EASTER – WHAT HAPPENED?

(You can listen to this audio as you read along and pause the audio to follow the page links which give important details on this teaching, the resume the audio when you are ready. Please note that I use page links in lieu of footnotes or references for important details.)

EASTER – WHAT REALLY HAPPENED?

Matthew 27:1  “Now when morning came, all the chief priests and the elders of the people conferred together against Jesus to put Him to death;

2 and they bound Him and led Him away, and handed Him over to Pilate the governor.

3 Then when Judas, who had betrayed Him, saw that He had been condemned, he felt remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, 4 saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.”

But they said, “What is that to us? You shall see to it yourself!” 5 And he threw the pieces of silver into the temple sanctuary and left; and he went away and hanged himself.

6 The chief priests took the pieces of silver and said, “It is not lawful to put them in the temple treasury, since it is money paid for blood.” 7 And they conferred together and with the money bought the Potter’s Field as a burial place for strangers.

8 For this reason that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day. 9 Then that which was spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: “AND THEY TOOK THE THIRTY PIECES OF SILVER, THE PRICE OF THE ONE WHOSE PRICE HAD BEEN SET by the sons of Israel; AND THEY GAVE THEM FOR THE POTTER’S FIELD, JUST AS THE LORD DIRECTED ME.”

11 Now Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor questioned Him, saying, “So You are the King of the Jews?” And Jesus said to him, “It is as you say.”

12 And while He was being accused by the chief priests and elders, He did not offer any answer. 13 Then Pilate said to Him, “Do You not hear how many things they are testifying against You?” 14 And still He did not answer him in regard to even a single charge, so the governor was greatly amazed.

15 Now at the Passover Feast the governor was accustomed to release for the people any one prisoner whom they wanted. 16 And at that time they were holding a notorious prisoner called Barabbas. 17 So when the people gathered together, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release for you: Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?” 18 For he knew that it was because of envy that they had handed Him over.

19 And while he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent him a message, saying, “See that you have nothing to do with that righteous Man; for last night I suffered greatly in a dream because of Him.”

20 But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas, and to put Jesus to death. 21 And the governor said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?” And they said, “Barabbas.”

22Pilate said to them, “Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said, “Crucify Him!” 23 But he said, “Why, what evil has He done?” Yet they kept shouting all the more, saying, “Crucify Him!”

24 Now when Pilate saw that he was accomplishing nothing, but rather that a riot was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this Man’s blood; you yourselves shall see.” 25 And all the people replied, “His blood shall be on us and on our children!” 26 Then he released Barabbas for them; but after having Jesus flogged, he handed Him over to be crucified.

27 Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole Roman cohort to Him. 28 And they stripped Him and put a red cloak on Him. 29 And after twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and put a reed in His right hand; and they knelt down before Him and mocked Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 30 And they spit on Him, and took the reed and beat Him on the head. 31 And after they had mocked Him, they took the cloak off Him and put His own garments back on Him, and led Him away to crucify Him.

32 As they were coming out, they found a man of Cyrene named Simon, whom they compelled to carry His cross.

33 And when they came to a place called Golgotha, which means Place of a Skull, 34 they gave Him wine mixed with bile to drink; and after tasting it, He was unwilling to drink it.

35And when they had crucified Him, they divided His garments among themselves by casting lots. 36 And sitting down, they began to keep watch over Him there. 37 And above His head they put up the charge against Him which read, “THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.”

38 At that time two rebels were being crucified with Him, one on the right and one on the left. 39 And those passing by were speaking abusively to Him, shaking their heads, 40 and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” 41 In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes and elders, were mocking Him and saying, 42 “He saved others; He cannot save Himself! He is the King of Israel; let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe in Him. 43  HE HAS TRUSTED IN GOD; LET GOD RESCUE Him now, IF HE TAKES PLEASURE IN HIM; for He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” 44 And the rebels who had been crucified with Him were also insulting Him in the same way.

45 Now from the sixth hour darkness fell upon all the land until the ninth hour. 46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “ELI, ELI, LEMA SABAKTANEI?” that is, “MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?” 47 And some of those who were standing there, when they heard it, said, “This man is calling for Elijah.” 48 And immediately one of them ran, and taking a sponge, he filled it with sour wine and put it on a reed, and gave Him a drink. 49 But the rest of them said, “Let us see if Elijah comes to save Him.”

50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and gave up His spirit. 51 And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split. 52 Also the tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; 53 and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection, they entered the holy city and appeared to many.

54 Now as for the centurion and those who were with him keeping guard over Jesus, when they saw the earthquake and the other things that were happening, they became extremely frightened and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!”

55 And many women were there watching from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee while caring for Him. 56 Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.

57 Now when it was evening, a rich man from Arimathea came, named Joseph, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus. 58 This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. 59 And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 60 and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had cut out in the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the entrance of the tomb and went away.

61 And Mary Magdalene was there, and the other Mary, sitting opposite the tomb.

62 Now on the next day, that is, the day which is after the preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered together with Pilate, 63 and they said, “Sir, we remember that when that deceiver was still alive, He said, ‘After three days I am rising.’ 64 Therefore, give orders for the tomb to be made secure until the third day; otherwise, His disciples may come and steal Him, and say to the people, ‘He has risen from the dead,’ and the last deception will be worse than the first.” 65 Pilate said to them, “You have a guard; go, make it as secure as you know how.” 66 And they went and made the tomb secure with the guard, sealing the stone.

1 Now after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to look at the tomb. 2 And behold, a severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone, and sat upon it. 3 And his appearance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. 4 The guards shook from fear of him and became like dead men. 5 And the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. 6 He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying. 7 And go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead; and behold, He is going ahead of you to Galilee. There you will see Him; behold, I have told you.”

8 And they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to report to His disciples. 9And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Rejoice!” And they came up and took hold of His feet, and worshiped Him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go, bring word to My brothers to leave for Galilee, and there they will see Me.”

11 Now while they were on their way, some of the men from the guard came into the city and reported to the chief priests all that had happened. 12 And when they had assembled with the elders and consulted together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, 13 nd said, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came at night and stole Him while we were asleep.’ 14 And if this comes to the governor’s ears, we will appease him and keep you out of trouble.” 15 And they took the money and did as they had been instructed; and this story was widely spread among the Jews and is to this day.

16 But the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated to them. 17 And when they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some were doubtful. 18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. 19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to follow all that I commanded you; and behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

It is good to know about this world changing event. I ask again, “What just happened?”

Many regular church attenders and many who call themselves Christians, cannot answer that question. They can tell you some of what they have just read or have seen in a church play, but know little more.

JUST SO YOU KNOW

Easter is about Jesus, an innocent man, Who was condemned by men, crucified, died, buried and then rose from the dead after three days in the tomb.

His offense? Jesus, was sent by God into this world to seek out and save lost humanity and to testify to the truth. But men, being evil, hated the light of the truth, so ironically, they killed Him, their only hope.

But this was just the ‘beginning of the end of God’s plan’ to the world. This plan began in the Garden of Eden and has been played out over the centuries that followed.

The penalty for man’s sin of rebellion and defiance against God, was death and eternal separation from God. But God, being merciful, offered His chosen people, (the Jews and later, anyone who would believe on Jesus and would follow Him), a way to be cleansed of their sins. It was called the Mosaic Covenant.

The Mosaic Covenant was centered around God’s giving His divine law to Moses on Mount Sinai. It was a conditional covenant in that the blessings that God promises are directly related to Israel’s obedience to the Mosaic Law. If Israel is obedient, then God will bless them, but if they disobey, then God will punish them. The blessings and curses that are associated with this conditional covenant are found in detail in Deuteronomy 28 -30.

But, the end result is that God said, in Deuteronomy 30:15,  “See, I have placed before you today life and happiness, and death and adversity, in that I am commanding you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments, so that you may live and become numerous, and that the Lord your God may bless you in the land where you are entering to take possession of it. But if your heart turns away and you will not obey, but allow yourself to be led astray and you worship other gods and serve them, I declare to you today that you will certainly perish.”

God then gave the people a sacrifical system to atone for their sins.

THE PASSOVER (EASTER)

The book of Exodus tells of the origin of Passover. God promised to redeem His people from the bondage of Pharaoh (Exodus 6:6). God sent Moses to the Egyptian king with the command that Pharaoh “let my people go” (Exodus 8:1). When Pharaoh refused, God brought ten plagues on the land of Egypt. The tenth and worst of the plagues was the death of all the firstborn in Egypt.

The night of the first Passover was the night of the tenth plague. On that fateful night, God told the Israelites to sacrifice a spotless lamb and mark their doorposts and lintels with its blood (Exodus 12:21–22). Then, when the Lord passed through the nation, He would “pass over” the households that showed the blood (verse 23). In a very real way, the blood of the lamb saved the Israelites from death, as it kept the destroyer from entering their homes. The Israelites were saved from the plague, and their firstborn children stayed alive. From then on, every firstborn son of the Israelites belonged to the Lord and had to be redeemed with a sacrifice (Exodus 13:1–2, 12; cf. Luke 2:22–24).

The children of Israel in Egypt followed God’s command and kept the first Passover. However, none of the Egyptians did so. All through Egypt, behind the unmarked, bloodless doorways of the Egyptians, the firstborn children died at midnight (Exodus 12:21–29). “There was loud wailing in Egypt, for there was not a house without someone dead” (verse 30). This dire judgment finally changed the Egyptian king’s heart, and he released the Israelite slaves (verses 31–32).

Along with the instruction to apply the Passover lamb’s blood to their doorposts and lintels, God instituted a commemorative meal: fire-roasted lamb, bitter herbs, and unleavened bread (Exodus 12:8). The Lord told the Israelites to “observe this rite as a statute for you and for your sons forever” (Exodus 12:24, ESV), even when in a foreign land.

To this day, Jews all over the world celebrate the Passover in obedience to this command. Passover and the story of the exodus have great significance for Christians also, as Jesus Christ fulfilled the Law, including the symbolism of the Passover (Matthew 5:17). Jesus is our Passover (1 Corinthians 5:7; Revelation 5:12). He was killed at Passover time, and the Last Supper was a Passover meal (Luke 22:7–8). By (spiritually) applying His blood to our lives by faith, we trust Christ to save us from death. The Israelites who, in faith, applied the blood of the Paschal lamb to their homes become a model for us. It was not the Israelites’ ancestry or good standing or amiable nature that saved them; it was only the blood of the lamb that made them exempt from death (see John 1:29 and Revelation 5:9–10). (From GotQuestions.Org)

God has told us that we all are sinners and that there is a penalty for sin which is both a physcial and a spritual death.

But God, being rich in mercy, sent Jesus, the pefect sacrificial Lamb, to die in our place, thereby once and for all times, paying the penalty for the sins of all who would beleive and accept Him as Lord and savior.

The part we play is to accept God forgiveness and receive our salvation by believing in Jesus. The Bible says that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. Then you must follow Him by what He has said we must do.

The Bible tells us that God gave His only begotten Son, so that all who would believe in Him, (that is, Jesus), would not perish but would have eternal life. John 3:16.

Jesus has said to all who have the ears to hear, “In My Father’s house are many rooms; if that were not so, I would have told you, because I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I am coming again and will take you to Myself, so that where I am, there you also will be.” John 14:2-3.

Jesus also told us, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest”. Matthew 11:28.

Another time He said, “Come, follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” Matthew 4:19.

Now, Jesus is telling you, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to follow all that I commanded you; and behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20

So, what will you do with what you now know?

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young

PS –  (1).  God’s plan is unfolding and is near a conclusion.

(2). That conclusion leads to God’s Perfection of His people (Christians) and

(3). The final act of doing away with the old and the coming of the new heavens and the new earth.

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