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Monday, April 5, 2010

Post Easter Study: Was Jesus a Liar?

I grew up in church so some things never even cross my mind to question. My reasoning is something along the lines of, "If smart people for a couple thousand years don't take issue with this, why should I?" Not the greatest of positions, but, then again, I have to pick my battles. So I tend to only research the issues that people mention in passing.

And someone mentioned, in passing, that Jesus was only in the ground for a day and a few hours. I was reminded of this as I sat down for our Good Friday service: If Jesus died on Friday evening, somehow got buried right around then--even with the whole Pilate/Joseph exchange and whatnot--then rose again early Sunday morning... well, Jesus would have been "in the ground" for little more than 24 hours.

That is strange! How had I never noticed that?

I was surprised to discover that there were not a bunch of suggested solutions. I fully expected to find scholars debating this one hotly, arguing back and forth about what the "Biblical" answer was. Instead, I found two. Just two. Two rather straight-forward solutions.

The first, while easier to explain, didn't satisfy me: Jesus was buried for part of a day, which could be counted as a whole day in the sense that "I worked all day on researching this topic" ...despite only spending a few hours.

Eh, okay. That's fine, but not all that scholarly. And it's not nearly as interesting as...

The second, which points out that there were two Sabbaths that week. What? Two Sabbaths?

Yep.

While not incredibly written, I really liked this article on the issue. The short version: Jesus was buried at sunset on Wednesday and arose at sunset on Saturday. The message of this Easter lesson is three-fold:

  1. Looking back on history not only clears up questions but gives an even greater appreciation for other cultures and times
  2. Don't let the beauty and simplicity of traditions distract you for the reality and struggle of the past
  3. and The incredible power of history recorded in Scripture is absolutely amazing.

I can see how my lack of questioning every aspect of my faith could be viewed and naive and foolish. Burying ones head in the sand is certainly not a good course of action. On the other hand, a quick search unearthed a wealth of scholarship on this subject. And so I find the skeptics position to be one that is even more naive: Thinking of questions and then not bothering to look for an answer is even more foolish than trusting those who have gone before to have those answers.

Granted, we must be active is searching out answers when questions arise, or we are even greater fools than those who question us. But learning new things is fun. At least, I love to learn.

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Surrogate Father

6 comments:

Cotton Blossom said...

I think the real danger in not searching out and understanding the answers to these questions, is when we are confronted with them by a non-believer or a struggling Christian. If we sound unconvinced, how and what are they to believe?

Luke said...

Cotton, totally! When questions arise, and as we have time, we should totally look into things; not just for our own edification, but also to share with others as they come up.

~Luke

Erin said...

Thanks for posting that article! It summed up what we believe, too. People sometimes look at us as if we're heretics when we mention that we don't believe Jesus died on "Good Friday", but it makes some uncomfortable when you step on "tradition's" toes. Its never a bad thing to really take a look at what we believe, and why - its that kind of searching and questioning that helps faith grow deeper!

Luke said...

Yep. Tradition is a very powerful--and good--thing. But it does not dictate history.

~Luke

Heather the Mama Duk said...

CIt was 3 days based on this day (died), this day, and this day (rose). We know that different groups did/do their counting of days is a little different sometimes than how we do today. We, Americans today, usually think of a day as a 24 hour period so three days would be 72 hours. Some count any part of a day as a day so if you died at 5 pm Friday, you died on day one and then if you rose at 10 am Sunday, you rose on day three. It's a cultural thing, how days can be counted differently. Third day does not necessarily equal 72 hours later.

But, yeah, I was taught or read the two Sabbaths thing somewhere sometime a long time ago.

Luke said...

Heather, those do seem to be the two popular explanations. And as I said in my post: I was surprised to see only two <smile>.

~Luke


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