Saturday, April 11, 2009
Happy Easter to us all! This is the most important celebration to us as Christians, as we celebrate our Risen Lord!
Friday I watched "The 700 Club" on CBN, and saw two video clips that absolutely amazed me. The first one shows the fulfilling of many OT prophecies in Jesus' life, deat and resurrection. The second one shows images from Jerusalem, and details some of the controversies between archeology and tradition. I listened to both clips, writing down word for word what was said. I have also included the links, and would encourage you to watch both clips online for yourself. I stand in awe yet again, of our God and His Word!
The first one is entitled: "The Jewish Jesus: Lamb of God"
Many Jews came to celebrate Passover. Among them was Jesus. Christianity began as a part of Judaism. The Jewish groups had their focus on a single person, Jesus. Five days before Passover, the lambs were brought to Jerusalem to be chosen for sacrifice. On the same day, Jesus entered the city for His last time before His death.
500 years earlier Zechariah announced His arrival: “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey.” (Zech. 9:9, NKJV) The donkey represented a Messiah coming who was meek and lowly, not of political power or as one with a sword in His hand to overthrow the Romans. Christ arrived and the people shouted, “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Ps. 118: 25-26, NKJV)
The first stop was to wash in the Pool of Siloam and there He saw the fulfillment of Isaiah 35: 4-5 (NKJV): “Say to those who are fearful-hearted, ‘Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, With the recompense of God; He will come and save you.’ Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, And the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.” It was here Jesus healed the blind man by putting mud on his eyes. Why? The waters were considered to be of the highest purity, because they issue out from underneath the Temple itself. So Jesus waited to make sure he got the best. The blind cannot see and if they touch something unclean, they cannot go up into the Temple. Now he could go in the Temple. This is a great example of “I have a fact that supersedes your law and reasoning. I was blind, but now I see!”
The west wall of the Temple mound has booths. In Jesus’ day they would be filled with merchants and money changers. Some say it was here He fulfilled another prophecy~ Malachi 3:1: “Behold, I send My messenger, And he will prepare the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple, even the Messenger of the covenant, In whom you delight. Behold, He is coming,” says the LORD of hosts. (NKJV) So God said the Lord would come to the Temple and purify the religious system. Christ fulfills what has to happen before the 2nd Temple is destroyed. Jesus overturned the tables of the money changers, as spoken by the words of the prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah:
“Has this house, which is called by My name, become a den of thieves in your eyes? Behold, I, even I, have seen it,” says the LORD” (Jer. 7:11, NKJV).
“Even them I will bring to My holy mountain, And make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices Will be accepted on My altar; For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations” (Isa. 56:7house of prayer for all nations” (Isa. 56:7, NKJV).
If we rightly understand the Hebrew Bible either Jesus is our Messiah or there can never be a Messiah. The Messianic Era had to begin before the 2nd Temple was destroyed. Otherwise, there can be no redemption.
Jesus himself predicted the destruction of the Temple in Mark 13:2: “And Jesus answered and said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone shall be left upon another, that shall not be thrown down” (NKJV). The chief priests saw Jesus’ words as a threat. From then on they planned to kill him; and they got help from one of his disciples, Judas.
We will never know what was going on in the mind of Judas Iscariot. We do know that in the mind of Jesus’ followers this was a great betrayal. On the night before the Passover Jesus and His disciples gathered one last time to celebrate the Sater. Jesus is preparing His disciples for the trauma about to unfold. He said, “Now let me tell you what it means to be the Messiah. I’m going to be arrested; I’m going to be mocked and beaten; I’m going to be put to death and on the 3rd day I will rise again.”
During the meal Jesus handed Judas a piece of bread, identifying the one who would betray him, a signal David had prophesied in the Psalms: “Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted, Who ate my bread, Has lifted up his heel against me” (Ps. 41:9, NKJV). The chief priest paid Judas 30 pieces of silver to hand over Jesus, the price of a common slave. Overcome with guilt, Judas later tried to give back the money. The priests refused. So Judas threw the silver on the floor of the Temple, then went out and killed himself. With the blood money they bought the Potters Field. Tradition says this is where Judas hanged himself. And today it is still known as “the field of blood”.
Five hundred years earlier, Zechariah had predicted the price on Jesus’ head, as well as the act of Judas throwing the money into the house of the Lord to the potter: “Then I said to them, “If it is agreeable to you, give me my wages; and if not, refrain.” So they weighed out for my wages thirty pieces of silver. And the LORD said to me, “Throw it to the potter”—that princely price they set on me. So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the LORD for the potter” (Zech. 11: 12-13, NKJV)
While Judas carried out his betrayal, the rest of the disciples finished the Passover meal. They sang a hymn called, “The Great Praise”, or “Halal” in Hebrew. The words written by King David a thousand years earlier took on new meaning as Jesus headed closer to the cross: “God is the LORD, And He has given us light; Bind the sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar” (Ps. 118:27, NKJV).
This is the song Jesus sang after He lifted up the cup of the New Covenant in His blood ~ “I will take up the cup of salvation and call upon the name of the Lord. I shall not die, but live; and declare the works of the Lord. This is the day that the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it (Ps. 116: 13-15; Ps. 118:24, NKJV). Then they sang the same words the crowds had shouted a few days earlier when Jesus entered Jerusalem: “Save now, I pray, O LORD; O LORD, I pray, send now prosperity. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD. We have blessed you from the house of the LORD” (Ps. 118: 25-26, NKJV).
The second one is entitled: "The Journey to the Cross”
The road Jesus is said to have walked down on the way to His death is the “Via Dolorosa”, which means “The Way of Suffering”.
The Gospels tell us Jesus spent his last night on the Mount of Olives, in the Garden of Gethsemane. Here Judas betrayed Him, and the Temple guard arrested him. They led Jesus down through the Kidron Valley and up to Mt. Zion, to the home of Caiaphas, the high priest. There is now a church built on the ruins of the house of the high priest. Under the house is a cistern, the prison where Jesus may have been held the night before He died. It’s a very interesting room. It’s carved out of rock and is a place where you could store water, but in this case a prisoner could be lowered through that opening (a photo) and have no way of escape. It makes us think of the Psalm where David writes, “Oh Lord, I’ve been cast into the pit with no way of escape”. (Clarie Pfann) The next morning Jesus was taken to Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of Judea. This is where archaeology takes a detour from tradition. The real archaeology of Jerusalem began in a serious way from 67 on. That means for the last 40 years there’s been a real opportunity to get down to the 1st Century Jerusalem and to find out where things lay in that city at the time of Jesus. (A diagram is shown)~ This is Station 2 of the way of the cross. In Jesus’ day the Antonia Fortress stood here, the headquarters for the Roman Army. Tradition says this is the place where Pilate put Jesus on trial. Archaeology says tradition is wrong. “We know that Roman soldiers were encamped in that area of the Antonia Fortress. The NW Corner of the city was a garrison for Roman soldiers who were keeping peace and watching over the Temple mount. But, of course, the governor doesn’t live in the garrison with the soldiers. The governor lives in the palace with the guards.” (Claire Pfann) That palace was a half a mile away, on the western side of the city.
Under this tower (photo) are the remains of King Herod’s palace. When Pilate came to Jerusalem, this (photo) is where he stayed. Just outside the tower wall is an ancient stone platform. Archaeologists say this is the judgment seat where Jesus was tried. “The palace of Pontius Pilate and the palace of Herod lay behind this wall (photo). So this is really the most likely candidate for Jesus having come from the South, outside of the city wall, to His trial. (Photo) This is where Pilate washed his hands, and made his famous statement “Behold the man!”
Scholars may disagree on the path Jesus took, but most agree his final steps led here (photo), to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher”. The Roman emperor, Constantine, built the church in 335 to mark the site of Jesus’ death and burial. It’s one spot where archaeology and tradition agree. “Helen, the mother of Constantine, went around and interviewed Christians who lived here to find out what their memories were – the memories that the local church preserved. She finds this spot (photo) which local Christians have venerated as the burial place of Jesus”. (Claire Pfann) in Jesus’ time, Golgotha was a rocky cliff that may have looked something like this (photo). Today what’s left of the original hill is inside the church. “This bedrock, which begins here, extends up over our heads about 40 feet! This little bit has been left to show us because this “I the traditional site of Golgotha, or Calvary, where Jesus was crucified. John’s gospel says Jesus was buried close to the place where he died. Inside the church is a tomb that’s said to belong to the man who buried Jesus.” Traditionally ascribed to Joseph of Arimathea, here right next to Calvary, we find in the rock quite distinctive 2nd Temple period tombs.
Every year millions of Christians visit the Holy Sepulcher and walk “The Via Dolorosa’, while authentic sites like this one (photo) are still unknown to many tourists. For the followers of Jesus the important thing isn’t where He walked, but what He accomplished: “I think it’s kind of ironic and powerful to think that when Jesus might have walked down this road (photo) the first time, and He went to pray…yeah, and on the Mount of Olives, he has to make a decision: is He going to stay and see it through to His death, or is He just going to run over the hill, because on the Mount of Olives you could run off into the desert, and never be found again. And He stayed, He had the victory in His prayer, and when He came back, He came back ready to lay down His life for all of us”.
Again, I wish you a blessed, holy, happy, and joyous day of celebrating our Lord!
And... I grateful I am alive and able to freely worship at church and celebrate the risen Savior, the Lover of my soul, my Redeemer, my friend, my Lord, and my bridegroom!"
Posted by Lolli (aka Lisa) at 9:22 PM