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The Characters of Easter - Daniel Darling

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April 3, 2021 4:00 am

The Characters of Easter - Daniel Darling

Building Relationships / Dr. Gary Chapman

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April 3, 2021 4:00 am

​The Bible is filled with real people who had real problems and pain. Today, author and speaker Dan Darling helps us take a fresh look at the people who populate the story of Passion Week. The religious leaders, the political leaders, the disciples, the betrayer. You might see yourself in the characters of Easter. Don’t miss this edition of Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman. 

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Easter is really the pinnacle celebration scripts without the resurrection we would not be here, whether we want to follow simply a good leader no no no is the only religious leader who defeated this so yes, it's associates huge for those of us who are Christians to dig into that story that we've heard so many times and maybe today it's a well of heard the story before Nono listen listen to the new perspective the fresh look at Easter as we welcome back Daniel Darling, who is senior vice president of communications for the National religious broadcasters and a regular contributor to several leading publications including Christianity today on home life in touch and others is written six books, including teen people of the Bible. The original Jesus and the dignity revolution that's a teaching pastor at Greenhill church in Mount Juliet, Tennessee, and he lives with his wife and four children in the Nashville area.

The characters of Easter is our featured resource can find it@ and welcome back to Building Relationships. Well, thank you for having me.

It's an honor to be with you today. You grew up in the church so like the Christmas story. It can become almost too familiar. Is that why you chose to write this book.

The characters of Easter what is. I mean, there's a couple reasons I chose to write it number one. Like you said Easter.

Unlike Christmas, I think Easter for those of us who are not in a more liturgical type church, sneaks up on us. Unfortunately, I do think Christians are getting back to sort of a Lenten season and taking more time to focus on it. But, sneaks up on us and then I've always been fascinated by character profiles and ice to grow up listening to Chuck Swindoll do these great character profiles of biblical characters.

So I've always been fascinated by just ordinary people that are in this, the story of Easter, the greatest story in the history of the world you know it's interesting that the Christmas story included people from all social groups in or from high to low. It is that also true of the Easter story. The characters that surround the Easter story really is.

If you think of the people who were swept up in the story. Think of the disciples, for instance, Jesus chose most of his disciples from Galilee region which was kind about just ordinary sort of say middle-class but just regular, hard-working folks. His disciples were not. They were not trained in any of the rabbinical schools they were fisherman and just kind of common people were not the kind of people you would you would think of when you're trying to launch a worldwide world changing movement and yet these are the people that Jesus deliberately chose to be closest to them during during his earthly ministry.

Of course, even the people who we we think about terms a part of Pontius Pilate and you know that women who witnessed the empty tomb again. It that the type of people. Jesus chose to be near him that the kind of people that make up the kingdom of God are predominantly mostly ordinary people and it's really the same way today that the church is made up mostly of ordinary people so so so set the same flaws politically, socially, what was going on in the first center in Israel and what forces were at work there so you in the first century. You know you had it Israel was under the thumb of Roman rule.

For every time they walked past the temple every time they would go on main thoroughfares. They would see that Roman flag flying high above their land.

It was a reminder to them that they were under occupation that they lost their independence.

The centuries leading up to this they had traded superpowers who ruled over them from from the Greeks to the Syrian student to Romans, there was a time where they had independent student on the Maccabees, but there was a lot of they were looking for political revolution.

But there is a lot of cynicism they had seen false messiahs come and go.

They'd seen other religious leadership corrupted.

There was just a lot of cynicism and wondering is this kingdom of God. This idea of a Messiah. Is this really going to happen. Talk about the disciples and then there three years with Jesus."

What was that like so we forget with the disciples what they committed to when they follow Jesus you is easy for us to read in the Gospels and see them make mistakes or say things that are wrong and think me, how could they talk of these guys not see it not understand everything, but we would be in the same position, but it we forget the courage it took for them to follow Jesus think of Peter and John who had a really thriving fishing business. They they gave that up they give up security stability to go with Jesus for three years. There was no financial security. Jesus was this itinerant rabbi who is building this movement but he was still controversial.

They did it because I really believed he was the Messiah, the son of God, that in all all what that looks like they did believe that that none of course comes the events of the passion close to the crucifixion and resurrection, where everything I thought would happen turned upside down everything that they believed in the thought he was going to be the one to lead political revolution and here he is allowing himself to be arrested. He's not using his power as the son of God to resist the armies in the garden to destroy his enemies and said he's willingly giving himself up. It was just also puzzling for them. Even though Jesus had promised that he would do that ahead of time.

They didn't quite understand. So if you put yourselves in their shoes it was a really you know the three years with Jesus was thrilling and amazing to see Jesus walk on water and heal the sick, and raise the dead, and feed multitudes on the hillside with a little boys launch but then all of that to come to a really dramatic and with his arrest had to be really devastating for you saying that they had one set of expectations of who Jesus was and what he was going to do, then it all came to an end that the that the cross in their minds yeah really dead and again you and I would've been the same way they read the prophets.

They understood a Messiah would come, but to understand there'd be a first end button second Avenue at the couldn't really see that, just, it's first summer to the way we view the end times a little bit that we know Jesus is coming back, but there's there's not agreement on what that's all gonna look like this, where they were and to see everything they put their hopes in dashed and brought to pieces was just completely devastating form that we know that Peter was one of the main characters in the life of Jesus and was there.

Certainly there with the Easter celebration and all that but they give a small picture of Peter. He's one of the favorite character to think of a lot of us yet. He is one of my favorite characters and I spend a lot of time on him in this book could because her so much written in the four Gospels about him this a few things I think about one of the Peter I think first of all, the patient way that Jesus pursued him that they Jesus and Peter lived in the same area Capernaum Jesus set up his ministry there. Peter had moved there to become part of that.

That's where the fishing trade was really strongest support port there and Jesus had patiently pursued him and his brother Andrew actually had seen Jesus first through John the Baptist and then he comes to Peter and says we found him, which is just a remarkable thing to say, the one we've been praying for. We found him. So Peter follows his brother. And there's a few more encounters and then Jesus says asked Peter to follow him and make it I'll make you fishers of men and peters cause dramatic Jesus enters his life, where Peter is at his best. He knows the fishing trade. He knows the sea of Galilee. He's had difficulty at the office.

They didn't catch any fish there but ready to pack up and go home. Jesus offers the advice which none of us want to hear.

Hey, have you tried this right and so they did so. He does this and there's this great miracle and Peter falls down and worships. It's interesting at the end of Jesus ministry time. That same. He repeats that same miracle in John 21, as if to say yes Peter, you failed me. Yes, you denied me three times. Yes, you said things that you should've said, but I still want to use you for ministry. But the Peter we see at the end of the Gospels is a humble Peter not one who self-assured, not one who is convinced himself that he's the most courageous, but one who depends in power on the Holy Spirit and who knows that he can only do things in the strength of the spirit that he see him preaching at on the day of Pentecost.

The thousands of people the same one who denied Jesus and so it's just a powerful statement of how God takes and uses people and in the changes them in and strengthens them to follow his life, as you just then you say Jesus over and over again reaching out to Peter and calling him and restoring him as he needed to be restored. What does that tell us about this whole route. This whole method of discipling people. Why think it tells us that God sees us, Jesus sees is not who we are, but who we can be personally he loves us for who we are, but he sees past our failures and what we can be when he saw that young precocious impulsive fishermen who would flirt things out who pulled out an unwieldy sword and cut off some guys here in the garden. He didn't see that he saw the person preaching on Pentecost. He saw the courageous martyr who would give his life for the gospel and I think that's how we need to see each other that we we need to see what people what God is growing people into not necessarily where they are today, that God is at work and in all of us in that way that's important.

As you see some people you think I don't know how God could ever use reality.

God has a place for all of us and anyone that we may lead to Christ. He's got these good plans for them so yeah that's that's our main thing right where Mike and the psychosocial Jesus. It is exactly right. You haven't done it was called the son of thunder. They were known to be an apostle of love that happened. John is such an interesting story and we forget how young John and Peter both were know when there were joined up with Jesus probably in the early 20s, but John we think of Peter's the hotheaded one, but is really James and John who were Jesus gave them the designation, Sons of thunder and it wasn't like an nickname like he gave did Simon to calm Peter. This was a kind of almost pejorative to say these are the hotheads mean there's two examples in Scripture were John at one point wants to call down fire on the Samaritans because they are not getting with the program another time. There's another group of folks doing gospel ministry that is not part of what they're doing and he wants to shut that down send a cease-and-desist letter if you will.

He's the one who is jockeying.

One of the ones he's jockeying for positions in the kingdom of God.

Who's gonna be in the right and left his thinking okay if I'm part of this movement are likely receptive state of IB sector defense even employs his mom to ask, which is really amazing. You know hate US Jesus, you got a good relationship with him so that's that's the one we see but I think were John is transformed is at the Last Supper because John wanted to be on the side of Jesus in power but heat you see him at the side of Jesus in humility were Jesus is washing feet and he's learning that this is a different kind of kingdom. This is a kingdom of of love, a kingdom of humility, a kingdom of service and I think from that point on. And then of course seeing the empty tomb at the resurrection turn him from a son of thunder into an apostle of love, where he outlives all the disciples he writes three. He writes the Gospels, but also an revelation without also these three letters that are predominately characterized by encouraging the people of God to love and so it's amazing the transformation that takes place in his life will is a diversity of these guys.

Thomas us like Thomas in these an interesting and I we we think of them primarily well. He was downing was a doubting Thomas.

We sometimes misunderstand that the characterization of him yeah I don't like the fact that we call him doubting Thomas, and I wonder where that started. But we do have that scene at the end of John where he does have those questions but it's interesting the Gospels will only record three times were Thomas's spoke speaks and each time he asked great questions and he provokes great answers the first time he speaks. The disciples are deciding whether or not to go to Bethany, where Jesus's enemies are. It's very unsafe, but they need to go there because Lazarus says is sick and is dying and at the end of all this deliberate debate Thomas pipes up and says let's go die with Jesus.

In other words, if we need to go and we signed up for this. Were going to go and work in a stand with what an amazing testimony of faith and then the second time you hear him speak is when Jesus is in the upper room and he is sharing about what's to come that he's saying I'm in a go prepare a place for you where I'm going, you can go Thomas. After all of the says will if you're going there. How can we know the way. And of course Jesus responses. I am the way the truth and the life.

So Thomas was very analytical, but he believed Jesus, but he asked the question how can we know it.

If it were to go here. How can we know the way and Jesus gives it gives a great response in a course at the end of the book and of John we see where he is despondent. I believe between the crucifixion and the resurrection. All his hopes and dreams have been he put all his faith in Jesus. He thought he had everything figured out and he just can't make sense of any of it. Jesus had appeared to the disciples in the upper room without Thomas the first time when he appeared to them and it's interesting the gospel writers make a note that Thomas isn't there another words they felt the hole they felt something missing because their brother was not there and you see them go to Thomas and they are kinda pulling him out of his despair and there in the same we have seen Jesus trust me and he's doubting site unless I see him, his scars on the complete but that community pulls him out of despair course Thomas again sees Jesus and again another appearance and when he sees the evidence he gives this great statement of worship. He says my Lord and my God. So he's really a great example for us of bringing your questions to Jesus that we will have doubts, but bring them to Jesus.

And then once we see the answers provoking worship and that's really the only response for us at Easter when we see the risen Lord is to worship and say my Lord and my God. Absolutely. Well, what about women, the significance of women in the ministry of Jesus, particularly dear is his death and resurrection what what role do women play what's really interesting because as you know, women's testimony was not considered trustworthy in the first country in terms of evidence and and in the courts and in terms of weighing things but that is actually one really great piece of evidence for the resurrection that story relies on the testimony of women that if if this was some kind of hoax or some kind of thing that would not put forward for fourth women to testify, but it also tells us something about the way that Chris Dendy elevates women that the first witnesses of the empty tomb are not the disciples they're not anybody. And you know considered important. There these female disciples you think of Mary Magdalene, who had her life transformed by Jesus to think of Jesus on mother Mary who had to endure all the suffering she saw her son do think of John's mother's alone who was willing to let her son go follow Jesus instead of take on the family business. So I think it tells us a lot about what Christianity says to women about women. We are all made in the image of God and we are equal in value, that there be no question about that. That's amazing how even in the culture which did not value women is as we would hope the wood movement are valued today. Yet they played this major role below stucco Judas what we know about him, other than the fact that he ultimately betrayed Jesus. Judas is really most mystifying character because obviously we know him because of his betrayal, but I met think of the fact that he was one of the most trusted people that Jesus knew Jesus had hundreds of disciples but then he narrowed down to 12 key men who were part of this movement, Judas was one of those just was so trusted he was the treasurer even appoint someone to be treasure that you don't just trust with your life right week.

We know that he was not from the Galilee region. He was from Judea, most people think is scary. It is a town near Halliburton. He was probably a little bit more on the revolutionary side in terms of wanting to overthrow Rome not a not a zealot by any chance are insurrectionist, but in that stream. What's haunting to us is Judas was a gospel preacher.

Judas was among those that Jesus sent out to heal and preach the gospel.

If you relief if you want to really think about it. There were people in the first century who believed in Jesus, who believed in Jesus as Messiah after hearing Judas preaching Judas do these miracles that Jesus commissioned them to do. Judas had seen everything that Jesus had done.

Walking on water and healing the sick and all that. So why did he turn there's a lot of speculation. Why did he turn we don't really know except we have to we have to think that Jesus was not the kind of King that Judas wanted that he wanted a political savior.

He, Jesus, toward the end was doing all the wrong things that you would want someone for this movement to be doing. He's allowing this perfume to be wasted on him to prepare for his barely talk about death and resurrection. He's letting his enemies capture him. He's walking essentially into a trap to be to be crucified, and I think Judas didn't get what he wanted out of Jesus. What is haunting to us is that after he sold Jesus.

He has this moment of remorse and he comes to the religious leaders and said that he realizes what he's done and what really haunts me is that the religious leaders could not help you not want to think that Judas could have turned to the one who could've taken his offer to take his shame and guilt. The one who betrayed. Could it could have been his savior you think of the contrast with Peter were Peter denied the Lord, but he found forgiveness and hope and freedom, and the one he had denied at the cross with Judas doesn't find that and what it what a sad commentary both on the religious establishment. The time that they could not point him to spiritual freedom, but also that Judas you want to think he could have turned to find hope and in Jesus, we know that God would've forgiven him. Yeah, just thinking about the wind when Jesus sent them out to buy two and said no don't take this with you, and shake shake the dust off your feet. Judas as part of that Judas is is even doing the miraculous things to says that they you know that they were able to heal because of of what Jesus commissioned them to do so. Judas is right there and then the upper room we think of that and the dipping of the of the bread and the cup and then the questions the Everett better all the disciples had is it me. Is it me or my going to but yet though not be Peter says and and then becomes Judas inside. I agree with you the word that you used in the haunting really does come over that story to it really does and we don't quite know when Judas flipped, if you will, but I tend to think it was when Mary of Bethany opened up that ointment and spilled it and if you're trying to build an earthly kingdom you trying you're trying not to try to conserve resources.

This is the wrong thing to do. But Jesus embraces it, and then says she's preparing me for my burial and I think it just finally had them all the talk of death. All the talk of of of this and you know he sorta flips there but it is haunting to us. Like you said Chris that Judas was one of the ones Jesus sent out Judas was a gospel preacher and yet he ends up betraying his Lord which would haunt all of us really. I was read somebody of the day who said maybe Judas of this just conjecture.

Maybe Judas was trying to force the hand of Jesus that by going in betraying him in them due to the soldiers come out then Jesus is going to reveal who he is and become the you know the the leader that Judas wants him to be anything about that.

I think it's very plausible and I actually kind of talk about that in the book a little bit that it could. That very well could be what he's trying to do it to force his hand like Jesus is not playing along with what what a revolutionary political leader should be doing.

He's doing all the wrong things he's he's bleeding himself into a trap. This way, so Judas tries to force his hand. And that's probably why you see the despair at the end of minute what I just do that. That's a good idea.

I think what, but did in the struggle that I have with that then his Jesus was telling them here here's what's gonna happen. I'm going to go to Jerusalem, I will be in a handed over all be killed and on the third day rise again and then they you know looked at themselves and said was that mean they will rise again in as they just did just wasn't on the radar. Even though he was telling them he was he was preparing him for that.

They are preparing them for that yet that's exactly right. He was preparing them for that. But as you know, in John 14 through 16.

He says essentially you don't understand this, but the Holy Spirit is God going to illuminate you after all this so then there going back. Obviously it afterwards and say oh yeah this all makes sense in the pieces but at the time it didn't make any sense. There tuning out Jesus a little bit when he talk about death and resurrection in Judas was, I think, too. It's interesting what you know. How could someone who was so loyal to Jesus betray him, but then you have to ask, what was he loyal to. Was he loyal to the idea of Jesus instead of being loyal to the Jesus that is like there's a Jesus in his mind that he wanted to be and the real Jesus disappointed.

That's Daniel Darling, I guess today on Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman. You can find his book at our website. Five love The title is the characters of Easter, the villains, heroes, cowards and crocs who witnessed history's biggest miracle again got a five love Let's talk a little bit about Pontius Pilate because he was obviously a player in this whole thing and he represents the weak leadership think we could say that but you say that it wasn't really Jesus who was on trial before Pilate what he say that that's the interesting thing. The way that the gospel set this here. You have a powerless itinerant rabbi from Nazareth with no place to lay his head.

Who is beaten and flogged, whose rejected by his own people, and then you have Pilate who is a powerful Roman governor was placed in this position by Caesar after a succession of Herod's offspring couldn't handle handling Judea pilot didn't necessarily want to be here. Judea was a tough place to govern.

There had been other uprisings with the Jewish people.

There'd been missteps that he had made skirmishes he had put down but he can't to get this right because he was on thin ice, both with the Jewish people but also with Rome, but he didn't want to be here and it's interesting when he pulls Jesus back into his private chambers and he's essentially pleading with them, saying, can you help me out here. Can you can you throw me a bone. I know you're innocent, but I want to help you and another was. I have the power to save your life in which Jesus does, he flips the script and what he what he's making Pilate aware of it. Actually I'm not on trial before you all this is preordained.

I I've Artie accepted the cup of God's wrath. I'm already going to the cross. This is going to happen. I'm laying down my life. No one can take it what you Pilate. Your soul is on trial and it's interesting the way that Jesus pursues him and this and that God even sends a dream to Pilate's wife to haunt her.

The power is flipped and we think today we look and see who's in a position of power with the president of the governor celebrity you know me think they have all the power. If you are in the first entrant is really would think you Pilate has all the power in everyone's fearful of him. But the truth is the real power was hidden in Jesus and he was the one we only know Pilate as a footnote to the story of Jesus. We only know Pilate because he's mentioned in the apostles Creed suffered under Pontius Pilate. He he is out. He's a historical marker but it also reminds us of the clash of kingdoms of the earthly kingdom and the kingdom of God upon a part of that it which I think you might clear is God's plan for the crucifixion of Jesus, and Jesus knew it they was over and expecting it and thought it could not stop that, he happened to be an instrument in the. The legal system. Part of it. But Jesus was because he came to die. That's exactly right. I mean, as Peter says in the book of acts that this is determined for the before the world began the easement see in back in Genesis 3 that there is a prediction of this violent clash between the seed of the woman in the seat of the serpent and all through history the author the Old Testament see these echoes of of this coming the, the Lamb slain for sin that the Old Testament sacrifices all counterpoint to this of this. This was nut in heaven was not shaken by the death of Jesus. Heaven was not trembling at the arrest of Jesus and yet humans are accountable for their actions.

As Peter says that the editors that tension between human responsibility and divine authority. But as we see Easter we should look at Easter as God's plan from the beginning of time to save his people to to put the weight of sin on Jesus and take our sin and offer us forgiveness and rise again defeats in death and the grave that that is how we should view Easter absolutely no one of the most interesting people in the Eastern narrative is Barabbas who was a really then why does this story resonate with us. So Barabbas is an insurrectionist you know there is a spectrum of attitudes about Roman power. You had most people who were probably like the Pharisees who did not like Roman power who try to resist it, but called for spiritual renewal that he had more radical folks like Simon the zealot who advocated more violent overthrow, but then you people like Barabbas, who on the far end who were mercenaries and insurrectionist and they plotted acts of terrorism and and murder in order to to do these things, he was guilty of this crime. He and two others were out work set to be executed for this by Rome now just distant historical note to be executed by Rome by crucifixion meant that you are really guilty of serious crimes. It was a very humbly waited to die. Barabbas was guilty of the things that Jesus was being charged with and Pilate understood that Jesus wasn't guilty of insurrection faculty. That's part of the reason that Judas and others abandon Jesus because he wouldn't do that but what happened is Pilate every year would offer to the Jewish people.

The release of of a political prisoner in order to kind of ease tensions and I think his thought was I know Jesus innocent all offer Barabbas in Jesus you pick 1/3 inches Barabbas he's not very well-liked. Of course they choose him to be released instead of Jesus at the interesting thing.

I was think about this Barabbas in his cell he's reviewing is life is writing letters to his family is getting his things in order. He probably has regret about the crimes he's committed. He knows it's his last few hours and then a knock on the cell comes in and it opens and and Roman guard says you've been set free in a in a very shocking way and I just wonder if the rest of his life he had gratitude for Jesus to died in his place.

They did he ever come to see Jesus not it's not just dying in his place physically and taking his place where he should've been. But did he ever come to see him as his spiritual Savior in my mind I want to think that will see him in heaven that he was so overcome with joy at at what Jesus had done for him. But in the sense all of us at Easter are Barabbas, all of us are guilty of crimes but Jesus crimes against God. But Jesus has taken that punishment for us.

He's died in our place.

So Barabbas is actually a a metaphor of the salvation that all that is available in Christ at Easter. You often, we often think of these.

I've often thought, but you know what happened to Barabbas and as you said, we don't know that historically we don't know but certainly there was the option for him to see Christ for who he was because there are no sins that that cannot be forgiven by God about the religious leaders, Pharisees, Sadducees scribes, it's easy to see them simply as well. These were religious enemies of Jesus and maybe we missed something important. We do that, I think we do. And it's easy to just come collapse them all together but there's different groups. The Sadducees were kind of in the minority.

They were folks who did not believe in the resurrection they only believed in the first five books of the Old Testament, they accommodated themselves to Roman power. In fact, they were more trustworthy of Rome and they had worked themselves into a position of spiritual power. Annas and Caiaphas the high priests had been able to to do this and so they didn't like Jesus because he talked about resurrection but they also didn't like him because what he was stirring up was a threat to their power.

They this delicate relationship they had managed to negotiate between Rome and the Jewish people that didn't want him to disturb they they would control the majority on the Sanhedrin, which is the 70 member ruling council, the Pharisees, on the other hand were different. They were looking for spiritual renewal in Israel. They were looking for repentance and renewal. They cared about the law they they believed what the prophets it said when the prophets at called out Israel for their idolatry and the disobedience and they very much wanted spiritual renewal.

They had so it's interesting Jesus theologically was closer to the Pharisees. A lot of people think what you just Jesus just came to get rid of the law and all that know Jesus was actually closer to them. But what what the Pharisees did not see, and in their walk.

Keeping in their wanting to bring about spiritual renewal is that their self-righteousness would not usher in the kingdom of God that even they who were concerned about Israel spiritual state. Even they needed a Savior and Jesus says to Nicodemus who perhaps is the most devout religious leader of the time. He says even you need to be born again and then offended that they were also offended that he claimed to be the Messiah, the promised one, which if if Jesus was wrong would be terrible blasphemy and so they they couldn't see past all that to see the miracles to see the way he fulfilled the predictions of the prophets, and so we have to can understand both of these. The Pharisees were kind of the book conservative Bible believing folks if you want to stay in the Sadducees were more the kind a liberal religious people but yet they both united in fact that Jesus was a threat to their way of life about the scribes who were they so the scribes were scholars.

They are the ones that poured over the Old Testament text they knew Scripture backward and forward their often seen with the Pharisees because again the Pharisees cared about biblical accuracy. They were the cared about the Scriptures, describes the scholars date they should have seen this on the should've seen Jesus and said, yet he fits all the definitions all the things of the priests and the prophets had predicted in the Old Testament, and yet they too miss them but they were what we would consider today. If you think of an Old Testament or New Testament PhD scholar at a university that that was the scribes.

Interesting that none of them even with all of their emphasis in the Scriptures recognized who he was admitted to people today don't recognize even though they are very educated people talk about the secret disciples who were they and what we know about them. So, I loved studying about these two secret disciples that are mentioned. Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus Nicodemus was one of the most revered religious leaders of the day. He was a member of the Sanhedrin, the 70 member ruling body. He came to Jesus by night to inquire. There's a lot of speculation.

Why did he come by night.

I think there's a couple different things there.

I think one you see in John, particularly the metaphor between light and darkness that you see at play there but also I think he was being wise you. He had a get a spiritual leadership role in the community. He wanted to make sure he got things right. He met with Jesus in a way that they will have a good conversation away from the crowds.

Joseph of Arimathea we just known as a wealthy benefactor who believed in Jesus and wanted to take care of Jesus. Jesus body had that they not come and taken it would've just been thrown into a common unmarked grave is a common criminal. But they wanted to give him a proper burial suggestive give up his own tomb yes easy for us to to look at them and say what they were secret believers. They are ashamed of being disciples of Jesus that should have been more outspoken, but that's not really how I see it, because I think there are times where people are in positions where they have to be wise about the way that they practice their faith.

God calls some people to be loud and outspoken guy calls from people to practice their faith in a different way and they chose just the right time to declare their faith in Jesus. It was a great risk for them to go to Pilate asked for the body. They were essentially outing themselves as distant followers of Jesus that would put them at odds with their contemporaries that would risk risk social relationships and their employment and they were willing to take that risk and take that step of faith because they love Jesus and they cared for him in his final month and is after he was that he was dead and they they really gave a proper burial which which shows us, I think how much they really believed they did understand everything but they knew enough to take a very hard and difficult step of discipleship. We don't often see that movie that that was really a bold thing for them to do it really was young and annual for them to to do that was bold and you know discipleship and being bold and being courageous sometimes requires wisdom and the right timing of when do I declare this when do I say this window.

I take a stand when do I risk everything and that was the moment for them to do that. So what about the Romans who actually executed Jesus so it's interesting to think about the Romans because they were the ones that carried out the execution of the religious leaders had some authority to do to rule people but when it came to executions I really want to the Romans to do it. They rarely actually did crucifixions. It would have to be for the most important capital cases. I think it's interesting the soldiers that beat Jesus the one to put the nails in his hands and feet. What they were thinking.

We know that at least one century and stood and said surely this must've been the son of God. What they saw that night when the when the earth opened up the fear that the Roman guards who guarded the tomb imagined their stories. Years later, they become believers in Christ we see a Roman centurion earlier in the Gospels bag and pleads with Jesus to heal his son and in fact Jesus made a statement about faith that he did make about anybody else in the Gospels when he said about that Roman centurion. I've not seen great faith in all of Israel and what I think the Gospels are showing here is that Jesus saving faith was not just for the for the Jewish people.

But as for the whole world and I wonder how many Roman soldiers later became Christians.

We do know that Cornelius Peter visited his house and he followed Jesus. Some people speculated that maybe Cornelius was one of the Roman centurion's that was at the crucifixion and maybe what he saw just really moved him and start him toward Jesus. We don't know that for sure.

But it's interesting to see from their perspective. It's also easy for us to say, will the Romans killed Jesus were to pinpoint who was the one that killed Jesus but the truth is, all of us with our sin put Jesus on the cross. Isaiah 53 says all we like sheep have gone astray.

The Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

And so when we approach Easter will blame the Romans were employing the religious leaders were the ones that put him here and in fact actually, Jesus is the one who laid down his life and no one took it from Phil. He said that himself and that's right on the cross. Also, he said.

Father forgive them for they know not what they do somebody. Blue said that God immediately forgave them say that is a prayer and that's why he was nodding so that they would receive him and later on, of course, Peter Preece of the day of Pentecost and said you cruise about the King of glory and it says many of the priests believed so many of the people who who were involved in the crucifixion did believe.

So we don't know about which ones but we do know that many believed yeah and I love that fact that it I mentioned in my book.

Jesus is forgive them for they don't know what they do for doing such a powerful statement of Jesus forgiving the people to put them on the cross but also recognizing this is part of a the long cosmic plan of God to rescue the world to rescue his people from sin and I think it should give us comfort and hope that we often focus on people and situations, but God's plan.

It's but as much bigger.

Our story is wrapped into the much larger story of what God is doing in the world you know we've been through a long pandemic and some churches have been close for a long time. Others have opened up in a partially so this Easter we typically historically the largest church attendance in the year is on Easter Sunday incident to see what what it what will happen this Easter in terms of actual attendance is people that churches may open up wider for people to come back so what are the implications of Easter for us at this juncture in our society. You are right that this year I think Easter will be probably more meaningful.

Of course it it it always has meaning for Christians in the 2000 years that we've celebrated the death and resurrection of Jesus. Easter is everything. It's the whole ballgame in a positive Jesus and rise from the dead that were of all people, most to be petty that we should just essentially go home and not bother within this religious stuff, but if you did rise from the data changes everything, but I think this is going to be even more meaningful for a few reasons. Last, or none of us could gather to worship.

On Easter we all had to do it virtually be the case for a lot of folks this year, but not everyone.

I think there's gonna be a lot of folks you are able to gather in their churches and and and celebrate, but if you think about where we are, even in the pandemic that one of the things is cause us to think about is the frailty of our lives. It's because the think about the way that brokenness has made its way through the human experience that we are in a fallen world board viruses and diseases can wreak so much havoc and death. In one of things he Easter says is that Easter's is celebrates the death of death that Jesus defeated death, and it it says that in the resurrection.

There's something new coming and I just love that Easter is in the spring because one of the things about the spring is you see new things growing. You see, after a long hard winter, particularly from your fear and are really cold weather state you start to see things shoot up grass and leaves and flowers bloom, and it's a sign that there's something new coming and that's the story of Easter is the sign that there's something new coming. There's a New World coming in the midst of this brokenness in the midst of our despair and especially this year will be lost. So many people when we've been through so much tension and hardship we can declare to ourselves and to the world that there's something new coming that Jesus has renewing and restoring people in his renewing and restoring the world that for those who believe there is life beyond the grave as he was risen so we will rise there. I think if ever there was a day in our culture in which people might be open to the reality of life beyond the grave. Who should be now because we've heard on our screens. Every death death death that this man is this minute so let me just thank you for being with us today. Thank you for the time you invested in this book of looking at things characters of Easter and I know that many of our listeners will read it because it's very rich and takes us back to the pivotal point in the Christian faith, and so thanks for the thank you. It's an honor to be on here with Daniel Darling is been. I guess they feel or find out more about our featured resource.

Five love have the book link right there. The characters of Easter villains heroes cowards who witnessed history's biggest miracle again. Five love and next week the untold love story of a famous couple from his don't miss the marriage lessons from the Spurgeon's and one with my thanks to our production team Steve Dweck and Janice Todd. Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman is the production of many radio and association with any publishers ministry of Moody Bible and thanks for listening

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