Today, there are more than 150,000 Jewish graves on the Mount of Olives alone, crowded together on this steep hillside overlooking Israel’s holy city of Jerusalem. Through the centuries, most Jews have clung fervently to the hope that one day God would raise the righteous from the dead. As such, they believed there is a sacred duty to prepare the bodies of the dead for burial and eventual resurrection. Conversely, Middle Easterners might allow the corpse of a criminal or traitor to be thrown to the dogs or eaten by vultures, ruining their hope of eternity.
As the sun sets on Good Friday, Joseph of Arimethea intervenes to insure that Jesus’ body isn’t desecrated. As dawn breaks on Easter Sunday, a small band of women venture into the cemetery where Christ’s body is entombed to complete the burial preparations that had been cut short by the Sabbath. Continue reading “Episode 96: Jesus Is Risen!”
42 It was Preparation Day (that is, the day before the Sabbath). So as evening approached, 43 Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Council, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. 44 Pilate was surprised to hear that he was already dead. Summoning the centurion, he asked him if Jesus had already died. 45 When he learned from the centurion that it was so, he gave the body to Joseph. Continue reading “Episode 95: Joseph Claims Jesus’ Body”
Mark 15:39 And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, heard his cry and saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!”
The Kingdom doors have now been flung open to all who will trust the saving work of Christ! As if on cue, the very man who led Jesus to the cross now confesses his divinity.
40 Some women were watching from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. 41 In Galilee these women had followed him and cared for his needs. Many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem were also there. Continue reading “Episode 94: The Witness of Women”
Mark 15:25 It was the third hour when they crucified him. 26 The written notice of the charge against him read: THE KING OF THE JEWS.
It’s Friday morning. Nine o’clock. And the fate of the whole world is literally hanging on a rough-hewn cross atop a hillside in Israel. Roman law requires that a criminal’s charges be clearly posted for all to see. Pilate, recently outmaneuvered by the Sanhedrin, wants the last word. So he hangs a sign that says, “The King of the Jews” above the dying Galilean. The Jewish Council complains that the charges should actually read, “He claimed to be the King of the Jews.” But Pilate thumbs his nose at them by refusing to change what has been written. Continue reading “Episode 93: Jesus Dies”
Mark 15:22 They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means The Place of the Skull). 23 Then they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. 24 And they crucified him. Dividing up his clothes, they cast lots to see what each would get.
Golgotha is a craggy mount outside the walls of Jerusalem whose rock face reminds onlookers of the eye and nose sockets of a human scull. Because public executions are performed there, its name carries a double meaning. Continue reading “Episode 92: Crucified”