Last Hours

18 Apr

The record of the death Jesus of Nazareth by crucifixion appears not only in our faith story, the Bible, but also in the testimony a 1st century historian called Flavius Josephus. He wrote:

About this time there lived Jesus, a wise man, if indeed one ought to call him a man. For he was one who performed surprising deeds and was a teacher of such people as accept the truth gladly. He won over many Jews and many of the Greeks. He was the Messiah. And when, upon the accusation of the principal men among us, Pilate had condemned him to a cross, those who had first come to love him did not cease. He appeared to them spending a third day restored to life, for the prophets of God had foretold these things and a thousand other marvels about him. And the tribe of the Christians, so called after him, has still to this day not disappeared.

Throughout my ministry there have been folks who have questioned the power of God to raise Jesus from the dead. The one I remember most was a young man who said during a confirmation class, “OK Mary, you had me right up to that resurrection part.” His challenge was a gift to me because, it caused me to really think about how to explain why it was sensible to believe in the resurrection story of our faith.

Here’s what I came up with. The story of Jesus life is recorded in a number of ‘voices’, but all agree that everyone ran out on him in the end. [the women to sit at the foot of the cross, but they had no power to change the reality of that horrible moment.] Yet, with everyone running out, gathering behind locked doors, going to another town; Jesus was there standing among them again. AND, these people who had run out on Jesus as he was commended as a criminal where now standing in the center of Jerusalem stating loudly, for anyone to hear, that Jesus is Messiah and alive again. They were arrested, beaten, and some were killed, but it never stopped them from telling the good news of what God had done through Jesus who became our Christ.

On this Good Friday I challenge you to think about how to explain to other why these days of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection are real enough to make a difference. A difference in your life and a difference for our world. I also encourage you to walk through this day slowly, considering what God may be asking to to sacrifice for God’s glory. Peace.

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