Today's not-quite-freezing drizzle, the leaden sky, and my matching mood make this not one of my better days. Even if I could, I wouldn't be doing cartwheels down the sidewalk.
It's 'one of those days.'
We all have them, I think - but I'm about as sure as I can be, that no dreary day I've experienced matches what Peter, Matthew, and all of that company went through nearly two thousand years ago.
PassoverJesus and those closest to him had eaten the Passover meal together. My Lord made some - decidedly odd - statements then:
" 14 15 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and giving it to his disciples said, 'Take and eat; this is my body.' Then he took a cup, gave thanks, 16 and gave it to them, saying, 'Drink from it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins. 17 I tell you, from now on I shall not drink this fruit of the vine until the day when I drink it with you new in the kingdom of my Father.' "Folks who grow up in nominally-Christian cultures may be so familiar with that passage, that the cannibalistic references don't register.
Almost two millennia back, when Jesus had that Passover meal with his associates? Folks definitely 'got it.' And didn't like what this 'great man' had to say. At all. That's not guesswork on my part, John wrote about what happened when Jesus "my flesh is true food." (John 6:55-69)
Which reminds me: I'm using mostly Matthew's Gospel in this post. That's not because I 'believe in' Matthew and not the other three Gospels. It's just that I got started with Matthew's account, and kept going in that book. Seeing divisions where none exist - or should exist - isn't anything new. (1 Corinthians 1:12) And that's another topic.
The Crucifixion: a Volunteer MissionJesus knew what was coming - and went to Gethsemane to pray. More specifically, to ask if he really had to go through his imminent death by torture. Again, we're maybe too familiar with the words:
"...'My Father, 25 if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will.' "My Lord was not having a good day: and things were about to get worse.
"...'My Father, if it is not possible that this cup pass without my drinking it, your will be done!' "
(Matthew 26:39, 42)
Over the course of that night and the next morning, Jesus was condemned by the local authorities, sentenced to death - a sentence they couldn't carry out themselves, for legal and political reasons.
Jesus was hauled over to the Imperial authority - who, like so many public officials today, consulted an opinion poll. Many of the folks that day had probably been cheering Jesus into Jerusalem, not all that long before. They insisted that the Roman governor release a convicted criminal, and crucify Jesus.
Then, after a scourging that I've been told often killed the subject: Jesus was nailed up and left to die. Which he did. (Matthew 26:57-68, Matthew 27:11-26, Matthew 27:33-50)
Meanwhile, Peter had denied any involvement with Jesus. Three times. (Matthew 26:69-75)
Mary Magdalene and the other Mary followed the body of Jesus and "remained sitting there, facing the tomb." (Matthew 27:61)
Dead and Buried - for the MomentJesus was dead when his body went into that tomb. Quite sincerely dead. (John 19:33-35)
He didn't stay dead, though: that's why I went out in a cold drizzle today. And that's why I live in hope that I may be as blessed as the repentant thief. (Luke 23:42-43)
And that's yet another topic. (November 21, 2010)
- "Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion"
(April 17, 2011)
- Reflections from Our Lady of the Angels, Sauk Centre: a guest post
- " 'Jesus, Remember Me, When You Come Into Your Kingdom' "
(November 21, 2010)
- "Jesus Christ, Tough as Nails"
(April 7, 2010)
- "Those Realistic, Ghastly Crucifixes: There's a Reason"
(January 19, 2010)
- "Just Who is This Jesus Person, and Who Does He Think He is?"
(January 17, 2010)
- The Passover meal
- In Gethsemane
- With Caiaphas
- With Pilate
- Denied by Peter
- Mary Magdalene and the other Mary