On the last day of the festival, the great day, while Jesus was standing there, he cried out, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink. As the Scripture has said, ‘Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.’”
Now he said this about the Spirit, which believers in him were to receive … (John 7:37-39)
The Feast of Tabernacles lasted one week, beginning on the fifteenth day of the month of Tishri (September or October), five days after the Day of Atonement, at the end of the harvest. The Jewish people built temporary shelters for the feast to remember their deliverance from Egypt by the hand of God.
Jesus revealed himself at this Feast as the prophesied Messiah, the Anointed One sent by God. This caused conflict among his listeners, some believing in him and many not. Temple police had been sent to arrest him. He pointed to Scripture which he came to fulfil. The Living Water he spoke of is the Holy Spirit (John 7:39). Here are some of those Scriptures.
Moses said: The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you shall heed such a prophet. … Then the Lord replied to me: “They are right in what they have said. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their own people; I will put my words in the mouth of the prophet, who shall speak to them everything that I command.
(Deuteronomy 18:15, 17-18)
Repent therefore, and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Messiah appointed for you, that is, Jesus, who must remain in heaven until the time of universal restoration that God announced long ago through his holy prophets. Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you from your own people a prophet like me. You must listen to whatever he tells you. And it will be that everyone who does not listen to that prophet will be utterly rooted out of the people.’ And all the prophets, as many as have spoken, from Samuel and those after him, also predicted these days.
(Acts 3:22-24. Peter preaching on the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was poured out.)
As Scripture has said …
For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my spirit upon your descendants, and my blessing on your offspring. 4 They shall spring up like a green tamarisk, like willows by flowing streams.
Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you that have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.
The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your needs in parched places, and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters never fail.
Then he brought me back to the entrance of the temple; there, water was flowing from below the threshold of the temple toward the east (for the temple faced east); and the water was flowing down from below the south end of the threshold of the temple, south of the altar. Then he brought me out by way of the north gate, and led me around on the outside to the outer gate that faces toward the east; and the water was coming out on the south side.
(Ezekiel 47:1-2. and the rest of the chapter)
Jesus cried out in a loud voice in the temple when he spoke about the Living Water.
Ultimate fulfilment in the last chapter of the Bible:
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.
A summary of the events on one Jewish Day – from sunset to the next sunset.
The Passover lamb was killed that day. Jesus chose to die on that day, fulfilling the Passover and the prophecies about the Messiah/Christ – God’s Anointed One.
This Blog: selections from the book Crucified and Risen: The Easter Story.
Use and reproduce these resources any way you wish to share the Good News of Easter – He is risen indeed.
From the Introduction
The Easter Story
Tension rose. Many believed that the famous, radical young prophet from the rural hills of the village of Nazareth in the north was the long-awaited Messiah, the Christ. That ancient title Messiah (Hebrew) or Christ (Greek) meant God’s Anointed One. People believed their Messiah would free them from the tyranny of the Roman Empire and establish his eternal kingdom.
Some people, like the Zealots, wanted to fight to free their nation. Roman soldiers savagely crucified these insurrectionists as a public demonstration of the futility of opposing their Empire. One disciple of the young prophet was Simon the Zealot.
Other people, such as the Jewish leaders, co-operated with their Roman overlords, hoping to keep the peace and prevent further invasion and destruction. One of the radical prophet’s disciples was Matthew, approved as a tax collector for Rome. People regarded tax collectors as traitors.
Other disciples of the popular prophet ran a successful fishing business in Galilee, owning many boats and employing many fishermen. They returned to their business after the traumatic and confusing events of their prophet’s arrest, torture and public execution.
This radical young prophet annoyed the Jewish leaders. He broke many of their strict religious laws and traditions. He welcomed all kinds of people and was widely known as a friend of prostitutes and traitors like tax collectors. He visited their homes. He welcomed sinners to join him in the homes of strict religious leaders who were shocked, appalled and angered.
He survived many assassination attempts. Two kings, father and son, wanted to kill him (Matthew 2:13; Luke 13:31). People in his home village attempted to push him over a cliff (Luke 4:29). People in Jerusalem tried to stone him more than once (John 8:59, 10:31). Religious leaders often plotted to kill him (Matthew 12:14, 26:4; Mark 11:18; Luke 19:47). At times, his own family thought he was crazy, and many Jewish leaders said he used demonic powers (Mark 3:21-22).
So, during his three years of public teaching and preaching, he stirred up opposition as well as a huge following of people wanting healing and miracles. Then during his final journey to Jerusalem for that momentous Passover, he warned his closest followers three times that he would be arrested, tortured and executed. They could not comprehend that, and Peter earned a harsh rebuke for disagreeing with Jesus. But Jesus clearly described what lay ahead, as in this explanation:
Then he took the twelve aside and said to them, ‘See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished. For he will be handed over to the Gentiles; and he will be mocked and insulted and spat upon. After they have flogged him, they will kill him, and on the third day he will rise again.’ But they understood nothing about all these things; in fact, what he said was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said. (Luke 18:31-34, see also Luke 9:22, 44-45)
The High Priest and the chief priests of the ruling Sanhedrin were determined to kill this dangerous, radical young man. Driven by jealousy of his popularity and the threat that his popularity may lead to a possible uprising and severe Roman retaliation (as did happen around 40 years later in 70AD), the religious leaders wanted him dead and his threat removed.
Eventually they did kill him. But he chose the time and the place and the method (John 10:17-18). He was publicly crucified on the day the Passover lambs were killed. He fulfilled prophecies about the Messiah, but even his closest friends did not understand that, until later. One of his disciples betrayed him. Another fought to defend him, slicing off a high priest’s servant’s ear – which needed immediate repair. Then all his friends deserted him and fled. By nine o’clock that morning their leader and friend, the Messiah, was savagely tortured and crucified.
Romans crucified their victims along the main road just outside a town or village. They lopped trees and their victims carried the crossbar to the dreadful execution site where they were nailed to the crossbar and hoisted onto a tree trunk or stake. Peter later wrote that Jesus bore our sins in His own body on the tree (1 Peter 2:24). The execution place just outside Jerusalem’s city wall was called the place of the skull, with graves nearby. There are tombs and graves just outside that city wall even today.
Eye-witnesses saw and heard the horrendous spectacle. A few, like John, saw it from nearby. Spectators taunted the central victim: And the people stood by, watching; but the leaders scoffed at him, saying, ‘He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah of God, his chosen one!’ The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine, and saying, ‘If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!’ (Luke 23:35-37)
The three victims gasped out brief cries, one with angry accusations: One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, ‘Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!’ (Luke 23:39)
Soldiers divided the victims’ clothes among themselves, gambling for some. Eventually they smashed the legs of the two victims still alive so they died quickly, no longer able to push up from their spiked feet to gasp more breath. Religious leaders wanted them off the crosses before the Sabbath began at sunset.
The other victim was already dead so one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and blood and water flowed out.
The mystery deepened rapidly. Matthew, the disciple who had been a despised tax collector for Rome, reported that the curtain of the temple was split from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks split and tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life and came out of the tombs after the resurrection and went into the city and appeared to many people (Matthew 27:51-52).
Rumours began to spread that weekend.
Most people thought that the unbelievable rumours that the Messiah was alive were impossible, and said so. Loudly.
Only a few, very few at first, thought that it had really happened. Even after a month some still doubted that it actually happened. (Matthew 28:16-17)
They saw the awful, brutal execution. Their leader had been severely flogged and tortured early one morning before his execution. The conquering Romans made sure their victims suffered maximum agony and humiliation on thousands of crosses, suffering publicly and slowly in excruciating pain to their last agonized breath. That’s how we got our English words excruciate (ex-crux – out of the cross) and agony from the Greek word agon (struggle or contest).
Then, on the third day, he mysteriously appeared to many of his friends. That afternoon and evening he explained that the Scriptures said that the Messiah had to suffer:
Then he said to them, ‘Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?’ Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.
Then he said to them, ‘These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.’ Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem (Luke 24:25-27, 44-47).
Crucified, as thousands were, their Messiah and King then appeared mysteriously for just over a month from the full moon at Passover until his ascension beyond the clouds. Even his name, Yeshua/Joseph/Jesus told that story. It means God saves.
The Greek word Ἰησοῦς (Iesous, Yeshua), translated mostly as Jesus, but also as Joshua, means God saves, or God is salvation. English translations of the Bible traditionally use ‘Jesus’ when the reference is to Joshua/Yeshua of Nazareth and commonly as ‘Joshua’ for anyone else with that name (see Luke 3:29; Acts 7:45; Hebrews 4:8). So in English the name Jesus became unique for Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God, the Saviour of the world.
These brutal and mysterious events transformed the lives of the people involved and changed the history of the world.
Eye-witnesses wrote their reports on parchments in the Greek language, now incorporated into the New Testament, the most translated and most read book in the world. All or part of it is translated into over 3,000 languages and the whole Bible translated into over 670 languages. I use the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) in this book with other translations added occasionally.
This story covers the most momentous events in history because it not only affected those involved but also changed the lives and eternal destiny of countless millions through history.
Events in this book are reproduced in more detail in my book The Lion of Judah. There I include extra passages, some from Paul’s letters and from various passages in the New Testament including The Revelation.
In this book, I reproduce Bible passages in italics. These passages, translated from the original eye-witness reports, tell the astounding story.
Matthew, Mark and John saw it personally. Luke gathered his reports from eye-witnesses for his two books, the Gospel of Luke and The Acts of the Apostles.
Paul wrote: For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (1 Corinthians 1:18)
John penned the famous words: God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son so that whoever believes in him will not perish but will have everlasting life. (John 3:16)
SUMMARY OF EVENTS
The Last Supper
Preparation of the Passover – Mt 26:17-19 Mk 14:12-16 Lk 22:7-13
Washing the disciples’ feet – Jn 13:1-17
The breaking of bread – Mt 26:26 Mk 14:22 Lk 22:19
‘One of you shall betray me’ – Mt 26:21 Mk 14:18 Lk 22:21 Jn 13:21
‘Is it I ?’ – Mt 26:22-25 Mk 14:19
Giving of the dipped bread – Jn 13:26-27
Departure of Judas Iscariot – Jn 13:30
Peter warned – Mt 26:34 Mk 14:30 Lk 22:34 Jn 13:38
Blessing the cup – Mt 26:27,28 Mk 14:23,24 Lk 22:17
The discourses after supper – Jn 14:1-16:33
Christ’s prayer for his apostles – Jn 17:1-17:26
The hymn – Mt 26:30 Mk 14:26
Gethsemane and Trials
The agony – Mt 26:37 Mk 14:33 Lk 22:39 Jn 18:1
The thrice-repeated prayer – Mt 26:39-44 Mk 14:36-39 Lk 22:42
Sweat and angel support – Lk 22:43,44
The sleep of the apostles – Mt 26:40-45 Mk 14:37-41 Lk 22:45,46
Betrayal by Judas – Mt 26:47-50 Mk 14:34,44 Lk 22:47 Jn 18:2-5
Peter smites Malchus – Mt 26:51 Mk 14:47 Lk 22:50 Jn 18:10
Jesus heals the ear of Malchus – Lk 22:51
Jesus forsaken by disciples – Mt 26:56 Mk 14:50 1) Trial with Annas – Jn 18:12,13 2) Trial with Caiaphas – Mt 26:57 Mk 14:53 Lk 22:54 Jn 18:15
Peter follows Jesus – Mt 26:58 Mk 14:54 Lk 22:55 Jn 18:15
The high priest’s adjuration – Mt 26:63 Mk 14:61
Jesus condemned, buffeted, mocked – Mt 26:66-67 Mk 14:64-65 Lk 22:63-65
Peter’s denial of Christ – Mt 26:69-75 Mk 14:66-72 Lk 22:54-62 Jn 18:17-27 3) Trial with Pilate – Mt 27:1,2 Mk 15:1 Lk 23:1-4 Jn 18:28
Repentance of Judas – Mt 27:3
Pilate comes out to the people – Jn 18:29-32
Pilate speaks to Jesus privately – Jn 18:33-38 4) Trial with Herod – Lk 23:5-11
Jesus mocked, arrayed in purple – Lk 23:5-11 5) Trial with Pilate, scourged – Mt 27:26 Mk 15:15 Jn 19:1
Jesus crowned with thorns – Mt 27:29 Mk 15:17 Jn 19:2
‘Behold the man’ – Jn 19:5
Jesus accused formally – Mt 27:11 Mk 15:2 Lk 23:2
‘Behold your King’ – Jn 19:14
Pilate desires to release him – Mt 27:15 Mk 15:6 Lk 23:17 Jn 19:12
Pilate’s wife message – Mt 27:19
Pilate washes his hands – Mt 27:24
Pilate releases Barabbas – Mt 27:26
Pilate delivers Jesus to be crucified – Mt 27:26 Mk 15:15 Lk 23:25 Jn 19:16
Simon of Cyrene carries the cross – Mt 27:32 Mk 15:21 Lk 23:26
They give Jesus vinegar and gall – Mt 27:34 Mk 15:23 Lk 23:36
They nail him to the cross – Mt 27:35 Mk 15:24,25 Lk 23:33 Jn 19:18
The superscription – Mt 27:37 Mk 15:26 Lk 23:38 Jn 19:19 1) Father, forgive them – Lk 23:34
His garments shared – Mt 27:35 Mk 15:24 Lk 23:34 Jn 19:23
Passers-by and the two thieves revile – Mt 27:39-44 Mk 15:29-32 Lk 23:35
The penitent thief – Lk 23:40 2) Today you will be with me … Lk 23:43 3) Woman, behold your son. … Jn 19:26,27
Darkness over all the land – Mt 27:45 Mk 15:33 Lk 23:44,45 4) My God, my God, why … ? [Psalm 22:1] Mt 27:46 Mk 15:34 5) I thirst – Jn 19:28 [Psalm 22:15 ; 69:3, 21] The vinegar – Mt 27:48 Mk 15:36 Jn 19:29 6) It is finished – Jn 19:30 [It is accomplished] 7) Father, into your hands … [Psalm 31:5] Lk 23:46
Rending of the temple veil – Mt 27:51 Mk 15:38 Lk 23:45
Graves opened, saints resurrected – Mt 27:52
Testimony of Centurion – Mt 27:54 Mk 15:39 Lk 23:47
Watching of the women – Mt 27:55 Mk 15:40 Lk 23:49
The piercing of his side – Jn 19:34
Taken down from the cross – Mt 27:57-60 Mk 15:46 Lk 23:53 Jn 19:38-42
Burial by Joseph of Arimathea, Nicodemus – Mt 27:57-60 Mk 15:46 Lk 23:53 Jn 19:38-42
A guard placed over the sealed stone – Mt 27:65-66
Women carry spices to the tomb – Mt 28:1 Mk 16:1,2 Lk 24:1
The angel had rolled away the stone – Mt 28:2
Women announce the resurrection – Mt 28:8 Lk 24:9,10 Jn 20:1,2
Peter and John run to the tomb – Lk 24:12 Jn 20:3
The women return to the tomb – Lk 24:1
The guards report to the chief priests – Mt 28:11-15 12 APPEARANCES OF CHRIST 1) To Mary Magdalene – Mk 16:9,10 Jn 20:11-18
2) To the women returning home – Mt 28:9-10
3) To two disciples going to Emmaus – Mk 16:12 Lk 24:13-35
4) To Peter – Lk 24:34 1 Co 15:5
5) To ten Apostles in the upper room – Lk 24:33 Jn 20:19-23
6) To eleven Apostles in the upper room – Mk 16:14 Jn 20:26-29
7) To 500 at once – 1 Cor 15:6
8) To James – 1 Cor 15:6
9) To disciples at the sea of Tiberias – Jn 21:1-23
10) To eleven disciples on a mountain in Galilee – Mt 28:16-20
11) Eating together in Jerusalem – Acts 1:4-5
12) The Ascension from the Mount of Olives – Mk 16:19 Lk 24:50-51 Acts 1:6-9
Jesus explained these events on the afternoon of his Resurrection Sunday:
Then he said to them, ‘Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?’ Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures. …
Then he said to them, ‘These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you – that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.’ Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.
I was told by a distinguished rabbi about the ceremony when the Children of Israel presented lambs to the priest. The lamb would be impaled on a horizontal and vertical pole. Its back would be flayed to ensure it was a spotless lamb. None of its bones would be broken, and the blood would be drained from the lamb.
Does that sound familiar? The lamb was roasted on two poles forming a cross. Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, was placed on a cross. His hands and feet were pierced, and none of His bones were broken. Jesus was crucified on the very day the Passover lambs were being offered up.
Dr Michael Evans (Jerusalem Prayer Team)
For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified (Hebrews 10:14). And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).
It is impossible that Christianity is not God’s revelation of truth. Simply impossible. The math proves it beyond question. It doesn’t take faith to believe that one plus one equals two, and it doesn’t take faith to identify the religion which has mathematical certainty in its corner.
God didn’t have to give us mathematical proof of His existence, but He did it anyway. God didn’t have to give us proof of Christianity, but He chose to do so. And God didn’t have to give us proof of His love for us, but that is exactly what He did. The proof is irrefutable.
I live in Nebraska where I serve as a pastor. Imagine someone covering this entire state in silver dollars 6 feet deep. Then mark one coin and bury it anywhere across the state. Next, blindfold a man and have him choose one coin. The odds that he would choose the marked coin are the same odds of getting 8 prophecies all fulfilled in one man. God gave us about 300 fulfilled prophecies in the Person of Jesus Christ.
Here are 8 of those 300 prophecies:
(1) The Messiah will be born in Bethlehem. (Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:1; Luke 2:4-6)
(2) The Messiah will be a descendant of Jacob. (Numbers 24:17; Matthew 1:2)
(3) The Messiah will enter Jerusalem as a king riding on a donkey. (Zechariah 9:9; Mark 11:4-11)
(4) The Messiah will be betrayed by a friend. (Psalm 41:9; Luke 22:47,48)
(5) The Messiah’s betrayal money will be used to purchase a potter’s field. (Zechariah 11:13; Matthew 27:9,10)
(6) The Messiah will be spat upon and struck. (Isaiah 50:6; Matthew 26:67)
(7) The Messiah’s hands and feet will be pierced. (Psalm 22:16; John 20:25-27)
(8) Soldiers will gamble for the Messiah’s garments. (Psalm 22:18; Luke 23:34)
There is no way one man could have fulfilled all 8 of these prophecies unless God was making it happen. Who else controls history? Who else could give us such irrefutable proof for Christianity? The odds are one in one hundred quadrillion, or 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000.
This mathematical proof was calculated by Professor Peter Stoner. He was chairman of the mathematics and astronomy departments at Pasadena City College until 1953. He then went to Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California, where he served as chairman of the science division.
You don’t have to be a mathematics professor to see that this evidence is irrefutable. No one would pick the marked coin under those conditions. No one but God could have given us these biblical prophecies, and then brought them to fulfillment right before our eyes. It is impossible that Christianity is false. The math proves it, and the Man behind the math rose from the dead, just as it had been foretold.
It doesn’t take faith to see how the Bible could only have come from God. It does take faith, however, to accept Jesus as your Savior and to believe in God’s promise of eternal life. God has done everything to make this way open to you. If you choose to reject it in spite of the overwhelming evidence and in spite of God’s love for you, you will be walking away from an open door to paradise.
Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.
They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?”
Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.”And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. (Luke 24:27, 32, 44-45)