Christianity According to Christ

A Harmony and Consolidation of the Gospel of Jesus from Old and New Testaments - WordsInRed.com

Fulfillment

Glorious Reception

Jesus sent two of his disciples on ahead, saying to them, "Go to the next village and, just as you enter it, you will find a donkey tied there with her young colt - which no one has ever ridden - beside her. Bring the colt here to me. And if anyone asks you, 'Why are you doing this?' tell them, 'The Lord needs it, and he will send it back here shortly'."

The disciples did just as Jesus had instructed them. Going on ahead of the others, they came upon a donkey and its colt tied up in the street outside a doorway. As they were untying it, its owners - who were standing right there - asked them, "What are you doing? Why are you untying that colt?" They answered as Jesus had told them: "The Lord needs it," and the people let them go. They brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, and Jesus mounted it.

Now the Jewish Feast of Unleavened Bread, called the Passover, was near at hand, and a very large crowd from the countryside had already assembled in Jerusalem for the ceremonial cleansing required before the Feast. And the chief priests and Pharisees, who had heard that Jesus might attend the celebration, had given orders that anyone who discovered his whereabouts should report it so that they might arrest him. But when the people heard that Jesus was approaching the city, they all went out to welcome him. And when he and his disciples came to the place where the road goes down from the Mount of Olives into Jerusalem, they were greeted by a joyful crowd.

Completely surrounding Jesus, the people took their cloaks and palm branches they had cut from the trees in the fields and spread them on the road ahead of him. And, as he went along, the whole crowd began to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen, shouting: "Hosanna to the Son of David!" "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" "Peace!" "Glory in the highest!" Some Pharisees who were in the crowd said to Jesus, "Teacher! Rebuke your disciples!" "I tell you," Jesus replied, "if I tried to keep them quiet, the very stones would cry out!"

All this took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: "Say to Jerusalem: 'Shout and rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion, and do not be afraid! For behold! Your king, righteous and gentle, is coming to you with salvation, riding on the foal of a donkey'."

On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus went up to the temple area. He looked around at everything but, since it was already late, he left the crowds behind and went back out of the city with the Twelve to Bethany. And this became their routine throughout the Passover. Every day, they returned to Jerusalem early in the morning and went to the temple, and each evening they went back to Bethany to spend the night.

Mt 21:1-9 and 17
Mk 11:1-11, 19 and 27
Lk 19:29-40
21:37
22:1
Jn 2:13
6:4
11:55 and 57
12:12-15
Zec 9:9

Confrontation

When they arrived again in Jerusalem the next day and Jesus entered the temple courts, he found men sitting at tables exchanging money and others selling cattle, sheep and doves for sacrifice. Fashioning a whip out of cords, he began driving all those who were buying and selling out of the temple area, shouting: "Get these things out of here! How dare you turn my Father's house into a market!" He scattered the coins of the money changers, and overturned the tables and benches of those selling sacrificial animals. And he wouldn't even allow anyone to carry their merchandise into or out of the area.

The chief priests, teachers of the law and elders came running up to restrain Jesus, crying out to him: "What are you doing!" "Setting things straight!" he said. "It's written that 'This house, which bears my name, is to be a house of prayer for all nations'. But you've turned it into a den of robbers!" "And who gave you the authority to decide these things?" they demanded. "I'll let you answer that question," Jesus replied. "Where did John's authority to baptize come from? Was it from heaven, or from men? Tell me that, and I'll tell you by what authority I'm doing these things."

Now a crowd had gathered during this exchange, and so the Jews discussed Jesus' question among themselves before they replied: "If we say, 'From heaven,' he'll ask us, 'Then why didn't you believe him?' But if we say, 'From men,' the crowd may stone us, because many of the people are persuaded that John was a prophet." Finally, they answered Jesus: "We don't know where it was from." And Jesus said to them, "Then neither will you be able to understand by what authority I am doing these things."

The Jews retorted, "Since we're so lacking in understanding, then perhaps you can show us some miraculous sign to prove your authority." Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and I'll raise it again in three days!" (Later on, when the Jews used this claim to accuse Jesus, his disciples recalled the Scripture: "Zeal for your house will consume me." And only after he was raised from the dead did they realize that the temple Jesus had spoken of was his body.)

The Jews scoffed: "It took forty-six years to build this temple, and you're going to raise it in three days?" And, turning to the crowd, they said: "Aren't we right in saying that he's either a heretic or a lunatic?" "You couldn't be more mistaken," Jesus said. "I tell you the truth, he who hears my Word and believes in Him who sent me will not be condemned, and has crossed over from death to eternal life."

The Jews replied, "Our father Abraham died, along with all the other prophets. Yet you seem to be saying that if anyone keeps your word, he'll never taste death! Are you telling us that you're greater than Abraham?" Jesus answered, "Abraham was gladdened at the thought of my coming and rejoiced when he saw it.

At this, the Jews exclaimed: "Now we know you're crazy! You aren't even fifty years old, and you claim to have seen Abraham?" Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, before Abraham was born, I AM!"

"And who is that?" they asked. "Just who or what do you think you are?" Jesus replied, "What I've been claiming all along. You're from below; I'm from above. You're of this world; I'm not. And I haven't come here on my own, for the One who sent me hasn't abandoned me but is with me always."

They didn't seem to understand that he was telling them about his Father in heaven, so Jesus continued: "I do nothing on my own, but do what pleases the Father who sent me. Nor are these words you hear my own; they belong to him. What I tell the world, I've heard from him, and I assure you that he is absolutely reliable. So when I tell you that you'll die in your sins if you don't believe that I'm the One I claim to be, then indeed you will. When you've lifted up the Son of Man, you'll come to know that." (When he said "lifted up", Jesus was referring to the way in which it was written that he was going to die.)

Mt 21:12-13 and 23-27
Mk 11:15-17 and 27-33
Lk 19:45-46
20:1-8
Jn 2:14-25
5:24
8:20, 24, 26-29, 48-53 and 56-58
12:33
Ps 69:9

Is 56:7
Je 7:11


Validation

Now among those who had come to Jerusalem to attend the Passover Feast were a number of gentiles. And they came to Philip and said, "Sir, we'd like to see this Jesus we've heard so much about." Philip wasn't sure how Jesus would receive these outsiders, and he went to talk the matter over with Andrew. Finally, they went together and told Jesus of the gentiles' request.
Jesus said: "I've known for some time now that I have other sheep that are not of this fold, and that I'm the gate for them as well. Whoever enters through me will be saved; he'll come in and go out, and find pasture. For I tell you the truth, my Father will honor whoever serves me, and the one who serves me must follow me. Wherever I am, my servants also will be, and when I am lifted up from the earth, I must bring them with me. Therefore, I will draw all men to myself. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be but one flock and one shepherd."

Then Jesus lifted his eyes to heaven and cried out: "Father, the hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified in your name before all men. If you are glorified in me, then glorify me in their presence!" And, a great voice came from heaven, saying: "I glorify you now, my Son, as I have glorified you before and will again!"

Some of those in the crowd that was there and heard this thought it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken. Jesus said, "Now is the Son of Man glorified and God glorified in him. This voice was for your benefit, not mine. It was to show you that when a man believes in me, he does not believe in me only, but in the One who sent me as well."

The whole city was stirred and asked, "Who is this?" And the crowds answered, "This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee!"

Mt 21:10-11
Jn 10:7, 9 and 16
12:20-23, 26, 28-30, 32 and 44

13:32

Gathering Darkness

As a result of this miraculous sign, even many among the Jewish leadership began to believe that Jesus might be the Christ. But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew human nature. He didn't need their testimony to validate his ministry. He knew that they valued praise from men more than the approval of God and that - because of the enmity of the Pharisees - they would never confess their faith openly for fear they would be put out of the synagogue.

And, indeed, the chief priests, teachers of the law and elders had assembled in the palace of the high priest Caiaphas looking for some way to get rid of Jesus. They didn't want to do it openly during the Feast because they were afraid it might cause a riot among all the people who hung on Jesus' every word. And so they plotted to arrest him in some sly way when no crowd was present.

It was then that Satan entered into one of the Twelve - the one called Judas, Son of Simon Iscariot - and prompted him to betray Jesus. And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and asked, "What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?" They were delighted to hear this, and agreed to give him thirty silver coins. Judas consented and, while they counted out the money for him, he discussed with them how he might best hand Jesus over to them. And from then on, Judas waited and watched for an opportunity to betray Jesus.

Now Jesus had known from the beginning that one of the Twelve was going to betray him, for it is written about the Messiah: "Even my close friend, whom I trusted, he who shared my bread, has lifted up his heel against me." And, knowing those he had chosen, he suspected which of them it was: Judas Iscariot; who, as keeper of the money bag, used to help himself to what was put into it and was considered no better than a thief by some of the other disciples. To everyone's surprise, Judas had recently objected that the ministry wasn't doing enough to help the needy. Jesus knew that he didn't say this because he cared about the poor, but because he was feeling guilty about something else. Because of this, and the certain knowledge of his own forthcoming trials, Jesus became increasingly troubled in spirit as the Passover week wore on.

Early one morning, as he and the disciples were leaving Bethany on their way back into the city, Jesus was hungry. And, seeing a fig tree in leaf by the road, he went up to it expecting to find fruit. But when he reached it, he found nothing on it but leaves because it was not yet the season for figs. And the disciples overheard him say to the tree: "May you never bear fruit again!"

The next morning as they went along the same road, Peter remembered the incident and began looking for the fig tree. When he saw it, he exclaimed to Jesus: "Rabbi! Look at that tree you cursed!" The other disciples turned and saw that, from the roots up, the fig tree was completely withered! They were amazed and asked: "How could it wither so quickly?"

Jesus replied: "I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed and do not doubt, nothing will be impossible for you. Not only can you do what was done to this fig tree, you can say to this entire mountain: 'Go! Throw yourself into the sea!' and it will obey you. I tell you that any one of you who believes in God, and believes in his heart that what God says will be accomplished, will receive whatever you ask for in prayer. Indeed, you've already received it."

When Jesus had finished saying these things, he added: "But you have so little faith and - I'm certainly not referring to all of you but some - who don't believe at all!" Dismayed, the apostles said to him: "Then, Lord, tell us how to increase our faith!"

And Jesus answered them in parables: "Then, first, look at this fig tree and learn from it as I have. When its twigs get tender and sprout leaves, you know that the time for it to bear fruit is near. Wnen we passed by here yesterday, I found nothing on the tree but leaves. Now, though, you can see for yourselves that it's completely withered: no one will ever eat fruit from this tree again.

"Even so, when you see all the things that have been happening here in Jerusalem these past few days, you know that the kingdom of God is near: right at the door! But, as you also know, the Passover Feast is only two days away. And then, just as the fig tree was stricken through no fault of its own, so will the Son of Man be handed over to be crucified.

"Now, there was once another man who went out looking for fruit - on a fig tree he'd planted in his garden - but didn't find any. And so he called in the man who took care of the vineyard and said to him: 'I've been coming to look for fruit on this tree for ages now, and haven't found any. Why should I permit it to use up my soil any longer?' 'Sir,' the caretaker replied, 'Please give it one more year, and I'll cultivate it and nourish it to try and bring it around. If it bears fruit then, fine! If not, cut it down.'

"The Son of Man must go to fulfill the Scriptures, but woe to his betrayers. It would be better for them if they had not been born. As the Prophets were told about me: 'I am like a green tree: your fruitfulness comes from me.' And if men do such terrible things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?"

Mt 17:20
21:18-22
24:32-33
26:1-5, 14-16 and 23-24
Mk 11:12-14 and 20-24
14:10-11 and 21
Lk 13:6-9
17:5-6
19:47-48
21:29-31
22:2-6
23:31
Jn 6:64 and 71
12:6 and 42-43
13:2, 18 and 21
Ps 41:9
Ho 10:8


The Lamb of God

Then came the first day of the Passover Feast, on which it was customary to sacrifice the Passover lamb. Jesus' disciples came to him and asked, "Where shall we go to eat the Passover?"

Jesus said to Peter and John, "Go into the city and, as you enter, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him to the house that he enters, and tell the owner of the house: 'The Teacher says: ‘My appointed time is near to celebrate the Passover at your house. Where is the guest room, where I may eat with my disciples?’' He will show you a large upper room, furnished and ready. Go there, and make preparations for us to eat the Passover." The disciples left immediately and went into the city, and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they did as he had directed, and set about preparing the Passover meal.

When the evening hour came, Jesus arrived and - with the Twelve - reclined at the table. Knowing that the time was near at hand for him to leave this world and return to the Father, and having loved his own who were to remain behind, he now wanted to show them the full extent of his love. That was why he stood back up, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. And he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples' feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

After having done this for several of his Apostles, he came to Peter; who said to him: "No, Lord! I could never let you wash my feet!" Jesus said, "Simon, you don't understand just now what I'm doing, but I'll explain it to you later. If I don't wash you, you can't be a part of me." "Then, Lord!" Peter replied, "Don't just wash my feet, but my hands and head as well!"

Jesus said, "A person who's just had a bath needs only wash his feet, because the rest of his body is already clean. And you've been cleansed by the Word I've given you. Though not every one of you," he added, for he was certain by now who it was that was going to betray him, and when.

When he'd finished washing all of the disciples' feet, Jesus put on his clothes and returned to his place. And he said to them, "You call me 'Teacher' and 'Lord', and rightly so, for that is what I am. And it's enough for you to understand that if I have washed your feet, you shouldn't regard yourselves as too lofty to wash one another's. For a student is not above his teacher, nor is a servant greater than his master. But the ones who've been fully trained become like their teachers and masters.

"I came among you, not to be served but as one who serves, and to give my life as a ransom for all mankind. So, you must ask yourselves now, who is greater? The one who sits at the table, or the one who serves him? Peter seemed to think it's the one at the table. But I tell you that you are not to be like that. Instead, if you mean it when you call me 'Teacher' and 'Lord', the greatest among you should be like the least, and the one who rules the same as the one who serves."

Then Jesus asked them, "Now that you know these things, do you understand what it is that I've done for you here this evening? I've set you an example. And, if you follow it, I promise that you will be blessed."

Mt 20:28
26:17-20
Mk 10:45
14:12-17
Lk 6:40

22:7-14;26-27
Jn 13:1;4-17

15:3

Summation

Then Jesus said: "My children, I'll be with you and speak with you only a little longer now, because - for your sake - I'm going back to the Father. For a little while, you won't see me. But then you will and, because I live, so will you." His disciples asked one another, "What does he mean by, 'A little while'? And by saying, 'I'm going to the Father?' We don't understand."

Jesus saw that they wanted to ask him about this, so he said to them: "You're asking one another what I meant when I said that I'm going away. I'm going to Him who sent me. And, just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: You will look for me, but see me no longer. Nor will you be able follow me to where I am going." Peter asked him, "But Lord, why can't I follow you?" Jesus replied, "You can't come just now, Simon, but you will follow later."

Then Thomas said to him, "Lord, if you don't tell us where you're going, how can we know the way?" Jesus answered, "You already know the way to the place I'm going, Thomas. I am the way! No one comes to the Father except through me."

Then Philip said: "Just show us the Father, Lord, That will be enough for all of us." Jesus answered, "How can you say that, Philip? You know him well and have seen him almost daily. Don't you know me after all this time? And don't you believe me when I say that I'm in the Father and he's in me? The words I say to you are not just my own: Rather, it's the Father living within me who is speaking. Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father who sent me. And you will continue to see me but, before long, the world will see me no more."

Thaddaeus said, "But Lord, why would you show yourself to us and not to the rest of the world?" Jesus replied, "Because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. He who loves me will be loved by the Father Himself, and I too will love him and show myself to him. But, in fulfillment of what is written in the scriptures, 'They have hated me without reason.' And those who hate me hate my Father as well, and are blind to us both.

"Now is the time for judgment, and the men of this world who do not believe in me stand condemned. They wouldn't be guilty of this sin if I hadn't come and spoken to them, and done among them what no one else has ever done. For that servant who does things deserving of punishment only because he doesn't know his master's will, will be lightly dealt with. But from the one who has been given much, much more will be demanded. The servant who knows what his master wants, and still doesn't make haste and do it, will be severely punished. Now that these men have heard me, and seen the miracles I've done, they no longer have an excuse for their disbelief.





"I've called you servants, because a servant doesn't know his master's business. But no longer. Instead, I call you my friends, for you are the ones who have been with me from the beginning and stood by me in my trials, and I've made known to you everything that I learned from my Father. I've been speaking figuratively, but I will no longer use this kind of language. Now, you don't need to ask questions; I'll speak plainly and without figures of speech.

"I came from the Father and entered the world, but now I'm leaving the world and going back to the Father. You're filled with grief because I've said that I'm going away, but don't let your hearts be troubled. A kernel of wheat remains only a single seed unless it is buried in the ground. But, if it is, it rises up and produces many seeds. In a like manner, the Son of Man must be lifted up from the earth. Satan is coming to prevent this, but he has no power over me. And, when I am am lifted up, I will draw all men to myself.

"So don't be afraid: Trust in God; trust also in me. A woman giving birth has pain when the time comes for her child to be born into the world but, when her baby has been delivered, she forgets the anguish because of her joy. So with you: This is your time of grief. While the world rejoices, you will weep and mourn. You will have no end of trouble in this world, but take heart! I have overcome the world! I will see you again and, on that day, your grief will turn to rejoicing. My joy will fill you, and it will be complete and without end.

In my Father's house there are many mansions, and all that belongs to the Father is mine. I'm going there to prepare a place for each of you, and I will come back and take you to be with me there so that you may once again eat and drink at my table. And in the meantime, I will not leave you as orphans. I will ask the Father to give you another Counselor who will be with you always and, in my name, he will send you the Holy Spirit!

"When the Counselor comes, you will know it, for he will live within you. The world won't accept your testimony about him, because it neither sees him nor feels his presence within. But when he comes, Satan will be driven out into the open, and the Counselor will expose the guilt of the world in regard to its notions of sin and righteousness and judgment.


"The Counselor will bring glory to me by taking what is mine and making it known to you. He will not speak on his own but only what he hears from me, for I have much more to say to you; more than you can now take in. He will guide you into all truth by reminding you of everything I have said to you, and telling you what is yet to come. And, through you, he will testify about me throughout the world.

"So, you see, that's why I said it's for your sake that I'm going away for - unless I go - the Holy Spirit will not come to you. I didn't tell you all these things at first, because I was still with you. But I'm telling you now before it happens so that, when the time comes, you will continue to believe that I am who I say I am and not go astray. If all these things were not so, I wouldn't have told you.

"Greater love has no one than this; that he lay down his life for his friends. And, as the Father has loved me and I have loved the Father, so I have loved you. If you do what I command, you will remain in my love; just as I have done what my Father has commanded me and remain in his love. Anyone who truly loves me will obey; he who does not love me will not. And this is my command: You must love one another as I have loved you. By this, all men will know you are my disciples.

"I leave you now in peace: Not peace as the world offers, but peace in me." Jesus paused and said, "I see that none of you asks me now, 'Where are you going?" The disciples said, "We can see that you know all things, Lord, and believe that you came from God." "All of you now believe?" Jesus asked. And he added quietly, "I wonder."


Lk 12:47-48
22:28
Jn 12:24;31-32;45

13:19;33-37
14:1-10;15-19;21-31a
15:9-15;17;22-26
16:1;4-23;24b-25;27-31;33

Ps 35:19
69:4



Communion


As the meal was being served, Jesus said to them, "I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For, I tell you the truth, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God." And he took bread and, when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying: "This is my body which is given for you. Take it and eat. And, from now on, whenever you eat this bread, do it in remembrance of me."


Then he took the cup and said to them, "Nor will I drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day I drink it anew with you in my Father's kingdom." And in the same way, he gave thanks and offered it to them, saying: "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for mankind for the forgiveness of sins. Take and drink from it, all of you. And whenever you drink of the cup, do it in remembrance of me." And they all drank from it.


Mt 26:26-29
Mk 14:22-25
Lk 22:14-20

1Co 12:23-25





The Last Supper


Later, while they were reclining at the table eating, Jesus said, "I am never completely alone, for my Father is always with me. Yet, a time is coming and is nearly upon us when you will all fall away. For it is written, 'I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.' And today - yes, this very night - you will scatter on account of me, each to his own home. And you will leave me to face my enemies all alone."


The disciples were stung by this remark, and Peter declared, "Lord, even if everyone else leaves you, I will not! I am ready to go with you to prison and to death! I will lay down my life for you!"

Jesus turned and looked straight at Peter and said, "Simon, Simon. Will you really lay down your life for me? For, I tell you the truth, Satan has asked to sift you like wheat. And, before the rooster crows, you will deny three times that you even know me. But I have prayed that you will remember the Word I have spoken to you and that your faith in me may not fail. And, when you have turned back to me, that you may have peace and will be a source of strength to your brothers."


Peter insisted emphatically, "Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you!" And all the other disciples said the same. But Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, you will betray me!" His disciples stared at one another.

Jesus continued: "I am not referring to all of you; I know those I have chosen. But the hand of him who is going to betray me is with mine on the table. It is one who is eating with me. One who dips his bread into the bowl with me. One of you Twelve!"

The disciples were at a loss to know who he meant, and began to question among themselves which of them might be the one who would do such a thing. And one after the other, they began to ask Jesus, "Surely not I, Lord?" Peter motioned to John, who was reclining next to Jesus and said, "Ask him which one he means." Leaning back against Jesus, John asked him, "Lord, who is it?" Jesus answered, "It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish." Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas.

When Judas took the bread, he also said, "Surely not I, Rabbi?" "Yes, it is you," Jesus replied softly. "This is your hour, when darkness reigns." Then, in a voice that all could hear, Jesus said: "What you are about to do, do it quickly!" No one at the meal understood why the Lord said this to him. But, since Judas had charge of the purse, they assumed Jesus was telling him to buy something else needed for the feast, or to go and give money to the poor.


After Jesus said this, Judas departed. And it was night.


Mt 26:20-25;31;33-35
Mk 14:18-21;27;29-31
Lk 22:21-23;31-34;61

Jn 13:18;21-30
16:32-33
Zec 13:7



Benediction


After Judas was gone, they finished eating. And after supper, Jesus looked toward heaven and began to pray aloud: "Holy Father, you granted your Son authority over all people that he might glorify you, and give eternal life to all those that know you - the only true God - and him whom you have sent. Now, Father, I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do, and I am coming back to you. Glorify me in your presence with the glory I knew and shared with you before the world began.

"Righteous Father, I am praying now - not for the world - but for those you have given me out of the world. They were yours and, because you loved me, you gave them to me. And having loved them even as you have loved me, I have given them everything you have given me. I've revealed you to them, and now they know with certainty that you sent me. I gave them the words that you gave me, and they have accepted and obeyed them. I have given them the glory that you gave me, and glory has come to me through them. For, as you sent me into the world - to let the world know your Word is truth and so that the world may believe - so have I sent them.

"And they will continue to make you known, Father, but they are not of the world any more that I am. And, because the world does not know you, it has hated them for it. While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe, and none has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that the scripture would be fulfilled. But I will remain in the world no longer, and they will still be here. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world, but that you protect them from the evil one by the power of your name and that name you gave me, Jesus Christ.

"And, Father, my prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message. I want those as well to see my glory and the love you have for me. Sanctify them by the truth. May I be in them just as you are in me, and may they be in us just as I am in you. May they also be brought to complete unity, so that they all may be one as we are one. For all I have comes from you, Father, and all you have is mine.

"And now, Father, the time has come. I go to sanctify myself for them in order that they too may be truly sanctified: that they may be with me where I am, and have the full measure of my joy within them. Amen."


Jn 17: 1-26




Gethsemane

After he'd finished praying and they'd sung a hymn, Jesus left and - as usual - went out to the Mount of Olives. His disciples followed him across the Kidron Valley to a place on the other side called Gethsemane. There, they went into an olive grove where Jesus had often met with his disciples. Judas, his betrayer, knew the place well.

Knowing all that was about to happen to him, Jesus became increasingly distressed. And he said to his disciples, "Sit here while I go over there and pray." He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee - James and John - along with him. And he said to them, "My soul is sorrowful to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me."

Then, going a little farther - about a stone's throw - beyond them, he knelt down and prayed: "Father, my heart is deeply distressed. If it's possible, save me from this hour. Yet, if it isn't possible for this cup to be taken away - if I must indeed drink it - not my will, but yours be done." Then he returned to the three disciples, and he found them sleeping, exhausted from sorrow. He said to Peter: "Simon! Why are you sleeping? Couldn't you men keep watch with me for so much as an hour? Get up!"

Once more, Jesus withdrew from them. He was in anguish, his sweat falling to the ground like drops of blood. And he himself fell to the ground face down and prayed as before but even more earnestly that, if possible, the hour might pass from him: "My Father, everything is possible for you! If you are willing, take this cup from me. But as you will, not I." Then he went back to the disciples a second time, and again he found them asleep. He said to them, "Are you still sleeping? Watch, and pray with me, that you don't fall into temptation!" But Jesus could see that their eyes were heavy, and he said to himself, "The spirit is willing but the body is weak."

And so, for the third time, he left them and went away and prayed: "Shall I not drink this cup you have given me? Shall I say once more to you, 'May it be taken from me?' No, dear Father, because it was for this very reason I came! May your will - and mine! - be done and done now!" And when he rose from prayer, an angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him for the ordeal to come.

Then, returning to the disciples, he said to them, "Are you still sleeping?" They were so ashamed of themselves, they didn't know what to say to him. "Enough!" he said. "The hour has come, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Look! Here comes my betrayer now. Get up, and let's go to meet him!"




Just as he was speaking, Judas appeared in the grove leading a detachment of the temple guard, some officials and a large crowd of people from the ruling council. They were carrying torches and lanterns, and were armed with swords and clubs. Now, Judas had arranged a signal with them: "The one I kiss is the man. Arrest him, and take him away under guard." So, going at once to Jesus, Judas said, "Greetings, Rabbi," and approached Jesus to kiss him. Jesus said to him, "This seems to be your hour, friend Judas, when darkness reigns. But is this any way to betray the Son of Man? With a kiss? Then do what you came for." And Judas, the man who forever after would be called the betrayer of Christ, kissed him.

The crowd stepped forward to seize Jesus but, when his followers saw what was about to happen, each of them who had a sword reached for it. One of them shouted, "Look out, Lord! They're going to try to arrest you! Here are our swords! Should we strike them?" And Peter, without waiting for Jesus' orders, struck a servant of the high priest - a man named Malchus - cutting off his right ear.

But then Jesus said, "That's enough, Peter! No more of this!" And he commanded him, "Put your sword back in its place! I tell you that all who rely on the sword will die by it! And don't you think that, if I wanted to resist these people, I can call on my Father and he'll at once put legions of angels at my disposal? But then how would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it all this must happen in this way?" And, with that, Jesus touched the wounded man's ear and healed him! Those who had come to arrest him drew back and fell to the ground.


Then Jesus asked them, "Who is it you want?" "Jesus of Nazareth," they replied. "I am he," Jesus said, "but am I leading a rebellion that you've come out here with swords and clubs to capture me? How is it that I sat with you in the temple courts teaching, every day for the past week, and you didn't lay a hand on me? But if it's me that you're looking for," he said, "then let these other men go." (This happened so that the words he'd spoken in his prayer, "I haven't lost one of those you've given me," would be fulfilled.)

No sooner had Jesus said this than all of his disciples, every last one of them, deserted him and fled. One young man, who was wearing nothing but a linen robe, left his garment behind in the grasp of the crowd when they tried to seize him, and ran away completely naked.

Mt 26:30;36-56
Mk 14:26;32-52
Lk 22:38-53
Jn 18:1-11




Inquisition

Then, with his supporters gone, the detachment of soldiers - its commander and the Jewish officials who had come to arrest Jesus - seized him, bound him and led him away. And they took him first to the house of Annas - himself a former high priest and father-in-law of the high priest for that year, Caiphas - who questioned Jesus about his disciples and teaching. "Why do you have to ask me about these things?" Jesus replied. "I said nothing in secret: there's nothing concealed in my Gospel that is not meant to be disclosed, and nothing hidden that isn't meant to be brought out into the open. And I've always spoken openly to the world: in the countryside or at synagogues, or here in Jerusalem at the temple where all the Jews come together. Surely most of those here have heard me and know what I said. Ask them."

When Jesus - who was still bound - said this, one of the officials nearby struck him in the face. "Why did you strike me?" Jesus asked. "You know that I spoke the truth. But if I said something wrong, then testify as to what it is!" he demanded. "Well," the man replied weakly, "It was no way to answer a high priest."

At this, Annas sent Jesus and his captors on to Caiaphas' house, where the whole Sanhedrin had already assembled. Now these were the same people who had decided earlier that "it would be good if one man died for the people," so they were only looking for enough evidence against Jesus so they could put him to death. But even though many testified falsely against him, their statements didn't agree. Two of them came forward, for example, and the first one declared: "This fellow said, 'I'm able to destroy the temple of God and rebuild it in three days'!" But then the other said; "No! What we heard him say was: 'In three days, I will destroy this man-made temple, and replace it with another on not made by man'!"


At that point, Caiphas ordered that Jesus be brought before them. And when he was led in, the high priest stood up and asked him: "What's this testimony that these men are bringing against you?" At first, Jesus wouldn't deign to answer him and remained silent. But the high priest persisted: "Aren't you going to answer these charges?" Finally, Jesus spoke: "Whatever I tell you, you will not believe. And, if I asked you that question under these circumstances, you wouldn't answer either."

Again, the high priest asked him: "Are you the Christ? The son of the Blessed One? I charge you under oath by the living God! Answer us!" And then the whole assembly began calling out: "Are you the Son of God? The Christ? If you are, tell us!" And Jesus answered them, saying: "Yes, you're right! I AM! For now, the Son of Man stands before you. But in the future, he will be coming back here on the clouds of heaven, seated at the right hand of the mighty God!"


Then the high priest tore his clothes and cried out, "Look now! We've heard it from his own lips! He's spoken blasphemy! What do you think? Do we need any more testimony?" And they all answered, "He deserves death!" Then some of them spit in Jesus' face and said insulting things to him, and others slapped him and even struck him with their fists.

The day was just breaking.


Mt 10:26
26:57;59-67
Mk 4:22
14:53;55-64
Lk 8:17
22:54;65-71
Jn 18:12-14;19-24



Disavowal


Meanwhile, Peter and John had followed Jesus and his captors at a distance. Because John knew the high priest, he was able to go with them right up into Caiaphas' courtyard. At first, Peter was detained at the gate, but John came back and spoke to the servant girl on duty there, and she let Peter in as well.

It was cold, and the servants and officials had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and huddled together around it to keep warm. Peter went over and sat down with them, warming himself at the fire while he awaited the outcome of Jesus' trial. As he sat there, one of the servant girls came by and saw his face in the firelight. She looked closely at him and said, "This man was with that Nazarene, Jesus of Galilee." And she asked Peter, "You're one of his disciples, aren't you?" But Peter denied it in front of all of them, saying, "I don't understand what you're talking about, woman. I don't even know him."

Peter got up and moved out into the entryway. But, a little later on, another servant girl saw him and said to the people standing there: "This fellow is one of those who was with Jesus of Nazareth." For the second time, Peter denied it, saying with an oath, "I am not! I don't know the man!"


An hour or so later, another of the high priest's servants - a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off - challenged him: "Didn't I see you with that Jesus in the olive grove?" And those standing nearby went up to Peter and said, "Surely you're one of the men who was with him, for you're also a Galilean: your accent gives you away!" Again Peter denied it. He began to call down curses on himself and he swore to them: "I don't know what you're talking about! I tell you, I don't know the man!"

Just as he said this, a rooster began to crow. Immediately, Peter remembered what Jesus had said to him: "Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times." And he went outside and wept bitterly.


Mt 26:58;69-75
Mk 14:54;66-72
Lk 22:54-60;62

Jn 18:15-18;25-27


Indictment


After the Sanhedrin came to its foregone decision to have Jesus put to death, the entire body rose and led him off to the palace of Pilate - the Roman governor - to hand him over for execution (The Romans had forbidden them to carry out the death penalty). When they got there, however, the Jews wouldn't enter the palace because it would make them ceremonially unclean and they wouldn't be able to eat the Passover meal later in the day. So Pilate came out to them. And, because it was still so early in the morning - just after daybreak - he asked them: "What are you doing here at this hour?" The Jews replied, "This man has claimed to be Christ, the Son of God. And so, according to the Law, he must die!"

Pilate said, "Rome has no such law." "Well, we do!" the Jews retorted. "Then take him and judge him yourselves by that law," Pilate said: "Do I look like a Jew to you?" "But you've taken away our right to execute anyone," the Jews objected. "If he were not a criminal deserving of death, we would most certainly not have brought him to you!" And they began flinging charges against Jesus, saying: "We have found this man subverting the nation! He claims to be a king! He opposes payment of taxes to Caesar!"

Pilate knew then that the Sanhedrin had some ulterior motive in trying to hand Jesus over to him and, knowing the Jews would not follow, he summoned Jesus and went back inside the palace. There Jesus stood alone before him, and the governor asked him: "What is it you've done to so upset these people?" Jesus replied, "I was born into the world to testify to the truth and, for this reason, everyone on the side of truth listens to me instead of them."

"What is the truth?" Pilate asked. "Are you a king?" "Is that an idea you came up with on your own?" Jesus asked, "or just something you heard from those others? But, yes! It is as they say."


"So you're the king of the Jews!" Pilate exclaimed. "But how is it then that your own people and chief priests handed you over to me?" Jesus said, "You're right in saying I'm a king, but from another place. In fact, my kingdom is not of this world. If it was, I would have allowed my servants to fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews."


Pilate replied, "Don't you realize, though, that I have the power either to free you or to crucify you?" Jesus answered, "Yes, but you would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore, it is not you but the ones who handed me over to you who bear the guilt for whatever happens to me."

With this, Pilate took Jesus outside again and announced to the Jews: "Look, I'm bringing this man back out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against him." The Jews protested: "But everywhere he goes, he stirs up the people with his teaching! It started in Galilee and has spread like wildfire all the way through Judea. And now it's here in Jerusalem!" On hearing this, Pilate asked: "Where is it you say this man comes from?" And when he learned that Jesus was a Galilean, and therefore under the tetrarch Herod's jurisdiction, he ordered the Jews to take Jesus to Herod.

It happened that Herod was in Jerusalem at that time for the Passover. Now Herod and Pilate had been enemies before this but, that day, they became friends. For Herod thought that Pilate had sent Jesus to him as a gesture of deference. Not to mention that Herod had been wanting to see Jesus for a long time because, from what he had heard about him, he hoped to see him perform some miracles. So, when Herod saw Jesus, he was greatly pleased. But even though he plied him with many questions, and had his soldiers ridicule and mock him, Jesus wouldn't even give him an answer. And finally, in complete frustration, Herod had Jesus sent back to Pilate.

It was then about six o'clock in the morning.


Mt 27:1-2;11;18
Mk 15:1-2;10
Lk 23:1-9;11-12

Jn 18:28-31;33-38
19:4;7;10-11



Condemnation


Now it was the custom during Passover week for the governor to release one prisoner chosen by the people. This ceremony took place in an area near the temple known as the Stone Pavement (in Aramaic, Gabbatha), where there was a raised platform called the Judge's Seat from which the governor conducted the proceedings. Pilate was just sitting down there when the chief priests and teachers of the law returned with Jesus from their visit to Herod.

At that moment, Pilate's wife sent him this message: "Don't do anything to that innocent man, for I suffered a great deal in a dream I had about him last night." This reinforced Pilate's inclination to set Jesus free, and he said to the Jews: "You brought me this man as one who was inciting the people to rebellion, but I examined him in your presence and found no basis for your charges against him. Neither - it seems - has Herod, for he has sent him back to us. Because you seem to have some grievance against him, I will have him punished. But then I'm going to release him."

When Pilate said this, the chief priests and other officials all cried out: "No! Rid us of him! Crucify him!" Pilate asked them, "But why? What crime has this man committed? As far as I can see, he has done nothing to deserve the death penalty."

With that, the Jews began to vehemently accuse Jesus of every crime imaginable. But although he was standing right there, Jesus would not reply to even to a single charge. Pilate asked him, "Don't you hear the things they are accusing you of? Aren't you going to answer them?" And to Pilate's great amazement, Jesus would not answer him either! "Do you refuse to speak to me, too?" Pilate asked. But Jesus still made no reply.

So Pilate turned to the crowd that by now had gathered and said: "What about you? What do you say? It's the custom for me to release one prisoner to you at the time of the Passover. Do you want me to give you this Jesus, who is called 'Christ' and 'King of the Jews'?" But the chief priests shouted down the people, calling out: "He's not our king! We have no king but Caesar!" And, "If you let this man go you are no friend of Caesar's, because anyone else who claims to be king opposes him!"

This gave Pilate pause, because he didn't want reports circulating that he was disloyal to Caesar. But, still wanting to release Jesus, he thought to give the crowd a less desirable alternative. Now, at that time, there was a notorious insurrectionist named Barabbas who was in prison awaiting execution for having committed murder during an uprising in the city. So Pilate asked, "Which one would you rather have me release to you? The one you call 'the King of the Jews', or the murderer Barabbas?" But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to have Pilate release Barabbas, and they answered: "Barabbas! Give us Barabbas!"

When Pilate saw that his efforts to release Jesus were getting nowhere - and that, instead, an uproar was developing - he decided to satisfy the crowd's demand and release Barabbas. Then he brought Jesus forward and said to them, "Here is the man Jesus. What shall I do, then, with him?" And, when the crowd saw him they shouted back with one voice, "Crucify him!" "You would have me crucify your king?" Pilate asked. And again they shouted, even louder, "Crucify him! Crucify him!"

When Pilate heard this, he finally surrendered to the will of the crowd, and he said to them in disgust: "You take him and crucify him. As for me, I am innocent of this man's blood." And he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd, saying: "It's your responsibility!" And all the people answered, "Let his blood be on us and on our children!" Then Pilate handed Jesus over to his soldiers to be tortured and crucified, and he himself went back to the governor's palace. Thus did the words that Jesus had spoken indicating the circumstances of his death begin to be fulfilled.


Mt 27:12-17;19-26
Mk 15:3-9;12-15
Lk 23:13-25

Jn 18:32;39-40
19:1;5-6;12-16



The Price of Betrayal
When Judas Iscariot heard that Jesus had been condemned to death, he was siezed with remorse. And he returned to the chief priests and the elders with the reward they'd given him for his wickedness - the thirty silver coins - and fell headlong before them. "I have sinned," he cried, "for I have betrayed innocent blood!" "What's that to us," they replied. "It's your responsibility." In deepest despair, Judas cast the money onto the temple floor, and he went away and hanged himself.
The chief priests picked up the coins Judas had thrown to the temple floor and said, "It's against the law to put this into the treasury, since it is blood money," so they used it to buy a potter's field as a burial place for foreigners. Then was that which God spoke through the prophet Jeremiah fulfilled: "The Lord commanded me: 'Throw the handsome price set on me by Israel to the potter!' So I took the thirty silver coins and threw them into the house of the Lord, and they used them to buy the potter's field."
Tradition has it that the tree from which Judas hanged himself was on that same field and that - when the branch from which he was hanging broke and his body fell to the ground - it burst open and his intestines spilled out. When the people of Jerusalem heard this story, they called that field Akeldama: the Field of Blood. And so it is called to this day.

Mt 27:1-10
Ac 1:18-19
Zec 11:13

Via Dolorosa

After Pilate acquiesced to the death sentence, his Roman guards took charge of Jesus and led him away to the Praetorium - the military exercise grounds at the governor's palace - where they called together the whole company of soldiers. They stripped Jesus and clothed him in an elegant purple robe, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and pressed it down on his head. They put a staff in his right hand, and went up to him and knelt in front of him. And they paid mock homage to him, calling out: "Hail, king of the Jews!"

When the soldiers tired of mocking Jesus, they blindfolded him. They took the staff from him and struck him on the head with it again and again, and beat him with their fists, shouting: "Prophesy to us, Christ! Who hit you?" Then they tore off the purple robe, and flogged Jesus mercilessly. And only after all this did they put his own clothes back on him and lead him out to be crucified.

As the execution detachment led Jesus away, they forced him to carry his own cross, but - because of his terrible injuries - he couldn't bear the weight of it and kept falling down. The eye of the detachment commander fell on an African in the crowd: a man from Cyrene named Simon the father of Alexander and Rufus, who was passing by on his way through the country. He ordered the soldiers to seize the man, and they put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus.

A large number of people followed the procession, including a crowd of women from the city who - as was the custom - mourned and wailed for Jesus. He turned to them and said, "Don't weep for me, daughters of Jerusalem! The time will come soon when you will say, 'Blessed are the barren women; the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed.' When you will say to the mountains, 'Fall down upon us!' and to the hills, 'Cover us up!' Weep then for yourselves, and for your children."

After this, they continued on their way until they came to a hill just outside the city called Golgotha: which, in Aramaic, means "The Place of Skulls."

It was 9:00 in the morning.

Mt 26:68
27:27-32
Mk 15:16-21
Lk 22:63-64
23:26-30
Jn 19:1-3 and 16-17
Hos 10:8

Crucifixion

There the soldiers offered Jesus wine mixed with pain-killer to drink but, after tasting it, he refused it. Then they removed his clothes and crucified him. As they did this, Jesus cried out, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing!" Two other men, convicted thieves who had been led out along with Jesus to be executed, were also crucified. Then the soldiers raised them up on their crosses, with Jesus in the middle and one of the criminals on each side of him to his right and left.

When they had completed their work, the soldiers divided Jesus' clothes into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom. "Let’s not tear it," they said to one another. "We'll decide who gets it by casting lots." And that is what they did. This happened so that the scripture might be fulfilled which said, "They divided my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing."

Now Pilate had ordered that a sign be prepared that stated the charge against Jesus and that it be fastened to the cross above his head. The notice, which was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek, read: "THIS IS JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS." The chief priests protested to Pilate: "Don't write 'The King of the Jews,' for this man only pretended to be our king." But Pilate answered, "What I have ordered written, stays written."

The soldiers made great sport of this sign and mocked Jesus, saying: "He's the king of the Jews? Let him order his subjects to take him down from the cross!" And many passers-by also came up and mocked him: "This is the Christ? The Chosen One who trusts in God completely? Well, since he delights in him so much, let God deliver this Christ now - if he wants him! - so that we may see and believe in him."

In the same way, the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders sneered at Jesus among themselves, saying: "So! You who were going to destroy the temple and build it back up in three days! Who said, 'I am the Son of God!' Who claimed to have saved countless others! Now here he is," they said shaking their heads, "and he can't even save himself."

And even one of the thieves who hung there with Jesus hurled insults at him: "Aren't you the Christ? The Son of God? If you are, save yourself and us as well!" But the other criminal rebuked him. "Leave him alone!" he said. "Don't you fear God? We may be under the same sentence as this man, but we are punished justly and are only getting what our deeds deserve. He has done nothing wrong." Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." And Jesus said to him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise."

After a while, the soldiers sat down directly beneath Jesus to keep watch over him, and the people who had come to witness the spectacle gathered as closely as they could to the cross. But all those who knew Jesus - including a number of women who had followed Jesus to Jerusalem from Galilee in order to care for his needs - stood watching from a distance. Among them were Jesus' mother Mary and her sister; Mary Magdalene; "the other Mary" (the wife of Clopus and mother of James the Younger and Joses); Salome and the mother of Zebedee's sons, James and John. John himself was there as well; the only one of the Twelve who was present at the crucifixion. When Jesus saw his mother there and John standing nearby, he called out to her, "Dear woman, here is your son!" and to John, "Here is your mother!" And, from that time on, John took Mary into his own home.

The hours dragged by in awful silence until about noon, when Jesus suddenly cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?" (which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?") When some of those standing nearby heard this, they misunderstood and said, "Listen! He's calling Elijah!" Others in the crowd said, "Now, let's see if Elijah can get him down from there!"

But then the sun stopped shining and, for the next three hours, darkness came over the whole land!

And so when Jesus said later on, "I'm thirsty," one man immediately ran and got a sponge and soaked it in a jar filled with wine vinegar. And they put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant and lifted it to Jesus' lips.

After Jesus had received the drink, knowing that all was now completed and that the Scripture would be fulfilled, he said: "Father! Into your hands I commit my spirit!" Again he called out in a loud voice: "It is finished." And with that, he bowed his head and breathed his last.

At that moment, the earth shook violently! Rocks split, and the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom! The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life and came out of the tombs, and they went into Jerusalem where they appeared to many people.

When those who were standing near the cross saw these things they were terrified, and they beat their breasts and ran frantically away. And when the commander of the soldiers who were guarding the place heard Jesus' cry and saw how he died, he was awestruck and exclaimed, "Surely, this man was indeed the Son of God!"

Mt 27:33-56
Mk 15:22-41
Lk 23:32-49
Jn 19:17-30
Ps 22:1;8;18

Burial

Now because of the Passover, the next day was to be a special Sabbath: thus it was the Jewish Day of Preparation (the day before the Sabbath), when all work had to be completed by sundown. And the law of Moses states that, "If a man guilty of a capital offense is put to death and his body is hung on a tree, you must not leave it there overnight but must bury him that same day." So, as evening approached and the Sabbath was about to begin, the Jews - who did not want the bodies left on the crosses - asked Pilate to have the legs of the condemned broken to hasten death, and the bodies taken down.

And so, on Pilate's orders, the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus' side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: "The Lord protects all of his bones. Not one of them will be broken." And, as another scripture says, "They will look on me, the one they have pierced."

Now there was a rich man named Joseph from the Judean town of Arimathea who had become a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jews. He was, himself, a prominent member of the ruling council but - being a good and upright man waiting for the kingdom of God - he had not consented to the council's decision and action regarding Jesus. And now Joseph went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus' body.

Pilate was surprised to hear that Jesus was already dead and, summoning the centurion, asked him if it was so. When he learned from the centurion that Jesus had indeed died, Pilate ordered that his body be given to Joseph. And armed with Pilate's permission, Joseph came and took Jesus' body down from the cross and carried it away. He was accompanied by Nicodemus, that same Pharisee and council member who had visited Jesus secretly earlier on.

Near the place where Jesus was crucified there was a garden and, in it, Joseph's own newly-built tomb - one in which no one had yet been laid - that he had cut out of the rock. And, since the tomb was close by, it was there that they took Jesus. Joseph bought some linen cloth, and Nicodemus brought about seventy-five pounds of myrrh and aloes. Taking Jesus' body, the two of them wrapped it - with the spices - in strips of the clean linen cloth and placed it in the tomb. All this was in accordance with Jewish burial customs. Then they rolled a large stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away.

Two of the women who had come with Jesus from Galilee - Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, the mother of James and Joses - had followed Joseph and Nicodemus to where they laid Jesus. And, sitting there opposite the tomb, they had watched as the two men prepared his body. Now they went to obtain additional spices and perfumes so that they might more thoroughly anoint Jesus. But the Sabbath was about to begin and so, in obedience to the commandments, they returned to where they were staying and rested.

Later that evening, the chief priests and Pharisees went to Pilate and said, "Sir, we just remembered that while he was still alive that deceiver Jesus told everyone, 'After three days I will rise again.' We're concerned that his disciples may come and steal the body to make people think that he has been raised from the dead. So we respectfully suggest that you give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, this last deception could be worse than the first." "Very well," Pilate answered. "Take one or two guards, and go and make the tomb as secure as you know how!" So they went and, by putting a seal on the stone and posting guards, made the tomb secure.

Mt 27:57-65
Mk 15:42-47
Lk 23:50-56
Jn 19:31-42
Ex 12:46
Dt 21:22-23

Nu 9:12
Ps 34:19-20
Zec 12:10

Resurrection!

The day after the special Sabbath was a Saturday, the regular weekly Sabbath, and so it was Sunday before the women could return to the tomb. Very early in the morning - while it was still dark - Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and two of the other women, Joanna and Salome, took the spices they had prepared and set out. It was just after sunrise as they approached the tomb, and the women began to wonder how they might roll the stone - which was very large - away from the entrance.

Suddenly, there was a violent earthquake and the women, frightened, fell with their faces to the ground. And an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone! His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. When the guards saw this, they were so afraid that they shook and then became frozen in place like dead men.

When the women looked up and found that the stone had been removed from the entrance to the tomb - and saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting beside it - they, too, were alarmed. But the angel said to them, "Don't be afraid, for I know that you are here looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. Come, and see the place where they laid him."

Still trembling and afraid, the women approached the tomb. But when they bent over to look inside, they did not find the body of Jesus. Instead, they saw two more men in white seated: one at the head and the other at the foot of where Jesus' body had been. "Who is it that you are looking for?" they asked. "The Lord," the women replied. But the men said to them, "Why do you look for the living among the dead? Don't you remember how he told you while he was still with you in Galilee: 'The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.' He is not here. Just as he said, he has risen!"

While the women remembered Jesus' words, they were bewildered by all this, and stood outside the tomb wondering about it. Mary Magdalene was crying and, as she wept, Jesus himself suddenly appeared to them! He spoke first to Mary. "Greetings, woman," he said. "Why are you crying?" She turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but didn't realize that it was him. And, thinking he was the gardener, she said, "Sir, they have taken my Lord out of the tomb, and I don't know where they have put him! If you have carried him away, tell me where, and I will get him."

Then Jesus said to her, "Don't be afraid, Mary." And she cried out, "Rabboni!" (which means "Dear Teacher" in Aramaic). At this, the women all came to Jesus, and they clasped his feet and worshipped him. But he said to them, "Don't hold on to me. Instead, go quickly to my brothers and tell them: 'He has not yet returned to the Father but, just as he told you, has risen from the dead'!"

And so the women hurried away from the tomb filled with joy, and went running to tell Jesus' disciples the news. They said nothing to anyone on their way, because they were still frightened by all the amazing things they had seen and heard.

Mt 28: 1-7; 9-10
Mk 16: 1-9
Lk 24: 1-8; 10
Jn 20: 1-2; 11-17

While the women were on their way, the guards at the tomb recovered from their paralysis, and they went into the city to report to the chief priests everything that had happened. When the priests had heard their story, they met with the elders and devised a plan to suppress this information. They gave the soldiers a large sum of money, telling them, "You are to say, 'His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.' If the governor hears about it, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble." The soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And so, to this very day, this story is widely circulated among some of the Jews.

Mt 28: 11-15

When the women got back from the tomb, they found the eleven Apostles and the other disciples who had followed Jesus to Jerusalem mourning and weeping. Mary Magdalene cried out to them, "I have seen the Lord! He is alive!" and she and the other women told the men what Jesus had said to them. But what they heard seemed like nonsense to the disciples, and they didn't believe it. They still didn't understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.

Both Peter and John, however, got up and started running for the tomb. John outran Peter and got there first. He bent over and looked in, but didn't go inside. Then Peter arrived and, together, they went into the tomb. But all they found were the strips of linen and, folded up by itself separate from the linen, the burial cloth that had been around Jesus' head. Finally, the two disciples went back to where they were staying. Because of what he saw, John believed that Jesus had indeed risen. But Peter was still wondering to himself what had happened.

Mt 28:8
Mk 16:10-11
Lk 24:9 and 11-12
Jn 20:3-10 and 18

Later that same day, two of Jesus' disciples were walking to a village out in the country called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking about everything that had happened and - as they discussed these things with each other, their faces downcast - Jesus himself came up and walked along with them! They too, however, failed at first to recognize him.

"What are you discussing together so intently as you walk along?" Jesus asked them. They stopped and one of them, named Cleopas, asked him, "Are you only a visitor to Jerusalem and do not know the things that have happened there these past few days?" "What things?" he asked. "About Jesus of Nazareth," they replied.

"He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. We had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel but, three days ago, the chief priests handed him over to be sentenced to death and our Roman rulers crucified him. What's more, some of our women went to his tomb early this morning but didn't find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels and that he was alive! We were amazed, and some of our companions immediately ran to the tomb. They found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see. Now, we don't know what to think."

Jesus said to them, "How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Didn't the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?" And beginning with Moses and and the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in the Scriptures concerning himself.

As they approached Emmaus, Jesus acted as if he were going farther, but they urged him strongly: "Stay with us, for it's nearly evening and the day is almost over." So he went in with them. When he was at the table, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Their eyes were opened and they recognized him but, at that very moment, he disappeared from their sight! They asked each other, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?" And they immediately got up and hurried back to Jerusalem.

Mk 16:12
Lk 24:13-33

When the two got back to Jerusalem later that evening, they found the other disciples assembled together in a room with the doors locked for fear of the Jews. When they finally succeeded in getting them to open the door, which was quickly relocked behind them, the two rushed in saying: "It's true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to us!" And they reported what had happened on their way to Emmaus, and how they had finally recognized Jesus when he broke the bread. But Peter and the others didn't believe them any more than they had believed the women earlier.

They were still arguing about this as they began eating, when Jesus himself appeared and stood among them! And he said to them, "Peace be with you."

When they saw the Lord, the disciples were startled and frightened, thinking that he was a ghost.

But Jesus rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him, saying to them: "Why are you troubled and why do doubts arise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I, myself. Touch me and see! A ghost doesn't have flesh and bones, as you see I have." And he showed them his hands and feet and side.

Even after Jesus said this, some of them still couldn't believe it. So he asked them, "Do you have anything here to eat?" They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it in their presence. Then even the most skeptical of the disciples were filled with joy and amazement. Jesus had risen indeed!

Now one of the apostles, Thomas, was not with the others when Jesus came. They told him, "We have seen the Lord!" But he said to them, "Unless I, myself, see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it."

A week later, the disciples were back in the same house - again with the doors locked - and this time Thomas was with them. And once again Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!" And he turned to Thomas and asked: "Now will you believe the evidence of your own senses and stop this doubting? Look at my hands! Put your finger here in these wounds! Reach out your hand and put it into my side!"

Thomas did as Jesus told him, and then exclaimed: "My Lord and my God!" Jesus said to him, "You have believed because you have seen me with your own eyes. But even more blessed will be those in years to come who will not have seen, and yet have believed."

Mk 16:13-14
Lk 24:33-43

Jn 20:19-20 and 24-29

 

All original text © 2003 by The Wayne Chaffer Estate
The Holy Bible, New International Version © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

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