“If we could read the secret history of our enemies,
we should find in each man’s life
sorrow and suffering enough
to disarm all hostility.”
— Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Having two of our granddaughters living with us has afforded a whole new way to look at holidays and birthdays and pretty much every day that carries with it a reason to regard it as special. To wake up on Christmas morning and share in the exciting reveal of “Santa gifts” is such a priceless honor!
We all play the Santa game, but the girls know that Santa Claus is a fictional character who simply adds fun to the joyous celebration of Jesus’ birthday. And we all know that Jesus wasn’t actually born on December 25th in a snowstorm. Thanks to the amazing collection of information on the Internet, we can be “certain” that Jesus was actually born in April, either on the 6th or the 17th… or maybe the 19th. But of course there’s the possibility that Mary may have held off until October 9th. At any rate, we choose to join with other Christians around the world and sing “Happy Birthday, dear Jesus” on the date that has become most universally accepted.
I do remember, though, getting a bit huffy as a youngster whenever someone challenged, “But how do you know that Jesus was born on December 25th?” I would always confidently answer, “Because my church says so!” However, during my teen years, as the traditional remembrances surrounding Easter rolled around – Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Resurrection on Sunday morning – it began to bother me that all of that simply didn’t jibe with what I was reading in my Bible. Actually, that really bothered me. And as usual, I wasn’t able to find anyone, including pastors, who could give me a satisfactory answer.
My problem was this: If Jesus said He would be in the grave for three days and three nights (Matthew 12:40), why do we jump from the crucifixion on Friday to the resurrection on Sunday. No matter how I tried to rationalize that, it simply doesn’t work. So for years I wondered: Why did Jesus say that?
I finally found the answer – you guessed it – after my fibromyalgia diagnosis, during the time when I had no choice but to be still and let God teach me some things that I’d been too busy to pick up on earlier. Lo and behold, into my hands came a book titled A Scientific Approach To Biblical Mysteries by Robert W. Faid (1993; Guideposts and New Leaf Press). And in Chapter 6 – under the presumptuous title, “When Was the Crucifixion? It Wasn’t on a Friday!” I found the answers I had been seeking for decades.
But first, let’s go back to the fourth century and the Roman Emporer Constantine, who apparently forgot that Jesus Himself was a Jew, because in the year 325, he ordered all Jews to leave Rome. At that time, the Nicaean Council ruled that Christians could have nothing to do with Jews, including the celebration of Passover. Instead they instituted the pagan holiday known as “Easter” to commemorate Christ’s death and resurrection in a “non-Jewish” sort of way.
According to Jewish custom and the Gospel writers, here’s how it all went down:
ON SATURDAY, (the Jewish Sabbath) Jesus entered Jerusalem on the colt of a donkey in fulfillment of Zechariah’s prophecy (Zechariah 9:9). Christians call this Palm Sunday.
ON SUNDAY, Jesus entered the temple and rebuked the moneychangers.
ON MONDAY, Jesus returned to Jerusalem and taught in the temple courts. And Judas Iscariot promised to betray Jesus for 30 pieces of silver, fulfilling the Zechariah 11:12 prophecy.
ON TUESDAY, preparations were made for Wednesday’s evening meal, called the Passover Seder (commanded when the Hebrews left Egypt, led by Moses). So, Jesus sent two of His disciples to prepare a place for the Seder, Tuesday’s evening meal. (Christians call this the Last Supper).
ON TUESDAY NIGHT after the Seder, Jesus and His disciples – minus Judas – went to pray at Gethsemene. Then they walked across the Kidron Valley to an olive grove. Judas knew where they would be, and he led the chief priests straight to Jesus. In the middle of the night, Jesus was arrested for blasphemy, because He claimed to be the Son of God. He was then taken to be placed on trial.
ON WEDNESDAY MORNING, Jesus was brutalized and sentenced to death. He was nailed to the cross around 9 a.m.
ON WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON, Jesus died at 3 P.M. (Mark 15:33). His body was placed in a tomb before sundown in accordance with Jewish law.
JESUS’ BODY REMAINED IN THE TOMB FOR THREE DAYS: Thursday was Passover and people were not allowed to travel. Roman guards stood in front of the tomb. Friday was an additional Sabbath, always observed on the day after Passover, according to Jewish tradition. Saturday was a regular Sabbath with travel restrictions.
ON SUNDAY travel restrictions were lifted. Visitors were allowed at Jesus’ tomb and they saw that it was empty, except for the linen shroud and the cloth that had wrapped Jesus’ head.
So there you have it. Another “truth illusion” implemented by the dictates of men in authority and nurtured as fact throughout the passage of time.
But that was just the beginning of folklore that would ultimately shape our minds and the world we currently live in.
“Thus you nullify the word of God
by your tradition that you have handed down.
And you do many things like that.”
— Jesus (Mark 7:13)
A RUST REMOVER …
How does it make you feel that a majority of Christian churches around the world still teach the erroneous doctrine that was put into play back in Constantine’s day? Ask the Holy Spirit to help you reconcile that within yourself, know that God loves you anyway, and be at peace. Now you know the truth.