Alternate Chronology of the Crucifixion of Jesus

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“For God so loved the world that He gave His One and Only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) 

Alternate Chronology of the Crucifixion of Jesus

Like Christmas, celebrating Jesus’ birth, we may celebrate these events of the crucifixion on symbolic days which remind us of the literal events, even though we may not be following their exact chronology or dates.

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Some scholars argue for a crucifixion on the Thursday of Holy Week followed by two Sabbath days, the Passover Sabbath on Friday and the regular Sabbath on Saturday.

This chronology correlates with Jesus’ predictions:

For just as Jonah was for three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so for three days and three nights the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth (Matthew 12:40).

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. 32  For he will be handed over to the Gentiles; and he will be mocked and insulted and spat upon. 33  After they have flogged him, they will kill him, and on the third day he will rise again’ (Luke 18:31-33).

James Tabor examines the gospel accounts of the last supper in his article ‘The Last Days of Jesus: A Final “Messianic” Meal’, reproduced by the Biblical Archaeology Society (https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/people-cultures-in-the-bible/jesus-historical-jesus/the-last-days-of-jesus-a-final-messianic-meal/). He writes:

The confusion arose because all the gospels say that there was a rush to get his body off the cross and buried before sundown because the “Sabbath” was near. Everyone assumed the reference to “the Sabbath” had to be Saturday so the crucifixion must have been on a Friday. However, as Jews know, the day of Passover itself is also a “Sabbath” or rest day no matter what weekday it falls on. In the year 30 AD Friday, the 15th of the Jewish month Nisan was also a Sabbath so two Sabbaths occurred back to back Friday and Saturday. Matthew seems to know this as he says that the women who visited Jesus’ tomb came early Sunday morning “after the Sabbaths” (Matthew 28:1).

As is often the case, the gospel of John preserves a more accurate chronology of what went on. John specifies that the Wednesday night “last supper” was “before the festival of Passover.” He also notes that when Jesus’ accusers delivered him to be crucified on Thursday morning they would not enter Pilate’s courtyard because they would be defiled and would not be able to eat the Passover that evening (John 18:28). John knows that the Jews would be eating their traditional Seder meal Thursday evening.

Reading Mark, Matthew, and Luke one can get the impression that the “last supper” was the Passover meal. Some have even argued that Jesus might have eaten the Passover meal a day early—knowing ahead of time that he would be dead. But the fact is, Jesus ate no Passover meal in 30 CE. When the Passover meal began at sundown on Thursday, Jesus was dead. He had been hastily put in a tomb until after the festival when a proper funeral could be arranged.

That discussion sent me checking the plural Sabbaths in Matthew 28:1. It is plural and can be used for either Sabbaths or Sabbath, as also in Matthew 12:1. Most translators opt for singular, but a few retain the literal plural, such as these for Matthew 12:1 and 28:1.

At that time Jesus went through the grain on the Sabbath days. And his disciples were hungry, and began to pluck the ears of grain and to eat.
(New Matthew Bible,© 2016 by Ruth Magnusson (Davis))

At that time did Jesus go on the sabbaths through the corn, and his disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck ears, and to eat,
(Young’s Literal Translation, by Robert Young who compiled Young’s Analytical Concordance.)

After the Sabbaths, around dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to take a look at the burial site.
(International Standard Version, © 1995-2014 by ISV Foundation.)

The Bible passages allow for a crucifixion on the Thursday of Holy Week, and even where Sabbath is used in the singular it does indicate that they found the stone rolled away on the first day of the week after that Sabbath.

That Friday may have been a special Passover Sabbath, not just the Saturday. Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jewish leaders did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down (John 19:31).

Irrespective of the day, the great significance is that the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world was crucified on the Day of Preparation for the Passover, the day on which the Passover lamb was killed so that after sunset the Passover could be celebrated on the next Jewish day beginning after sunset.

Like Christmas, celebrating Jesus’ birth, we may celebrate these events of the crucifixion on symbolic days which remind us of the literal events, even though we may not be following their exact chronology or dates.

I’m content to follow the traditional chronology and dates, as in our diaries, perhaps as symbolic and liturgical reminders of the greatest events in human history.

See also:

*
Crucified and Risen – Blog
Crucified & Risen – PDF
The Easter Story

 

A Holy Week, Passover & Resurrection All1
Holy Week, Christian Passover & Resurrection – Blog
Holy Week, Christian Passover & Resurrection – 
PDF
3 books in 1

 

A Holy Week All
Holy Week – Blog
Holy Week – PDF

Summary of the events of Holy Week

 


The Shroud of Turin

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The Shroud of Turin

“For God so loved the world that He gave His One and Only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) 

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We do not base our faith, or hopes, on an artifact but, although controversial, it does provide confirmation of the brutal torture and trauma of crucifixion that Jesus suffered.

The Shroud of Turin


Enhanced positive image

The Shroud of Turin is the most intensely investigated religious artifact in history. Many scholars believe it may be the linen cloth that was wrapped around Jesus’ body. Its faint image shows the horrendous wounds of a crucified man with wounds exactly matching the description of Jesus’ death.

Physicist, and founder of the Shroud of Turin Research Project (STURP), John P. Jackson, has proposed that the image features of the Shroud of Turin were produced by radiation emanating from the body in the Shroud at the moment of resurrection.

The shroud of Turin is a 14.3 foot by 3.7 linen cloth bearing the faint double image (ventral and dorsal) of a naked man who appears to have been crucified (together with burn marks and water stains resulting from fires, one in 1532).

There is a puncture wound on his left wrist (his right wrist is hidden from view), and there are puncture wounds on his feet as if they were pierced by a nail or nails. The back of the man is covered with over 120 scourge marks, apparently imposed by the Roman instrument of torture known as the flagrum (a whip with two or three thongs to which were attached small balls of lead). There is a large puncture wound on the right side between the ribs from which blood and a watery serum have flowed. The image resides only on the top-most fibres of the threads with which the Shroud is woven, and it is a negative image.

Although very faint when viewed as a positive, the image becomes much clearer when darks and lights are reversed.

[Carbon dating in 1988 from a tiny corner of the Shroud dated the sample between 1260 and 1390 AD, but it is argued that the sample came from repaired cloth.]

If the medieval date is right, then this implies that the Shroud is a forgery, when all the scientific evidence we have other than this date implies that it is not a forgery: the image on the Shroud was not drawn or painted (there are no binding agents or particulates on the Shroud in the region of the image); it is a negative created at a time when photography didn’t exist, but it is not a photograph (in contains 3D information and photographs do not), it is not a contact print (parts of the Shroud that were not in contact with the body bear impressions as clear as parts that were in contact with the body); the man in the Shroud has truly been subject to horrific and mortal injuries; he has wounds associated with crucifixion, and the exit wound on the wrist contradicts depictions of the crucifixion in medieval art, but reflects the way in which people were crucified; he is covered with scourge marks clearly inflicted by the Roman instrument of the torture known as the flagrum, and he has puncture wounds on his head consistent with the wearing of a roughly prepared cap of thorns rather than the elegant wreath of thorns depicted by medieval artists; there is a large wound on his right side which matches a spear used by Roman executioners and from which post-mortem blood and a watery serum (visible only by ultraviolet fluorescence photography) have flowed; the blood on the Shroud – that of a real man – contains a high level of bilirubin, a substance associated with severe physical trauma; there are no signs of decomposition, meaning that the body was removed from the Shroud within a few days; the Shroud contains traces of pollen from plants growing only in the area of Jerusalem, some of which are extinct since antiquity, and there are microscopic traces of dirt at the foot of the man in the Shroud that only match limestone found in the area of Jerusalem.

Source: On the Physics of the Shroud of Turin.

See Google for many articles and images from the Shroud of Turin.

Latest on Shroud of Turin: Science Finally Catches Up with Faith

It is the most intriguing and unique relic of its kind and the longstanding irony is – there are legions of professed Christians who have no idea what it is, or that it even exists. The Shroud of Turin is revered as the sacred burial cloth of Jesus Christ and is arguably the most important archaeological artifact ever found. The image on the cloth is like a photographic negative exposed to light that is a detailed portrait of a crucified man. The historical specifics include the multitude of gashes from the scourging, the flow of blood, the presence of Pontius Pilate coins on the eyes, the wounds on the wrists and not the hands, the presence of a pony-tail running down the man’s back, bits of pollen that are unique to the region around Jerusalem are all remarkably accurate.


Encoded 3-D Information at High Resolution

Experts say victim was ‘tortured’

Is this proof that the Turin Shroud was used to bury Jesus?

Experts have revealed that the Shroud of Turin shows signs of blood from a victim of torture – supporting claims it was used to bury Jesus.

The linen cloth, believed to have been used to wrap the body of Jesus after crucifixion, contains ‘nanoparticles’ which are not typical of the blood of a healthy person.

Elvio Carlino, a researcher at the Institute of Crystallography in Bari, Italy, says the tiny particles “have recorded a scenario of great suffering, whose victim was wrapped up in the funeral cloth.”

These particles had a “peculiar structure, size and distribution,” according to University of Padua professor Giulio Fanti.

Model of the wounded Shroud image

Blood trickled from the victim’s wrists down his arms, indicating that he hung from his wrists on the cross, not with his arms horizontal as in most crucifixion paintings.

We do not base our faith, or hopes, on an artifact but, although controversial, it does provide confirmation of the brutal torture and trauma of crucifixion that Jesus suffered.

The Shroud of Turin and the painting Akiane Kramarik

Akiane Kramarik became famous for her paintings and poetry, begun at age four when she started having visions of Jesus and heavenly scenes. An interesting video shows the correlation between the face on the Shroud of Turin and the painting of the vision of Jesus by Akiane:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U2AdNTKcGnc

    
Enhanced Shroud face and Akiane painting.
 

Visions are subjective and open to interpretation, but we live in a time when increasing numbers of people, especially Muslims, are having visions of Jesus that often bring them to faith in him as their Saviour and Lord. You too can believe in Jesus, the Christ, the Son of God, your Saviour and Lord.

See also:

*
Crucified and Risen – Blog
Crucified & Risen – PDF
The Easter Story

 

A Holy Week, Passover & Resurrection All1
Holy Week, Christian Passover & Resurrection – Blog
Holy Week, Christian Passover & Resurrection – 
PDF
3 books in 1

 

A Holy Week All
Holy Week – Blog
Holy Week – PDF

Summary of the events of Holy Week

 


Alternate Chronology of the Crucifixion

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How December 25 became Christmas

How December 25 became Christmas.

The most loudly touted theory about the origins of the Christmas date(s) is that it was borrowed from pagan celebrations. There is another way to account for the origins of Christmas on December 25: Strange as it may seem, the key to dating Jesus’ birth may lie in the dating of Jesus’ death at Passover.

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bruegel-bethlehem
A blanket of snow covers the little town of Bethlehem, in Pieter Bruegel’s oil painting from 1566. Although Jesus’ birth is celebrated every year on December 25, Luke and the other gospel writers offer no hint about the specific time of year he was born. Photo: Scala/Art Resource, NY.

 

The earliest mention of December 25 as Jesus’ birthday comes from a mid-fourth-century Roman almanac that lists the death dates of various Christian bishops and martyrs. The first date listed, December 25, is marked: natus Christus in Betleem Judeae: “Christ was born in Bethlehem of Judea.”3 In about 400 C.E., Augustine of Hippo mentions a local dissident Christian group, the Donatists, who apparently kept Christmas festivals on December 25, but refused to celebrate the Epiphany on January 6, regarding it as an innovation. Since the Donatist group only emerged during the persecution under Diocletian in 312 C.E. and then remained stubbornly attached to the practices of that moment in time, they seem to represent an older North African Christian tradition.

In the East, January 6 [now Epiphany] was at first not associated with the magi alone, but with the Christmas story as a whole.

So, almost 300 years after Jesus was born, we finally find people observing his birth in mid-winter. But how had they settled on the dates December 25 and January 6?

There are two theories today: one extremely popular, the other less often heard outside scholarly circles (though far more ancient).4

The most loudly touted theory about the origins of the Christmas date(s) is that it was borrowed from pagan celebrations. The Romans had their mid-winter Saturnalia festival in late December; barbarian peoples of northern and western Europe kept holidays at similar times. To top it off, in 274 C.E., the Roman emperor Aurelian established a feast of the birth of Sol Invictus (the Unconquered Sun), on December 25. Christmas, the argument goes, is really a spin-off from these pagan solar festivals. According to this theory, early Christians deliberately chose these dates to encourage the spread of Christmas and Christianity throughout the Roman world: If Christmas looked like a pagan holiday, more pagans would be open to both the holiday and the God whose birth it celebrated.   …

Connection between the traditional date of Jesus’ death and his birth.

There is another way to account for the origins of Christmas on December 25: Strange as it may seem, the key to dating Jesus’ birth may lie in the dating of Jesus’ death at Passover. This view was first suggested to the modern world by French scholar Louis Duchesne in the early 20th century and fully developed by American Thomas Talley in more recent years.8 But they were certainly not the first to note a connection between the traditional date of Jesus’ death and his birth.


The baby Jesus flies down from heaven on the back of a cross, in this detail from Master Bertram’s 14th-century Annunciation scene. Jesus’ conception carried with it the promise of salvation through his death. It may be no coincidence, then, that the early church celebrated Jesus’ conception and death on the same calendar day: March 25, exactly nine months before December 25. Kunsthalle, Hamburg/Bridgeman Art Library, NY

Around 200 C.E. Tertullian of Carthage reported the calculation that the 14th of Nisan (the day of the crucifixion according to the Gospel of John) in the year Jesus diedc was equivalent to March 25 in the Roman (solar) calendar.9 March 25 is, of course, nine months before December 25; it was later recognized as the Feast of the Annunciation—the commemoration of Jesus’ conception.10 Thus, Jesus was believed to have been conceived and crucified on the same day of the year. Exactly nine months later, Jesus was born, on December 25.d

This idea appears in an anonymous Christian treatise titled On Solstices and Equinoxes, which appears to come from fourth-century North Africa. The treatise states: “Therefore our Lord was conceived on the eighth of the kalends of April in the month of March [March 25], which is the day of the passion of the Lord and of his conception. For on that day he was conceived on the same he suffered.”11 Based on this, the treatise dates Jesus’ birth to the winter solstice.

Augustine, too, was familiar with this association. In On the Trinity (c. 399–419) he writes: “For he [Jesus] is believed to have been conceived on the 25th of March, upon which day also he suffered; so the womb of the Virgin, in which he was conceived, where no one of mortals was begotten, corresponds to the new grave in which he was buried, wherein was never man laid, neither before him nor since. But he was born, according to tradition, upon December the 25th.”12


Learn about the magi in art and literature in “Witnessing the Divine” by Robin M. Jensen, originally published in Bible Review and now available for free in Bible History Daily.


In the East, too, the dates of Jesus’ conception and death were linked. But instead of working from the 14th of Nisan in the Hebrew calendar, the easterners used the 14th of the first spring month (Artemisios) in their local Greek calendar—April 6 to us. April 6 is, of course, exactly nine months before January 6—the eastern date for Christmas. In the East, too, we have evidence that April was associated with Jesus’ conception and crucifixion. Bishop Epiphanius of Salamis writes that on April 6, “The lamb was shut up in the spotless womb of the holy virgin, he who took away and takes away in perpetual sacrifice the sins of the world.”13 Even today, the Armenian Church celebrates the Annunciation in early April (on the 7th, not the 6th) and Christmas on January 6.e

Thus, we have Christians in two parts of the world calculating Jesus’ birth on the basis that his death and conception took place on the same day (March 25 or April 6) and coming up with two close but different results (December 25 and January 6).

Connecting Jesus’ conception and death in this way will certainly seem odd to modern readers, but it reflects ancient and medieval understandings of the whole of salvation being bound up together. One of the most poignant expressions of this belief is found in Christian art. In numerous paintings of the angel’s Annunciation to Mary—the moment of Jesus’ conception—the baby Jesus is shown gliding down from heaven on or with a small cross (see photo above of detail from Master Bertram’s Annunciation scene); a visual reminder that the conception brings the promise of salvation through Jesus’ death.

The notion that creation and redemption should occur at the same time of year is also reflected in ancient Jewish tradition, recorded in the Talmud. The Babylonian Talmud preserves a dispute between two early-second-century C.E. rabbis who share this view, but disagree on the date: Rabbi Eliezer states: “In Nisan the world was created; in Nisan the Patriarchs were born; on Passover Isaac was born … and in Nisan they [our ancestors] will be redeemed in time to come.” (The other rabbi, Joshua, dates these same events to the following month, Tishri.)14 Thus, the dates of Christmas and Epiphany may well have resulted from Christian theological reflection on such chronologies: Jesus would have been conceived on the same date he died, and born nine months later.15

In the end we are left with a question: How did December 25 become Christmas? We cannot be entirely sure. Elements of the festival that developed from the fourth century until modern times may well derive from pagan traditions. Yet the actual date might really derive more from Judaism—from Jesus’ death at Passover, and from the rabbinic notion that great things might be expected, again and again, at the same time of the year—than from paganism. Then again, in this notion of cycles and the return of God’s redemption, we may perhaps also be touching upon something that the pagan Romans who celebrated Sol Invictus, and many other peoples since, would have understood and claimed for their own, too.16

Source: How December 25 became Christmas, by Andrew McGowan in Bible History Daily, September 24, 2020.

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Crucified and Risen


Crucified and Risen
The Easter Story

Crucified & Risen – PDF

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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 JudahThere 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

Crucifixion

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

Resurrection

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. 

(Luke 24:25-27; 44-48 NRSV)

Appendix 1 – alternate chronology
Appendix 2 – the shroud of Turin

Easter Resources

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)


Alternate Chronology of the Crucifixion

Books

PDF versions available here.

A Holy Week, Passover & Resurrection All1

A Holy_Week_Passover & Resurrection_Kindle

Holy Week, Christian Passover & Resurrection

The Death and Resurrection of Jesus

3 books in 1 volume

Holy Week, Christian Passover & Resurrection – PDF

READ SAMPLE

Paperback and eBook on Amazon –

CONTENTS of this book (& 3 books)

1 Holy Week

Holy Week – PDF
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 A Holy Week All

This summary follows the outline in Mark’s Gospel.

This is an approximation:

Palm Sunday – Day of Demonstration – Mark 11:1-11 (Zech 9:9) – Jesus enters Jerusalem

Monday – Day of Authority – Mark 11:12-19 – fig tree, temple cleansed

Tuesday – Day of Conflict – Mark 11:20 – 13:36 – debates with leaders

Wednesday – Day of Preparation – Mark 14:1-11 – anointed at Bethany

Thursday – Day of Farewell – Mark 14:12-42 – last supper

Good Friday – Day of Crucifixion – Mark 14:43 – 15:47 – trials and death

Saturday – Day of Sabbath – Mark 15:46-47 – tomb sealed

Easter Sunday – Day of Resurrection – Mark 16:1-18 – resurrection appearances

Easter Friday It is finished

It is finished  –  It is accomplished

2 Christian Passover

Christian Passover Service

A Retelling of the Last Supper

Christian Passover Service – PDF

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A Christian Passover All

  1. Lighting The Candles
  2. First Cup ‑ Cup Of Blessing
  3. Washing The Hands
  4. First Dipping ‑ Bitter Herb In Salt Water
  5. The Four Questions
  6. The Plagues
  7. Paschal Lamb, Unleavened Bread, Bitter Herb
  8. Second Cup ‑ Cup Of Thanksgiving
  9. Second Dipping ‑ The  Mixture (Charoseth)
  10. The Passover Meal
  11. Communion Instituted
  12. Third Cup ‑ Cup Of Redemption
  13. Fourth Cup ‑ Cup Of Praise
  14. The Great Praise ‑ Final Song
    This order of service for Passover is an attempt to be as true as possible to the historic one Jesus had with his disciples, with Christian explanations added.

Resurrection

RISEN: short version

Risen –_PDF

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A Risen All Short

Preface

A Mysterious Month

Resurrection Sunday

Forty Days

Photos from the longer version

Addendum: The Old City of Jerusalem

See also:  Risen! : longer version
Risen! –_
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A Risen! All

Part 1: A Mysterious Month, gives the full eye-witness accounts of 12 resurrection appearances. The contents of RISEN – shorter version – now also included in this book,

Holy Week, Christian Passover & Resurrection.

Part 2: Our Month in Israel, gives my reflections on walking where Jesus walked, with photos of those locations. Not included in Holy Week, Christian Passover & Resurrection.

See also: Mysterious Month
Mysterious Month – 
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0 A Mysterious Month All3

Expanded contents of RISEN! – the longer version

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Blog:  Holy Week – the greatest week in history

Crucified and Risen: The Easter Story

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Looking to Jesus: Journey into Renewal and Revival
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God’s Surprises

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Journey into Ministry and Mission

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Pioneer Mission in PNG

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Community and Ecological Transformation

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Revival Pioneers

Anointed for Revival
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The Kingdom of God

Washing the disciples’ feet – Max Griener sculpture

The Kingdom of God

 The Spirit of the Lord is working in the earth to bring the kingdom of God to bear in our lives and in the world.  God’s kingdom is both a future state in its fulfilment, but also manifested now.  The kingdom of God was the central theme in Jesus’ ministry.

Jesus proclaimed and demonstrated God’s kingdom. 

The kingdom of God refers to God’s sovereign rule, not a geographical realm nor a political reign.

Jesus’ ministry demonstrated the kingdom of God coming on earth with salvation, healing, wholeness, liberty and transformation.  His church is meant to demonstrate the kingdom of God.  Jesus told us to pray for that: Your kingdom come.  Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

These gospel passages indicate Jesus’ strong emphasis on the kingdom of God:

Mark 1:14‑15, the kingdom is near; repent and believe.

John 3:3‑5, be born again to see the kingdom.

Matthew 6:10, pray, your kingdom come.

Matthew 6:33, seek first the kingdom.

Matthew 12:28, the kingdom has already come.

Matthew 13:11, the secrets of the kingdom.

Matthew 16:19, the keys of the kingdom.

Matthew 19:14, the kingdom belongs to the childlike.

Matthew 19:24, difficulties of entering the kingdom.

Matthew 21:31, repentant sinners enter the kingdom.

Luke 6:20, the kingdom belongs to the poor.

Luke 9:2, 11, 60, demonstrating the kingdom.  

Luke 12:32‑34, the Father gives the kingdom.

Luke 17:20‑21, the kingdom is within you.

These statements about the kingdom of God demonstrate the presence of the Spirit of the Lord in Jesus’ ministry.  God’s Spirit, powerfully present in Jesus’ ministry, brought the kingdom to bear in the lives of people, saving, freeing, healing, and delivering from demonic oppression.  Eventually it affected political decisions concerning justice and liberty, confronting and overcoming demonic oppression in people and in society.  Society was transformed from within, just as individuals’ lives were transformed from within by the power of the Spirit of the Lord.  Jesus declared this to be the work and evidence of the kingdom of God (Matthew 12:28).

The church proclaimed and demonstrated God’s kingdom.

The following passages tell a little of the emphasis of the early church on the kingdom of God:

Acts 1:3, Jesus continued to teach on the kingdom.

Acts 8:12, Philip preached and demonstrated the kingdom.  

Acts 14:22, the kingdom involves us in trials.

Acts 19:8, Paul discussed the kingdom.

Acts 28:23, 31, Paul continued to preach the kingdom.

Romans 14:17, the kingdom is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

1 Corinthians 4:20, the kingdom is not just words but power.

1 Corinthians 6:9‑10, evil does not inherit the kingdom. 

1Corinthians 15:24, 50, Jesus will hand the kingdom to the Father. 

Galatians 5:21, kingdom life is pure and holy.

Ephesians 5:5, the kingdom belongs to the righteous. 

Colossians 4:11, working together for the kingdom.

2 Thessalonians 1:5, suffering for the kingdom.

Revelation 12:10, the kingdom will triumph over all evil.

Note again the themes of right relationships with God and with one another in the power of the Spirit of the Lord.  The power of God was seen in signs (of the kingdom), wonders (revealing the kingdom) and miracles (demonstrating the kingdom).  See, for example, Mark 16:17, 20; John 20:30; Acts 2:43; 4:30; 5:12; 6:8; 8:6; 13; 14:3; 15:12; 19:11.

The early church, like Jesus, saw the work of the kingdom in terms of confronting evil in the power of the Spirit of the Lord, the demonstration of that power, and the freeing of people from the powers of evil oppression, to live in the love, joy and peace of God’s kingdom.

For this we can pray (your kingdom come) and work (Colossians 4:11), till in the end the kingdoms of this world become the kingdom of our God and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever (Revelation 11:15; 12:10-11).

 We proclaim and demonstrate God’s kingdom.

Response:  How is the kingdom of God revealed among us now?

You could testify to the transforming power of God’s reign.

 

Divine exchange


For by one sacrifice he has made perfect for ever those who are being made holy
(Hebrews 10:14 NIV).

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19 NIV).

“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)

 

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