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King of the Jews

This is a series of studies based on Easter.
 

What I share will be a blessing and inspire you. It may reveal certain things that you may never have thought of before.

We shall look at the events leading up to Easter and bring it to a close on that great and wonderful day when Jesus said one word...Mary that changed everything forever.

 

We shall see more on the usual Easter stories of the Last Supper, the betrayal, the Garden, Jesus standing in judgment, the scourging, His subsequent execution on the cross and of course His marvelous resurrection.

The setting
The garden
Scourge Him
A fresh start

When you get to heaven there is one thing you should never look for and that is a shadow. There are none! You will not find any man-made thing there either—apart from the holes in Jesus’ hands, side and feet. They are not scars, but trophies.

When He came back from the dead, He appeared to the disciples on many occasions.

He appeared to Mary and I shall share more with you on that later, but will share what John said about the disciples first.

That evening, the disciples gathered together. And because they were afraid of reprisals from the Jewish leaders, they had locked the doors to the place where they met. But suddenly Jesus appeared among them and said, “Peace to you!
Then he showed them the wounds of his hands and his side—they were overjoyed to see the Lord with their own eyes!
Jesus repeated his greeting, “
Peace to you!” And he told them, “Just as the Father has sent me, I’m now sending you.” Then, taking a deep breath, he blew on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. I send you to preach the forgiveness of sins—and people’s sins will be forgiven. But if you don’t proclaim the forgiveness of their sins, they will remain guilty.” John 20:19-23

Thomas was not there. Like many people, he wanted proof. It is easy to talk about something, only to be asked to produce evidence. Religion really cannot produce proof, but when someone has a real testimony, that is a totally different matter.

A changed life is one. A healing is another. I’ve seen dead raised, received healing in my own body and with many other people, so know from experience based on scriptural foundations that healing is real.

Likewise, the physical resurrection is real, but many people doubt. Thomas did.

One of the twelve wasn’t present when Jesus appeared to them—it was Thomas, whose nickname was “the Twin.”
So the disciples informed him, “We have seen the Lord with our own eyes!”
Still unconvinced, Thomas replied, “There’s no way I’m going to believe this unless I personally see the wounds of the nails in his hands, touch them with my finger, and put my hand into the wound of his side where he was pierced!”
Then eight days later, Thomas and all the others were in the house together. And even though all the doors were locked, Jesus suddenly stood before them! “
Peace to you,” he said. Then, looking into Thomas’ eyes, he said, “Put your finger here in the wounds of my hands. Here—put your hand into my wounded side and see for yourself. Thomas, don’t give in to your doubts any longer, just believe!
Then the words spilled out of his heart—“You are my Lord, and you are my God!”
Jesus responded, “
Thomas, now that you’ve seen me, you believe. But there are those who have never seen me with their eyes but have believed in me with their hearts, and they will be blessed even more!

You may not have literally seen Jesus that way, but many people have, including myselfbut you believe and because you believe you are blessed! Jesus said so. John added that Jesus did more.

Jesus went on to do many more miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not even included in this book. But all that is recorded here is so that you will fully believe that Jesus is the Anointed One, the Son of God, and that through your faith in him you will experience eternal life by the power of his name! John 20:24-31

The very last verse John wrote in his Gospel said that the Lord did many more things that are not recorded. I would be a fool to try to say what they were, but this reveals to me that there is much more about God than we realize. This is one reason why I  keep asking Him the questions I do and why I do not always accept the status quo. Neither should you.

Therefore when He told Mary not to touch Him I asked why. He invited Thomas to do that, but was quick to avoid contact with Mary. Why? We shall see.

His resurrection was a beginning. Life will never be the same since and that is the real issue. If He never rose from the dead, everything was of no consequence. There is no hope and we are doomed, but Calvary was the start of a completely new era for mankind. Jesus who knew no sin became sin. The Father could not look on sin and turned His back on the Lord and the best way I can describe this is that He was waiting...

Looking at Hebrews 9 now, we see a progressive or unfolding pattern. Although the first scriptural reference started back in Exodus 25, Jesus was the lamb who had been slain before time began.

Now in the first covenant there were specific rules for worship including a sanctuary on earth to worship in.
When you entered the tabernacle you would first come into the holy chamber where you would find the lampstand and the bread of his presence on the fellowship table.
Then as you pass through the next curtain you would enter the innermost chamber called, the holiest sanctuary of all. It contained the golden altar of incense and the ark of covenant mercy, which was a wooden box covered entirely with gold. And placed inside the ark of covenant mercy was the golden jar with mystery-manna inside, Aaron’s resurrection rod, which had sprouted, and the stone tablets engraved with the covenant laws. On top of the lid of the ark were two cherubim, angels of splendor, with outstretched wings overshadowing the throne of mercy. But now is not the time to discuss further the significant details of these things.
So with this prescribed pattern of worship the priests would routinely go in and out of the first chamber to perform their religious duties.
And
the high priest was permitted to enter into the Holiest Sanctuary of All only once a year and he could never enter without first offering sacrificial blood for both his own sins and for the sins of the people. Now the Holy Spirit uses the symbols of this pattern of worship to reveal that the perfect way of holiness had not yet been unveiled. For as long as the tabernacle stood  it was an illustration that pointed to our present time of fulfillment, demonstrating that offerings and animal sacrifices had failed to perfectly cleanse the conscience of the worshiper.
For this old pattern of worship was a matter of external rules and rituals concerning food and drink and ceremonial washings which was imposed upon us until the appointed time of heart-restoration had arrived.
But now
the Anointed One has become the King-Priest of every wonderful thing that has come. For he serves in a greater, more perfect heavenly tabernacle not made by men. And he has entered once and forever into the Holiest Sanctuary of All, not with the blood of animal sacrifices, but the sacred blood of his own sacrifice. And he alone has made our salvation secure forever!

This was to be the very last offering to be made for sin.

We know that He rose on the third day and I shall not comment on those three days. What I really want to share with you is what happened during or after He rose again.

Mary

There has been much conjecture about her identity and where she fitted into the scheme of things. The Gospels speak of her arrival with others at the tomb on that fateful day. In Mark 16, the angel of the Lord told them that He was not there. Where was He? Looking at the highlighted parts of the above scripture, we see that the high priest performed two functions—he had to first offer sacrificial blood for his own sins—and then offer sacrificial blood for the sins of the people. Jesus was sinless. We agree on that, but if He had to fulfill all the imagery and typology of  prophecy and in particular, be the anti-type for the Tabernacle and Tabernacle worship, He had to offer blood for his own sin first!

This poses a problem, or does it?

... God made the only one who did not know sin to become sin for us, so that we who did not know righteousness might become the righteousness of God through our union with him. 1 Corinthians 5:23

As I kept asking these questions, I suddenly saw that  there was a time when Jesus took on the sin of the world. He who knew no sin became sin. This meant that “His sin” had to be dealt with first, just as the High Priest had to deal with his one sin first, before atonement could be made for others. I hope you can see this. I sat for a moment in stunned silence when I saw this.

The love God has for us is amazing and I suspect that we do not even know the half of it.

If He was sin, then to atone for our sins, He had to first deal with that sin issue, but the question is when and to answer that we must return to the symbolism of the Tabernacle. This is a massive topic in itself that should be dealt with separately.

Suffice it to say that  there was only one entrance into the outer court and we know that  Jesus is the door. There is no other way to God than through Him.

The first thing encountered was a brazen altar where burnt offerings were made. Next was the brass laver where the priest washed himself with water before going towards the tent. This is symbolic of washing of water by the word. He then entered into the tent and this too had only one entrance. There was no natural light inside. Illumination came solely by the oil in the golden candlestick and oil is  symbol of the anointing and the Holy Spirit. This means that our illumination can not be by natural means, but by the anointing of the Spirit.

There was the table of shewbread and at this point, I’d like to remind you that Jesus is the bread of life.

Directly ahead was the altar of incense representing the prayers of the saints. It was directly in front of the veil and present only inside the holy place and not in the outer court—not out in the natural realm in public. Real prayer is supposed to be private, or as the Lord said...in our closet.

Before the High Priest entered into the Holy of Holies, he had to ensure he was properly prepared to bring in the blood to sprinkle on the Ark.

There was a prescribed order of progression and I now put it to you that Jesus followed such principles.

Think it through. Pray it over.

On that first day of the week, John said that Mary Magdalene came to the sepulcher to find it empty and told Peter and “the disciple Jesus loved” about her find. They returned and saw the napkin and linen clothes in the empty tomb.

In Mark’s account they saw a young man in a white garment who told them to tell the disciples—and Peter—that He had risen.  Even here at a crucial time, the Lord made sure that Peter (who must have been in a severe emotional crisis) was assured that He still loved him. Later in John, The Lord dealt with his denials. God really knows, understands and cares if and when we goof off. This is important, because we can easily fall into guilt and self recrimination and perhaps expose ourselves whist we are vulnerable to the accuser of the brethren.

In John 20, as with the other accounts, they were perplexed, not yet understanding the scriptures. The Lord can stand right in front of us and say something and we may not comprehend what He means until illumination comes. I studied for years for a doctorate and the theology did not really provide real answers and workable truth, so many things of God were still a complete mystery to me until one day understanding suddenly came. Such revelation comes by the Holy Spirit, so if you cannot see the light so to speak, quit trying to get it together in your own ability and ask the Holy Spirit to teach you.

John said that they went away to their own home. They still owned property! Peter was married! His fishing business was still intact, so we need to look closer into traditional teachings for the truth. The Greek word is Heauteu and this means that they had quit. Yes, I did say quit. That is exactly what Peter meant in chapter 21 when he said, I go a fishing. That word is Hupoago and this tells me that they were real to life, you cut me and I bleed people—not “special” in the way religious tradition often portrays them.

Peter and John returned home, but Mary stayed behind, saw two angels and started weeping. Most people need reassurance because the initial reaction to seeing an angel is usually fear and flight! There are numerous scriptural accounts when a person is told, “Fear not”. I’ve seen angels several times and understand why we need such assurance. It’s awesome, but the bible says that Mary wept, rather than flee! I believe that she wept, because of the relationship they had shared. Some commentators have said that she was a woman of low moral character, but it is more likely that she was a woman of repute, was quite wealthy and came from the place called Magdala. Her name could mean obstinacy or rebelliousness and I find that interesting, because such traits may at times lead to spiritual problems. From what I understand, Jesus cast 7 evil spirits from her, so her situation was serious.

It seems to me that the more you are forgiven, the more you show love in return. Jesus had done so much for her, that she became a close follower who supported Jesus because of the love He showed her. Please never forget your first love.

When she saw Jesus, she did not recognize Him at first. Had His appearance changed?

The two disciples in Luke 24, one of whom was Cleophas, were having a heated debate when Jesus joined them and they never recognized Him either, so it is quite possible we may have a divine encounter and not know it, or know it at first.

We are told that we can entertain angels without being aware of it. Later, everyone recognized Him.

Jesus asked her why she was crying and when she explained, He turned to her and said one word—Mary.

Her response was a normal one. She wanted to grab him and hug Him as you or I would want to do, but He told her to back off.

Over those few years, surely He would have spoken her name before. He knows us all by name. Perhaps she asked Him if He wanted a drink and He replied, “Thank you Mary”. What was so different this time to cause her reaction?

He said:

Mary, don’t hold on to me now, for I haven’t yet ascended to God, my Father. And he’s not only my Father and God, but now he’s your Father and your God! Now go to my brothers and tell them what I’ve told you, that I am ascending to my Father—and your Father, to my God—and your God!” John 20:17

It seems to me that at that point, Jesus as our Great High Priest, had a task to fulfill.

To do that, He had to follow the principles God had laid down. He had to follow rte pattern.
This meant that, as a priest, He had to enter into the Outer court and go past the Brazen Altar.

Please remember what happened there—burnt offering!

He then had to go to the Brass Laver, where the priest had to bathe. When looking down, the priest could see his own reflection in the water, mirrored by the brass that was taken from womens’ mirrors. To a priest this referred to the washing of water by the word and this is something we must all experience. As I ponder on that, the fact that Jesus is The Word, comes to mind.

He then had to enter into the tent itself through that single door and into the Holy Place where the golden candlestick stood on one side,  the Table of Shew bread on the other and the Altar of Incense ahead.

Beyond that was the veil.

It was beyond that veil where the Ark of the Covenant stood and where the High Priest carried the blood.

If Jesus is our Great High Priest—which He is, He had to do all that, carrying blood—His.

He had to yet sprinkle it on the Ark, just as the High Priest had to do every year, but this was to be the ultimate and final offering for all time. Little wonder He would not let her touch Him.

We still need to determine why Jesus had to remain in the grave before appearing on the third day.

The Third Day can simply mean “a short period of time” and if this is correct, then Jesus simply meant that He would be dead for a short period of time. Certain people once thought that the spirit remained near a deceased person for 3 days, before finally departing, so perhaps to “prove” that He died, He made sure everyone knew He had really died, but I think there is more to it than that.

The Third Day is often mentioned in scripture. In Genesis 22:4 Abraham saw the place where he was to make sacrifice on the third day. We see this Third Day in Genesis 42:18 when Jacob sent his sons to Joseph during that famine and Joseph started to deal with them.

There mention of a Third Day in Joshua 3, just before Joshua led the people across Jordan into the Promised Land.

Hosea said:

Come, and let us turn back to יהוה. For He has torn but He does heal us, He has stricken but He binds us up. After two days He shall revive us, on the third day He shall raise us up, so that we live before Him. So let us know, let us pursue to know יהוה. His going forth is as certain as the morning. And He comes to us like the rain, like the latter rain watering the earth.

Jesus spoke of Jonah’s three-day experience as seen in Jonah 1:17. There are many more instances like that, so there must be meaning. Let us see:

God is a truine God. The three persons in the Trinity are The Father, The Son and The Spirit.

There were 3 Seraphim who cried out in Isaiah 6:3, “Holy, holy, holy”. Perhaps this was for each of the three persons in the Trinity. See also Revelation 4:8.

God has three attributes of omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence.

Nature, or God’s creation comprises three elements or kingdoms—animal, vegetable and mineral.

What we call time has 3 elements of past, present and future.

Man deals with three components of thought, word and deed and we are composed of spirit, soul and body.

The Blessing seen in Numbers:6:23-24 are three-fold—The Lord bless thee and keep thee; The Lord make His face shine upon thee; and be gracious unto thee; The Lord lift up His countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.

Was this a blessing from each of the persons in the Trinity?
We see something interesting when Jehovah God came to Abraham in In Genesis 18:1-2. Three persons were there.

Adonai appeared to Avraham by the oaks of Mamre as he sat at the entrance to the tent during the heat of the day.
He raised his eyes and looked, and there in front of him stood three men.

We read that “they said” then “he said” and “And the Lord said” The whole account finishes when in verse 33 we see And the Lord went His way.

We also see in Genesis 1 that God had created everything that was necessary to sustain life, before creating living creatures and then in verse 13, we see:

So there was evening, and there was morning, a third day.

Immediately after that, God created the stars, sun and the moon separating day from night and created the seasons, saying that this would be as signs. Something new had started. It is evident therefore that there was a Divine plan. I will not try to suggest what it is, because there may be more to it all yet that is still being unfolded. Paul said:

...without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory. 1 Timothy3:16

This is one reason why I do not accept traditional teachings without testing them. There is much more to our traditional Christmas ands Easter stories, that are nice and that we all like, without us getting the full and truthful picture.

Jesus stopped Mary from touching Him—then, but allowed Himself to be touched later. The one thing that really stood out to me is that He called her by her name Mary. If, when we consider all of the factors involved, some of which I just shared (and there must be more), He knew her name before Genesis 1:1. This means that He knew you also and I shall leave you with that thought. Easter is a new beginning for us all.

Mary was important. Peter was important. You and I are important. If the roles were reversed and you were standing there perplexed, emotional, lost and forlorn, He would say your name.

I hope that this study been a blessing to you. I also hope that have whetted your appetite to did for more...

Robert


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