes. It also describes what our house was like – a jungle. Wild. Crazy, and not a great place for a vacation.
May 11 seems far away now, but even after testing positive for COVID and being sick, I still feel winded at times.
It could be from typing.
If I walk from one end of the room to the other side, I get gassed.
Speaking of gas – COVID toots are the worst.
Today’s blog post is interesting one because I asked my oldest daughter what I should write about. I have two blog post drafts primed and ready, but like all of my writings, I don’t write just for the sake of writing.
So I asked Railene what my next post should be.
“Write about Jesus.”
“What about Jesus?” I asked.
“When he rose from the dead.”
Let’s rock and roll – pun intended.
You know…Jesus…stone in front of his tomb…stone rolled away…okay, that’s enough from me.
“It Is Finished!”
*Today’s blog goes into detail about crucifixion and Roman brutality. Some readers may find this post disturbing. *
Before we talk about the Resurrection, let’s first look at the Crucifixion.
Jesus of Nazareth, was crucified in the year 33 A.D (the year most scholars agree on). His crucifixion was recorded by numerous Christian and non – Christian sources alike. In fact, you will find very few historians today who deny the existence of the man, Jesus of Nazareth, and that he died on a Roman cross.
For the sake of time, I will just mention a couple of sources.
Matthew (former tax collector and disciple of Jesus), Mark (tradition says Peter was the main influencer for this book), Luke ( a Doctor who complied information from multiple sources and eye witness testimonies and wrote his account for Theophilus (someone in authority), and John (disciple of Jesus). Jesus’ crucifixion is mentioned in other biblical books, however I am only listing the more traditional records.
The next two are non – Christian sources. Flavius Josephus (a pagan historian during Jesus’ time) and also Roman historian and senator Tacitus; both men mentioned the crucifixion of Jesus in their writings.
With that foundation laid, lets dive deeper.
Most of the sources I’ve read prior to this blog state that due to his severe whipping and beating from Roman soldiers, Jesus would have lost a significant amount of blood prior to his crucifixion. Jewish law stated that a person should be whipped no more then thirty-nine times, as forty could kill a person. The Bible doesn’t specifically state the amount of lashes Jesus received, only that he was ‘scourged’. Given Rome’s brutal punishment and ‘art’ for suffering for the oppressed, we can assume it was many lashes. It is worthy to note that Jesus wasn’t whipped with a normal whip either, but rather a lead-tipped whip, also known as “cat-o-nine tails’.
Isaiah had prophesied about Jesus’ scourging and death in the book of Isaiah. Chapter 52:14 says, “But many were amazed when they saw him. His face was so disfigured he seemed hardly human, and from his appearance, one would scarcely know he was a man.” The beating Jesus received (portrayed also in The Passion of the Christ) would most likely left him unrecognizable.
Due to such severe punishment and blood loss, Jesus’ death on the cross was significantly shorter than a ‘normal’ crucifixion. In Mark’s gospel, its recorded that Jesus was crucified at the 3rd hour (in Jewish time 09:00am) and died 6 hours later, around 3:00PM.
The average crucifixion could last anywhere from 6 hours to 4 days.
It was a death sentence used by the Romans for serious crimes, and used to scare and demoralize those under their oppression. The Romans would crucify people along roads and in other public places. When the Roman army attacked Jerusalem in 70 AD, they crucified hundreds of people and lined them up outside the cities walls on display for those entering or leaving Jerusalem.
The crucified individual would die by hemorrhaging and dehydration caused by hypovolemic shock and pain, and/or asphyxia caused by impairment of respiratory movement. (For more reading on this check out, https://www.theguardian.com/science/2004/apr/08/thisweekssciencequestions).
In other words, it was a very laborious way to die. You would literally be pushing yourself upwards to breathe, but due to the seven inch nails (or ropes) you would have been restricted from doing so – most likely in agony with each attempt.
I have to admit, I thought I ‘knew’ about crucifixion, but after reading into this more thoroughly, I really didn’t know much at all. I honesty can’t imagine what Jesus would suffered on the cross – for six hours.
“When He rose from the Dead.”
The crucifixion of Jesus Christ/Jesus of Nazareth was brutal and devastating to those who were his followers. But thankfully, there is good news…
Jesus rose from the dead.
The angels announced it to those that visited his tomb on Sunday morning.
He appeared to his disciples multiple times afterwards for 40 days, before He ascended into heaven.
Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:6, “After that, he (Jesus) was seen by more than 500 of his followers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died.”
This verse is amazing because Paul used to be a hardline Pharisee and persecutor of Christians. If you reader, are an atheist or someone who doesn’t believe in God, then you need to read Paul’s letters. For years he denied that Jesus was God; and he would go from town to town arresting Christians and throwing them in jail. His reputation was so bad, that even when he encountered Jesus on the road to Damascus and became a Christian, groups of Christians all around didn’t believe he’d actually became one, but rather it was a ploy to get them.
When a hard-core persecutor of Christians believes that Jesus rose from the dead, we need to take notice.
In fact, Christianity would be completely fake if Jesus hadn’t of rose from the dead.
Paul said it himself:
“For if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your faith is useless. And we apostles would all be lying about God—for we have said that God raised Christ from the grave. But that can’t be true if there is no resurrection of the dead. And if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you are still guilty of your sins. In that case, all who have died believing in Christ are lost! And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world. But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died.”
1 Corinthians 15:13-20 NLT
If Jesus hadn’t of rose from the dead, everything He claimed would have been false. Jesus made some pretty bold claims too.
Number 1: He claimed he was God. He claimed that he is the only way to everlasting life. He told people to leave everything behind to follow him.
He confronted powerful religious leaders all the time, and told many of them that they were hypocrites. He sat down and ate with people that were considered despicable and worthless. He saved a woman who was about to be stoned by a group of religious leaders, by challenging them, “Whoever has never sinned, throw the first stone.”
Through the power of God, he raised multiple people from the dead. Notably he raised a man, Lazarus, that had been dead and buried in a tomb for four days. The Bible said that, “He stank.” However, Jesus, in front of crowds of mourners, called in a loud voice outside of Lazarus’s tomb for him to come out – and in his grave clothes, wrapped in cloth and covered in burial spices, he walked out of the tomb.
He defied nature by walking on the water on the seas of Galilee in Israel. He spoke to trees and they died. He spoke to raging storms on lakes and commanded the wind and waves to stop raging and they did.
He told his disciples what would happen to him and that He would rise again. (I love this part because Jesus shows how compassionate He is. Even though He is going to be betrayed, brutalized and die for all mankind – yet here He is encouraging His disciples that all will be okay, and they will see him again).
“Listen, ” he said, “we’re going up to Jerusalem, where the Son of Man will be betrayed to the leading priests and the teachers of the religious law. They will sentence him to die and hand him over to the Romans. They will mock him, spit on him, flog him with a whip, and kill him, but after three days he will rise again.”Jesus. Mark 10:33-34
Amazing. Absolutely amazing.
I will end off today’s blog with this.
If you thought that Jesus was a unknowing victim, some unfortunate follow who died at the hands of his enemies – as if these punishments were thrown upon him by surprise- you would be incorrect.
Jesus was never forced into anything – He chose it.
He allowed it to happen. It was all part of God’s plan. It was all part Jesus’ plan.
(What is this master plan? Well, my friend, find a Bible and start reading the first book of the New Testament, Matthew and continue reading.)
He wasn’t surprised by Juda’s betrayal. He wasn’t taken off guard by the Jewish leaders or the Romans or about what brutality was coming.
Jesus rose from the dead on the third day, fulfilling everything He said he would do.
My question to you today is this: who do you say Jesus is? Was he merely a ‘good person’ or a wise teacher? Is He just one of the god ‘options’ of the worlds religions?
C.S. Lewis wrote this in his book, Mere Christianity:
I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic – on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg – or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can sput at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity.