April 19, 2019

The Greatest Day 

By: Larry Shaffer

My friend Nate Olsen snapped this pic on his recent trip to the Holy Land

The Greatest Day
John 20 

It’s almost Easter morning! To us, knowing what we now know, it’s a glorious day of celebration, as it should be. He is risen. 

But what about the disciples and the followers of Jesus? It’s not a celebration...yet. 

A lot has happened in a few days. 

  • Thursday Supper: Jesus spends several hours with the disciples teaching them, comforting them and preparing them to continue His ministry on earth. 
  • Thursday evening: Jesus takes His disciples to the garden where He encounters Judas and several hundred soldiers with torches and weapons. They arrest Jesus while the disciples scatter. 
  • Late Thursday evening and early Friday morning: There are several interrogations during mock trials with the High Priests and Pilate. The Jews insist Pilate execute Jesus and Pilate sends Him back to the Jews saying ‘I find no guilt in Him.’ Pilate eventually acquiesces and condemns Jesus to be crucified. 
  • Friday morning and afternoon: Jesus is taken to Golgotha. He is nailed to a cross and He endures another six hours of excruciating pain and suffering. About 3pm, He gives up His spirit and breathes his last breath. It is finished. 
  • Late Friday afternoon: Joseph of Arimathea, a secret follower of Jesus, asked Pilate if he could take the body and bury it. Because the Sabbath and Jewish day of preparation for Passover was about to begin at sunset on Friday, a tomb nearby was found. They bound the body in linen wrappings with spices and place the body in the tomb and sealed it.
  • Sunset Friday until early Sunday morning: This is the Jewish Day of preparation and Sabbath. The disciples of Jesus and His followers were in shock and mourning. 
  • Very early Sunday morning: Mary Magdalene came to the tomb while it was still dark and discovered the stone was moved, the linen wrappings were laying there and the body was gone. She finds Peter and John and tells them. They ran to the tomb and verified Mary’s claim. The tomb is empty, linens are there and Jesus’ body is gone. Thye are shocked and bewildered. Who took Him? 

Historian list various events when asked what are the greatest events in world history? One historian, Rebecca Graf, provides the following list:  

  1. The American Revolution 
  2. The Reformation 
  3. The Life of Jesus of Nazareth 
  4. Tearing Down the Berlin Wall 
  5. World War II 
  6. World War I 
  7. Gutenberg’s Printing Press 
  8. The Life of Muhammad 
  9. Pax Romana 
  10. The Renaissance 

Everyone is entitled their opinion. But for us Christians, no other event is even close. The Friday to Sunday events I described above are the apex of history. All of history, before and after, revolve around the resurrection of Jesus, our Lord. Without it, our lives are dust in the wind. With it, we are endowed with eternal purpose and unending joy, through His grace.

But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, Galatians 4:4. 

Risen Lord Jesus, You emptied yourself and taking on flesh, You became a servant. You humbled Yourself, endured the pain and ridicule and remained obedient unto the point of death, even death on the cross. May I die with You and may I rise with You to live a new life in You. What more could you do? Your death is my life; your resurrection is my peace; your ascension is my hope; your prayers for me are my comfort. You are my all in all. Amen!