Monday, April 21, 2014


On Friday night our ward has a FUN night. FUN would stand for Family Unity Night. It was actually a lot of FUN. One of the displays they had was pictures of our ancestors and you would try and guess who's ancestor it was. Since Lisa is out of town it fell to me to provide the pictures.

The woman on the top left is Janet Dinnon Young Shaw and she is Lisa's great great grandmother. Janet was actually born 101 years before Lisa in 1862.

The man to my left is my great great grandfather Thomas Rowell Leavitt who was born 124 years before me in 1834. Even though our ancestors are four generations removed from us you really don't have to look too hard to see some amazing similarities.

There more difference there is between a man and a woman's DNA
 the more attracted they are to the smell of each other.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

He is Risen

During the night well after midnight, Roman guards were watching the tomb of Jesus. It must have been very boring for them and I'm sure they were debating the events of their time in an effort to keep each other awake. Falling asleep on the job was not an option for a Roman soldier since such a dereliction of duty would be met with harsh punishment. Suddenly a bright light appeared in the sky and gradually drew closer and grew brighter. As the light drew nearer they realized that in the center of the bright light was a man. They were probably quite frightened but soon realized that the man wasn't coming toward them but rather to the tomb. As the man approached the tomb there was another earth quake and the guards were thrown to the ground unconscious. As they returned to consciousness they saw that the stone covering the tomb had been rolled away and checking inside their worst fears were realized. The body of Jesus Christ was gone. 

The guards were now faced with a very difficult decision. If they told the true story of what they saw to their superiors there was a good chance that they would end up on the same cross upon which Jesus had died. If they tell their superiors that they fell asleep and someone stole the body the punishment would be a very severe scourging. Finally they decided to go to the Sanhedrin and see if they had any suggestions. The leaders of the grand council must have been horrified to hear the story from the guards. Could it be true what the guards were saying? Of course at this point the deed was done so they had to go on the assumption that the body had been stolen. In the end they chose to pay the guards money to tell everyone that they had fallen asleep with the promise that they would use their influence with Pilate to keep them from a beating. 

Meanwhile Mary Magdalene couldn't sleep. She'd been up all night long as had everyone else in the house. She decided to head out to the tomb well before sunrise and before anyone else. She arrived at the tomb just as the sun was coming up. Her heart must have froze when she saw the stone had been rolled back. As she stepped into the tomb and saw the burial clothes laid out on the bench and the napkin that covered the face neatly folded she burst into tears. She quickly ran back to the house where everyone was staying. 

Meanwhile another group of women who included Jesus' mother had set out for the tomb not long after Mary had left. They must have taken a different path than Mary had because as she ran back to the house she missed the group of women. When Mary reached the house she first saw Peter and John. She told them how she'd found the stone rolled back and except for the burial clothes the tomb was empty. 

Peter and John both ran for the tomb as fast as they could but John being the faster runner left Peter far behind. Mary followed after them. John arrived at the tomb before the other woman did and he immediately saw the stone rolled back and the tomb open. For some reason, possibly out of respect for Peters status as the head apostle, he didn't enter the tomb but waited for Peter to arrive. Peter led the way and they both entered the tomb and saw the linen laying on the bench. When John saw the empty tomb he knew that Jesus had not been taken away but that he had risen. They both headed back to the house understandably exited about sharing the story of the risen Lord. 

Peter and John were gone by the time the group of women found their way to the tomb. Perhaps they had been delayed by making a wrong turn but as they arrived they were wondering how they were going to roll back the stone. They too noticed right away how the stone had been rolled away and upon entering the tomb they saw the linens and the neatly folded cloth that had covered the face of Jesus. As they left the tomb however they saw another sight that they would remember as long as they lived. Two men were standing there and the light shining from them was brighter that the noon day sun. As the women tried to compose themselves one of the men spoke saying, "Why seek ye the living among the dead?"

Some of the women were understandably frightened and upon seeing this, the angel again spoke, "Fear ye not! Be not amazed. I know that you have come seeking Jesus of Nazareth who was crucified. Why seek ye the living among dead? Jesus is not here. He is risen. Behold the place where they laid him. Remember, remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee? Did he not say to you that the Son of man must be delivered up into the hands of sinful men and be crucified? Go, go quickly and tell Peter and the disciples. Tell them this, 'Jesus is risen from the dead.' Lo, I have told you so."

The group of women did as they were directed and went back to find Peter and the other apostles. Mary on the other hand was still headed back to the tomb. She must have met up with Peter and John but chose to continue on to the tomb anyway. Still very distraught she decided to enter into the tomb probably just to be near where her Lord had last lain. As she stepped inside the tomb however she was startled to see that two men sat there, one on each end of the bench where Jesus had been laid. The two men were dressed in white and the tomb appeared to be bathed in sunlight. One of the men spoke to her asking, "Woman, why weapest thou?"

Mary responded, "Because they have taken my Lord away, and I know not where they have laid him." Suddenly Mary caught sight of movement outside of the tomb and noticed a man standing there. "Woman", he said, "why weepest thou?" It was the exact same question asked by the two men within the tomb. He then asked, "Whom seekest thou?"

Suddenly Mary had a glimmer of hope. This must be the gardener. Perhaps he knew where Jesus had been taken. Perhaps he himself took the body. Meekly she asked him, "Sir? If you have borne him somewhere, tell me where he is, and I will take him away."

Jesus then spoke her name. A name that he had lovingly spoken to her hundreds of times and when he spoke it this time she instantly knew who he was. Jesus said, "Mary." 

When he spoke her name she cried, "Rabboni? Master?" It was him, She had watched him suffer and die on the cross but here he was. Joy filled her heart and she ran to him with her arms outstretched. To her surprise Jesus stepped back and held up his hand to stop her. 

"Mary," he said ever so gently, "touch me not, for I have not yet ascended to my Father." He smiled at her and she wept but this time they were tears of joy. 

Jesus continued, "Go to your brethren and say unto them that I ascend unto my Father and your Father, and to my God and your God."

Mary dropped to her knees, was barely able to stop herself from leaping into his arms but through her tears she answered, "Yes, Master." Looking up he was gone but now the empty tomb beside her held a whole new significance. Rather than a symbol of pain and sadness it was a symbol of hope. 

The group of women were on their way back to the house certainly going over and over  among themselves the words that the angels had spoken. "He is not here. He is risen." As they walked they saw a man standing on the road ahead of them. As they approached the man they recognized him as Jesus. Jesus raised his hand in greeting and called, "All hail."

Back at the home where they were all gathered, the apostles and other friends of Jesus were having a hard time accepting Johns conviction that Jesus was resurrected. When Mary and the other women returned it became still harder to reject the idea that Jesus was resurrected. The woman were either liars or deluded and they were reluctant to accept either of those options but these women claimed to have seen Jesus on the road and they told how they had touched him and they witnessed the wounds in his feet and in his side. The glow from these woman must have convinced most that Jesus was risen but still some of them doubted. And then when Mary added her testimony to those of the others they must have been very convincing but think about what they were claiming. Jesus had risen from the dead.

I imagine it must have been hard on the Lords apostles to know that after all of their devotion to him, Christ would appear first to the women but personally I find it touching. While I don't know why he did this it isn't hard for me to believe that he appeared first to those who needed the comfort of seeing him the most. What love he must have had for these women. 

Some time during the day the Lord also appeared to Peter and then still later in the day a man named Cleopas and another man who was probably Luke were walking to a nearby city named Emmaus. As they were walking they were talking about all of the wonderful things that had happened that day. Along the way they came across another man who asked them what they were talking about. They walked together for a couple of hours until they arrived at their destination at which point they invited the stranger to stay with them. At this point the veil that had been drawn across their eyes was lifted and they recognized their companion as the Saviour. They witnessed the wounds in his hands. 

In the evening the Lords disciples gathered again to make plans. The Sanhedrin were furious that Christs body was gone and they were doing everything in their power to quell any rumors that he may have been resurrected. For this reason the disciples were once again afraid for their safety. They were anxious to be headed back to Galilee but at the same time they weren't about to leave until they knew exactly what was going on. So far the only witnesses they had of the risen Lord was a bunch of women and many were still quite skeptical. Many of the disciples gathered for a meeting that night. When everyone was in the room they barred the door and windows out of concern for their safety. They had food prepared and as they were enjoying the food and sharing stories and opinions on the events of the day the Lord suddenly appeared among them. What a wonderful experience this must of been for all of those present but especially for those who had not yet seen the Lord. Jesus invited every single one of them to touch the wounds in his feet and in his hands. There were no skeptics left at this point. The knowledge of the resurrection was now made sure for everyone present. This was especially significant at this time because even though many prophets from the old testament spoke of a resurrection of the body many at the time of Christ believed this only meant a resurrection of the spirit and not a restoration of the flesh and bones. Now here was their Lord in flesh and bones. What a comfort this must have been to them. After Jesus had personally addressed everyone in the room he spoke a few words to them all. He asked them why they doubted? Didn't he tell them that he would rise on the third day? Didn't the women tell them that they had seen him? Finally he addressed his apostles but the words he spoke were clearly meant for all of those in the room.

Remember the words which I spake unto you while I was yet with you, how that all things must be fulfilled which was written in the Law of Moses and the prophets and the Psalms concerning me. Thus it is written that the Messiah should suffer, and rise again from the dead the third day. It is also written that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in the name of Christ to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. Behold, I send forth the promise of my Father upon you; but tarry in the city, until you are clothed with power from on high. Go ye therefore into all the world, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the father and the son and the Holy Ghost. teach them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned. And lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world." 

And then with everyone in the room looking on he was gone. 

"So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. 

And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the work with signs following.
Mark 16: 19-20

Jesus continued to visit his disciples for forty days teaching them and helping them to prepare for the difficult ministry that was before them. The scriptures record at least eleven appearances made by the Saviour and the first five of them were on the day of his resurrection. These are:

1) Mary Magdalene at the tomb (John 20:11-18)
2) Other women (Matthew 28:9-10)
3) Peter (Luke 24:34)
4) Cleopas and an unnamed disciple (Luke 24:13-32)
5) a group of disciples on the Sunday evening (Luke 24:36-43; John 20:19-25)
6) a group of disciples on the following Sunday evening with Thomas present (John, 20:26-31)
7) seven apostles and others not named on the shores of Galilee (John 21:1-25)
8) eleven apostles on a mountain in Galilee (Matthew 28:16-20)
9) 500 brethren at once (1 Corinthians 15:7)
10) James (1 Corinthians 15:7)
11) His ascension from the Mount of Olives (Acts 1:3-12)

Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Sabbath Day

Can you even imagine what the night must have been like for Mary (Jesus mother) and the rest of Jesus close friends? The Sabbath day must have dragged on at a snails pace. Jesus' burial wasn't even completed and yet they couldn't do anything about it. I'm also certain that Jesus' apostles kept asking themselves over and over again through out this day what more could they have done to prevent the death of their master. In the end they surely came to the conclusion that this crucifixion wasn't an accident. For some reason that they couldn't understand Jesus allowed this to happen.

At one point during this sabbath day the Sanhedrin came to a frightening realization. Jesus had prophesied that on the third day he would be resurrected. They suddenly became afraid that the disciples of Jesus would take his body from the tomb and make the claim that he was risen from the dead. Once again they went complaining to Pilate who finally agreed to post a guard at the tomb to make certain no one took the body of Jesus. 

While the Gospels don't make it clear, it is likely that Jesus friends gathered together somewhere in Jerusalem so as to be closer to the tomb on Sunday morning. No one wanted to be alone and they were anxious to get a good start and to have a proper fair well with their Master.

Friday, April 18, 2014

The Crucifixion

By the time the guards arrived at Annas house it was after midnight. Annas had been the high priest and still had a lot of power in Jerusalem but his son-in-law Caiaphas was now technically the man in chargeThey were about to put Jesus on trial then and there but they realized that although most people viewed Annas as the High Priest the one who had the real authority to judge Jesus would be Caiaphas so right there in the middle of the night they marched Jesus off to Caiaphas' house. Trying Jesus in the middle of the night was unlawful for the High Council to do for two reasons. First of all, under Jewish law, the High Council wasn't allowed to meet at night and secondly Passover began at sunset and under Jewish law, all feast days were considered to be Sabbath Days so Jesus couldn't be tried on a sabbath day. This didn't stop the High Council however because they knew that Jesus was loved by the people and if they tried him during the day the people would never allow it. They had to do it at night when no one else was around.

The Great Council (also called the Sanhedrin) had been planning this event for some time and they had several false witnesses lined up to testify against Jesus during the trial. They also rounded up as many malcontents as they could so they could have a mob of people present to call for Jesus' death.

John and Peter had followed the guards when they took Jesus but the rest of the apostles hadn't so they were the only two apostles present. They were surrounded by people who were not friends of Jesus so they kept their identity secret. At the palace of Caiaphas, the apostle John knew one of the servants and he managed to get himself and Peter into the courtyard. A crowd of people were starting to gather there expecting the arrival of Jesus and several of the temple guards were there as well. A portion of Caiaphas' house, or more accurately palace, was set apart for administering justice and also contained a pit where prisoners awaiting trial could be kept and a scourging room where justice could be handed out as required. 

Peter and John had been out in the courtyard but when Jesus was brought into the room where the trial was to be held they left the courtyard to enter the room. A woman stopped Peter and looking at him she thought she recognized him. She asked him if he wasn't one of Jesus' followers and Peter immediately denied it saying, "I am not!"

Being in the room where Jesus was being tried finally wore on Peter who was becoming very nervous and he went back out into the court yard. The night was cold and a fire was going to keep the people warm. As Peter stood by the fire to keep warm another man also standing by the fire said to him. From your accent it sounds like you're from Galilee, aren't you one of Jesus followers? Peter again denied knowing Jesus saying, "Of a truth, I am not!"

Things weren't going well for the Sanhedrin at Jesus' trial. While they had many witnesses they told conflicting stories and under Jewish law, if you were going to hand down the death sentence you had to have at least two witnesses and three was better. They were having a hard time finding two who would agree. 

Finally one of the witnesses told how Jesus had said that he would destroy the temple that had been made with hands and then in three days he would rebuild the temple without hands. This of course was blasphemy since only a God could do that. 

They now had one witness and if they could find a second witness then it would be enough. A second man was found who corroborated the story of the first man and Jesus was then sentenced to death. Hearing the sentence, those in the courtyard began to taunt Jesus. Everyone present was friendly to the Sanhedrin (with the obvious exception of Peter and John) and they spit on him and blindfolded him and then punched him laughing and telling him that if he was a prophet then he should tell them who it was that hit him. 

As the commotion in the room where the trial was being held grew, Peter worked his way back to the door to try and get a better idea of what was going on. As he did so one of the temple guards came to him and said he thought he recognized him. The guard was actually related to the guard who's ear had been cut off and he sure thought Peter looked familiar, wasn't he one of those who had been there in Gethsemane? Peter then became angry and adamantly denied knowing Jesus and as soon as the words left his mouth the cock crowed. Hearing the cock crowing reminded Peter of what Jesus had said only a few hours before and he left the palace of Caiaphas and wept bitterly. 

I think all too often we are quick to call Peter a coward because of this denial but we know that isn't true. Just a few hours before he was willing to take on the entire temple guard single handedly which would have surely led to his death. And then when all of the apostles abandoned Jesus only Peter and John followed him into Jerusalem. I like to think that perhaps Peters denial of knowledge of Jesus may have been more motivated by a desire to avoid conflict. Several times throughout Jesus ministry he had been chastised by Jesus for acting before thinking the most recent admonishment happening that same night when he drew his sword against the guard. Jesus had told him that he who uses the sword will die by the sword. Perhaps Peter wept more due to the realization that Jesus was going to allow himself to be killed that night. 

The grand council now had their man and were able to convict him of blasphemy which under Jewish law carried the death penalty but now they had another problem. While the Romans allowed Judea to rule themselves they held the death penalty for themselves. They were the only ones who could sentence a man to die and the Sanhedrin knew that Romans with their many and confusing gods would find the concept of blasphemy amusing. They finally decided to accuse Jesus of treason, a charge that the Romans would definitely take seriously. 

In order to get the death sentence Jesus was then taken to the Romans and Pilate was the Governor in charge of Judea.  At the Roman Praetorium a large crowd had gathered. This would have been very unusual for this early in the morning and the crowd was very angry and hostile towards Jesus. This too would be surprising in light of the royal welcome Jesus had received just a few days earlier as he entered Jerusalem on a donkey. A comment made by Matthew suggests that the Sanhedrin had been rounding up a crowd of Jews from the dregs of society. They wanted to put on a show for Pilate making it look like the people were against Jesus. It was also around this time that Judas realized his great mistake. While we don't know why he did what he did it appears obvious that he didn't think Jesus would be killed. Once Judas realized that Jesus was to be put to death, he returned to the grand council and tried to return the money he had been paid. They refused to take it so Judas left it behind. They couldn't put the money back in the Treasury because it was now blood money (seems odd don't you think? They could pay blood money but not receive it.). When Judas left without the silver the Jewish leaders decided that they would use the money to buy land to be used as a cemetery for poor people. 

By the time Jesus arrived at the Praetorium where Pontius Pilate was, the courtyard was filled with the low life from Jewish society. Only the earliest of the common people were rising as the sun wasn't even completely up yet. The Sanhedrin refused to enter the home of a Gentile as this would defile them so the trial had to be held outside. Pilate quickly realized that this man was no threat to the Roman empire and told the Grand council that he found no fault in him. The crowd went wild demanding that Jesus be put to death. To make matters worse Pilate's wife told him that he should have nothing to do with this man. She had dreamed about him and she knew that he was a just man. At some point Pilate heard someone say that Jesus was from Galilee. He thought sure this was his way out. Galilee was not in his jurisdiction but rather in Herod's jurisdiction. As it happened Herod was in town due to the Passover feast so Pilate told his soldiers to take Jesus to Herod. 

During all of this Jesus never spoke a word. Herod was thrilled to see Jesus. He'd heard of him and had always wanted to meet him. He too found no fault with Jesus and when the Grand Council told him that he claimed to be a King, Herod thought that was quite funny. He found a beautiful robe and put it on Jesus. The Grand Council brought Jesus back to Pilate. This time when Pilate asked Jesus if he was the King of the Jews he told him that his Kingdom was not of this world. It bothered Pilate that he claimed to be a king at all.

Still looking for a way out of putting Jesus to death he came up with another idea. Traditionally the Romans would release a prisoner during the Passover feast. Pilate was sure that if he gave the crowd a choice between a murderer named Barabbas or Jesus they would surely pick Jesus but to his surprise the crowd chose to release the murderer and to crucify Jesus.

Pilate really didn't want to put Jesus to death so he finally decided that perhaps if he scourged Jesus then that may pacify the angry crowd. Jesus had still not been convicted of any crime but off to be scourged he went. The Romans had perfected the art of scourging to a "T". Just a leather thong would rarely break the skin no matter how hard you whipped a man but if you braided three strands of leather into a single strand with little bits of bone and metal in the strands of leather then even a mild lashing would tear ones flesh. 

Even as the Temple Guards had great fun mocking Jesus as a prophet, the Roman soldiers had great fun mocking Jesus as a King. They put a reed in his hand and pretended it was a scepter. They made a crown out of thorns and put it on his head. When Jesus was returned to Pilate scourged and wearing the crown of thorns and still dressed in the royal rob he led him out onto the balcony and presented him to the crowd. Pointing to Jesus he declared, "Behold the Man!" 

The crowd, led by the Sanhedrin began to cry out, "crucify him, crucify him". In frustration Pilate turned to Jesus and said, "from whence do you come?". When Jesus still refused to answer he again angrily asked him why he wouldn't talk to him, "don't you realize that I have the power to release you or to crucify you?" he said. Jesus then responded saying, "you could have no power over me at all if it weren't given you from above." This really shook Pilate and surely he was remembering the dream that his wife had told him about. 

He tried again to release Jesus as was customary for the passover but the Sanhedrin insisted that he release Barabbas. Pilate then asked what they wanted him to do with Jesus and they cried out again, "Crucify Him!"

"You would have me crucify your King?" Pilate asked. And they responded that they had no king but Caesar. 

Finally someone yelled out that if he let Jesus go then he was no friend of Caesars. That wording was no accident. The local Governors were often referred to as a "friend of Caesar". When Pilate heard this he resigned himself. He wasn't in good standing with Caesar because of earlier mistakes he had made with the Jews. He couldn't afford another one. Pilate ordered a bowl of water and a towel and washed his hands of the whole affair. After washing his hands he raised them to the crowd; in particular the members fo the Sanhedrin and declared that he was innocent of the blood of this man. And then Pilate sentenced our Lord to be crucified. 

Washing ones hands to absolve themselves of a sin was actually a Jewish law and when Pilate chose to do this it suggests that he was aware of the Jewish custom and he did it deliberately so they would understand the significance of it. 

A Roman crucifixion is one of the more cruel methods devised to kill a man. It often took several days for a man to die on the cross and to enhance the effect crucifixions were usually performed along side a major road so as to be witnessed by as many people as possible. The crucifixion of our Lord was to take place at Golgotha. The vertical pole of the cross was normally planted permanently in the ground and the cross beam was carried by the condemned man. The cross beam would be laid across the condemned mans shoulders and his outstretched arms were tied to the beam. The beam had to be thick enough to take the nails and to support the weight of the prisoner. This meant that the beam usually weighed well over a hundred pounds. 

By the time the cross was laid upon Jesus's shoulders and he began his walk to Golgotha word of Christs sentence had spread. A very large and solemn crowd gathered along the road. This was a very different crowd than what had filled the Praetorium a few hours earlier. These people, the common people, were in shock. They must have been very confused. While those close to Jesus surely realized that Jesus was not going to use his power to save himself, most of the people who had witnessed his many miracles must have been waiting for him to save himself and when he didn't they were probably quite baffled. The Messiah they were waiting for was supposed to come in his glory and free the Jewish people. 

By this time Jesus was extremely weak. He'd been up all night long, endured the indescribable suffering in Gethsemane, been subjected to hours of abuse and most recently the horrific scourging at the hands of the Roman soldiers. It had taken it's toll and together with the loss of a lot of blood the burden of the cross was too much for him to bear. A man from Cyrene who'd been watching the events from the side of the road was forced to carry Christs cross for him.

The crowd included several women who were crying for him. This went on for some time and at one point Jesus stopped and turning to the woman said, "Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For behold the days are coming, in the which they shall say, "Blessed are the barren and the wombs that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck.""

Golgotha is thought to be just outside the city walls north of Jerusalem. Most likely it was at the foot of a hill beside the roadway and not on top of the hill as is so often depicted in paintings. Another common legend that is likely incorrect is the cross that was used. While the Romans had many different crosses, the one that was most commonly used in Judea at the time of Christ was called a Tau cross after the Greek letter Tau which is equivalent to our letter "T". It was named this because that describes what it looked like. The cross beam that Jesus had carried to Golgotha with him would be nailed to the top of the post so that it could easily bear his weight. With the cross beam on the top of the pole it would look just like the letter "T".

The cross beam was laid on the ground and Jesus was laid on top of it. At first a nail was driven through the palm of his hand and then, to prevent the first nail from tearing though the flesh of his hand a second nail was driven through his wrist. Care had to be taken not to hit a major artery since this would allow the condemn man to bleed to death quickly and that would have been far too merciful. Once Jesus was nailed to the beam two solders lifted it up to the top of the pole where it was nailed in place. Jesus feet would then have been nailed to the pole. Most likely a single nail was used and driven through both feet. It was also common to provide a crude seat on the pole for the victim to sit on. 

Jesus was offered a drink of vinegar which was actually to help deaden the pain. When Jesus realized what it was, he refused to drink it. Apparently he wanted to face this ordeal with all of his faculties fully alert. At one point, as the crucifixion was taking place Jesus looked up towards Heaven and cried out, "Father! Forgive them for they know not what they do."

Jesus had worn the robe that had been given him to the site of the crucifixion but before he was nailed to the cross he was stripped of all of his outer clothing. As was tradition, the soldiers performing the crucifixion got to keep it. They drew lots to decide who got to keep what. 

All crucifixions had a title board at the top of the cross that gave the name of the criminal and the crime for which he was being crucified. Just to stick it to the Sanhedrin, Pilate had very specifically directed the Jesus' title board to read "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews" written in Greek, Hebrew and Latin. This incensed the Sanhedrin and they insisted that it be changed to read that he "claimed" to be King of the Jews. Of course it was not changed. 

Most of the crowd who had watched the procession had dissipated by now and it was a strange group of people who remained. There were the Romans who carried out the crucifixion, some members of the Sanhedrin who had instigated it and then there were his apostles and friends including Mary his mother. Some of the Sanhedrin mocked Jesus telling him that if he was truly the Messiah then he should save himself from the cross and then they would believe him. Finally they too drifted off. 

Two other prisoners had been crucified along with Jesus that morning, one on either side of him. No sooner had the mocking from the Sanhedrin ended when one of the prisoners began mocking him as well. "Art thou the Christ?" he said. "If you are save yourself and us." The other criminal however came to Christs defense and speaking to the other criminal he told him to leave Jesus alone. They were all going to die that day but at least they deserved what they got, Jesus on the other hand had "done nothing amiss." He then asked Jesus if he would remember him when he came into his Kingdom. Jesus responded by saying, " Verily I say unto you, on this day, you shall be with me in paradise."

It was still the middle of the day when the sky's went dark. Members of the Sanhedrin, incensed over the sign declaring Jesus the King of the Jews went to Pilate insisting that he change it. He flatly refused and dismissed them. They then reminded Pilate that they couldn't allow a prisoner to die on the sabbath which began at sunset. Pilate must have found it amusing that they could execute an innocent man but just don't let him die on the sabbath. Even so he issued an order to make sure the prisoners all died before sunset. As I said earlier, it can take a man days to die on the cross. When death finally does come it is actually due to suffocation. If the prisoners body hangs limp on the cross he can't breathe so in order to breathe he must alternately pull himself up with his arms or push himself up with his legs. If he is lucky enough to have a little seat he can use that to prolong the inevitable. Finally when he has no more strength, his arms and legs give out and he hangs down and suffocates. If it is necessary to hasten a prisoners death then it was common to break his legs thereby preventing him from supporting his body with his legs. It is then usually just a few hours before he will die.

Not long after the Sanhedrin left Pilate another member of the great council called upon him. His name was Joseph of Arimathea. Joseph was a supporter of Jesus and so was probably not too popular in the Sanhedrin and he had come to Pilate to ask for permission to take Jesus body and bury him in his own tomb. A tomb that had never been used. Pilate was probably happy to have one less problem to deal with.

Meanwhile, Jesus surrounded by the Roman soldiers and his friends finally spoke and called John and his mother Mary to him. To give his mother the highest honor he could he called her "Woman" and then referring to John he said, "behold your son". And then referring to his mother he spoke to John and said, "behold they mother!". In this manner he asked John to care for Mary as if she were his own mother and that is precisely what he did. From that day forward Mary moved in with John and he cared for her the remainder of her days. 

Several hours later Jesus became restless on the cross and finally he spoke again. Looking towards the heavens he called out, "My God! My God! Why hast thou forsaken me?" Up until this point Jesus had received constant support from his Heavenly Father through the Holy Spirit. Now, for the first time God had withdrawn his spirit and Jesus was required to bear this burden on his own. It must have been quite alarming for him. Not long after this Jesus spoke again and said, "I thirst". The sponge, soaked in vinegar was once again raised to his mouth on the end of a reed. This time he did drink from it. A little while later Jesus spoke one more time. Again looking to the heavens he said, "Father. Into thy hands, I commend my spirit." and then finally, "It is finished."

As Jesus' body hung limp on the cross the Roman soldiers following Pilates orders arrived to break the legs of the prisoners. One of the soldiers picked up the club used for this task and unceremoniously broke the legs of the two thieves but when he came to Jesus he found him already dead. Jesus had only been on the cross for a few hours so this was incredulous. No one died that quickly in a crucifixion. Just to be sure, he drew his sword and thrust it into Jesus' side. This act fulfilled two prophecies made of his death that, "a bone of him shall not be broken." and "They shall look on him whom they pierced."

Suddenly there was a massive earthquake that shook the entire region and as the earthquake subsided a violent storm lit up the already black sky with tremendous lightning and ear piercing thunder. The soldiers then looked upon Christ's body that had finally found peace and whispered, "Truly, this man was the Son of God."

There wasn't time remaining in the day to give Jesus a proper burial before the beginning of the Sabbath at sunset. They prepared his body as best the could in the few remaining hours and then hurried back to Bethany where they were likely staying with Mary and Martha. They must have been eternally grateful to Joseph of Arimethea for offering his tomb.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Feast of the Passover

Today is the feast of the Passover. The Jewish day however begins at sunset and since the feast of the Passover begins at sunset they would say that today is the day before the Passover. With the Passover feast beginning at sunset everyone is spending this day preparing for it. It must have seemed strange to the Apostles when Jesus told them that he wanted to celebrate this passover with them and not with family. After all he was staying with Mary, Martha and Lazarus who were just like family and I'm sure they expected him to share this feast with them.

So if they weren't going to share the Passover feast with family then where were they going to have it? Jesus told two of his disciples to go into Jerusalem (there is that rough hike over the Mount of Olives again) and they would see a man carrying water. They were to follow him to a house and they were to ask the "Goodman" of that house if they could use his "guest chambers" for the "Master". To top it all off the room would be already prepared for the Passover meal. By this time the Apostles must have been used to the strange requests that the Lord made of them.

The Passover meal follows a very specific sequence of events. First of all the meal is traditionally lead by the head of the household. For this meal, Jesus obviously led the meal. The Passover meal is divided into four segments. In the first segment the person leading the meal offers a prayer and then everyone drinks the first of four glasses of wine. The family then eats celery sticks that have been soaking in salt water. This is to remind them of the tears that were shed by the Israelites while they were slaves in Egypt. Next comes the telling of the story of Exodus. This is always begun by the youngest male in the family (who can understand the question)  asking the question, "Why is this night different from all other nights?". The leader of the meal then tells the story of the Exodus. Psalms are then sung and the second cup of wine is drunk.  Next was the formal meal with the Paschal lamb, the bitter herbs and the unleavened bread. The bitter herbs (most commonly horseradish) are to remind them of the bitterness of their bondage while slaves in Egypt. Another prayer and the third cup of wine. Finally the leader of the meal sings additional psalms and the last cup of wine is drunk. 

At sunset Jesus and his apostles arrived at the upper room for their passover meal. The meal probably started normally but at some point it became very non-traditional. Jesus took the loaf of bread and broke off a piece for each of his apostles who were probably wondering what that was all about. He then told them to eat of the bread which represented his body. He then filled a cup with wine and had them all drink from it. He told them this represented his blood which was shed for them and for many others. He then told them that he would not drink of the fruit of the vine again until he drinks it with them new in the Kingdom of God. 

Jesus then went and got the bowl and pitcher of water that is normally used to wash the feet of guests as they enter ones home, a task that is normally done by servants. When Jesus knelt before his apostles and began to wash their feet they were horrified. So much so that when it came Peter's turn he said to Jesus, "you would wash my feet?" Jesus told him that even though he didn't understand why he was doing this, the time would come that he would understand. Peter still refused to let the Lord wash his feet. Jesus told him that if he didn't let him wash his feet then Peter would have no part of him. Of course Peter not only wanted Jesus to wash his feet but his hands and his head as well. Jesus told him that if he washed his feet then he would be clean all over.

Once he had washed all their feet he then returned to the table and admonished them to follow his example and they should be servants unto each other. He then mentioned that they weren't all clean but that there was one sitting at the table with him who would betray him. The apostles were astonished and asked one by one if it was him. 

Jesus then said that it was he to whom he gave the sop. Jesus then dipped a piece of the bread into one of the many sauces that they have with their passover meal and handed it to Judas. Since the table was large and difficult for everyone to reach the various bowls it was considered an act of deep respect to have someone dip your bread for you and then hand it to you. Jesus then told Judas to do it quickly. Judas was obviously embarrassed and left the room but most of the apostle didn't understand what was going on and they wondered where he was going.  He told them that he had one more commandment for them. To love one another. "By this shall men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another."

Jesus then tried to comfort his apostles and told them that his time with them was short and that they would not be able to follow where he was going, at least not at that time, but they could follow later. Peter apparently knew what he was talking about and declared that he would follow him anywhere whether it was in prison or in death. Jesus looked at him and told him that he would deny that he knew him, not once but three times before the cock would crow the very next morning.

Peter who had just promised to die for Jesus was stricken by the remark. Finally Jesus comforted him saying, "let not your heart be troubled. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself. I will do this, that where I am, there you may be also,"

Jesus then told his disciples that he would not leave them comfortless but that he would leave the Holy Ghost, The Comforter. If one is willing to listen, the Holy Spirit will teach him all things, bear witness to the truth, bring all things to your remembrance and bring peace to your heart.

Finally Jesus became much more solemn and told them how they would be persecuted, thrown out of the synagogues. He then said that whoever put them to death would think that they are doing God a service. 

Put them to death?!?! How would that make you feel?
They then closed the meal by singing a hymn and then they left. When they left out of the east gate of the Temple the Apostles must have thought they were returning to Bethany but when they got to Gethsemane they turned off the main road and stopped in the grove of Olive trees. Gethsemane in Greek means Olive Press so this must have been a place where olives were pressed into oil. In any case, Jesus often stopped and rested on the Mount of Olives when they returned to Bethany and this may have been where they usually rested. Jesus asked his apostles to wait for him while he went off on his own but he did asked Peter, James and John to go with him. He then instructed them to wait with him while he prayed. 

During all of this Judas had found the Sanhedrin and told them where they could find Jesus. Not wanting to get the wrong person they insisted that Judas remain with them and when they found them to make sure he identified exactly who Jesus was. He agreed to do this by kissing Jesus.

Peter, James and John were probably close enough to Jesus to witness to some extent the agony that he was going through. They probably heard him cry out to the Father to "let this cup pass from me." And then moments later his resolve to endure what had to be done as he said, "Nevertheless...not as I will be as thou wilt." We can't understand just how the atonement took place or how it works but we do know that there in that Garden on this very night more than two millennia ago Jesus suffered for our sins and by so doing he paid the price necessary for my soul to return to my Father in Heaven. The pain of that suffering was so great that he sweat drops of blood. Some have argued that this was only figurative but I believe it was real. Sweating blood has been documented to happen in rare cases of extreme pain and the pain that our Lord suffered on this night exceeds any pain ever suffered by mortal man. The pain that Christ was to suffer during the following day was nothing compared to the pain that he suffered there in that garden for you and I.

I feel sorry for Peter, James and John. It was late, they'd just eaten a good meal and they were exhausted. I've been in that situation and no matter how hard I try I just can't keep my eyes open. I don't think I could if my life depended upon it and so it was with Peter and his brethren. Jesus returned twice and chastised them saying, "What? Could you not watch with me for one hour?" That would be me. The third time Jesus let them sleep without disturbing them and endured his suffering alone. But he wasn't alone, Angels came to give him strength during his ordeal. 

When it was over Jesus woke his apostles and told them that "The son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise up. Let us be going. He who shall betray me is at hand." As they were leaving, Judas met them and greeted his Lord by kissing him. The guards who came to take Jesus were not Romans but rather Temple guards who answered to the Sanhedrin. The guards had been standing back in the dark out of sight but as Judas identified who Christ was they came forward to arrest Jesus. The apostles were probably on the alert from the moment Jesus said he'd been betrayed and when one of them approached Jesus, Peter quickly swung his sword at the guard who came forward and cut off the guards ear. Jesus reproached Peter and said that those who take the sword shall perish by the sword. Jesus then pointed out that if he wanted he could ask Heavenly Father to send down twelve legions of Angels to save him "but how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled?" Jesus then reached forth and restored the guards ear. Can you imagine how he must have felt? I don't know if he continued with the other guards to take Jesus to Annas but if he did I'm sure it was out of duty and his heart was no longer in it. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Olivet Discourse

This morning, the day before Passover, Jesus and his disciples headed once again into Jerusalem. As they reached the summit of the Mount of Olives they came to the fig tree that Jesus had cursed yesterday. It was completely dead with scarcely a leaf left on it. Even if it had been cut down the tree wouldn't have died so quickly. This is the first miracle performed by Jesus that destroyed rather than healed. It must have seemed just as odd to Jesus' disciples as it does to me that he would curse a tree. As with everything that Jesus did in his life it must have had a purpose but there is no record anywhere that would explain why he did what he did.

One possible explanation that I've heard that makes sense to me is that Jesus used it as an example of the danger of hypocrisy. If you think about it, the tree was a hypocrite. A fig tree normally bears fruit at the same time that it leafs out. This tree had leaves which would suggest that it would bear fruit but upon closer inspection it had no fruit. This could be compared to a person who pretends to be something good but in actuality isn't. Jesus did to the tree the same as he did with the Sanhedrin and the Pharisees yesterday and attacked them quite forcefully.

I can only imagine that after the first two days that they spent on the Temple Mount that Jesus' disciples were on constant watch for retaliation from the Sanhedrin or for another confrontation but none came. At one point one of the disciples commented on the majesty and beauty of the Temple. Jesus responded by drawing their attention to the Temple and telling them that soon there would not be one stone left upon another. Remember that this temple took forty years to build and it contained massive stones. This prophetic statement must have seemed impossible to them but they probably remembered that just two days earlier as they made their grand entrance into Jerusalem Jesus had stopped on the path coming down off of the Mount of Olives and made the same prophecy about how Jerusalem would be surrounded by their enemies and destroyed and that not one stone would be left upon another. These last few days with Jesus must have been very solemn days.

As they left Jerusalem and returned to Bethany they got part way up the Mount of Olives and then suddenly Jesus turned and led them on a path that lead off of the main road. He found a comfortable spot and together they sat there and admired the beautiful view they had of Jerusalem. Finally Peter got the guts to ask what must have been on all of their minds. He referred back to the comments that Jesus made while they were in the temple. He asked Jesus when these horrible things would happen to Jerusalem and then almost as an afterthought he reminded Jesus that he had told them that he would return before the end of the world and he asked what signs they would have of his return.

The response that Peter received to his question was probably a lot more than he had expected and includes most of Matthew 24.

4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.
5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ and shall deceive many.
6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.
9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.
10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.
11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.
12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold
13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
14 And this gospel shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.

15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand)
16 Then let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains:
17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:
18 Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.
19 And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!
20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:
21 For then shall be great tribulation such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.
23 Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there;
24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect
25 Behold, I have told you before.
26 Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.
27 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
28 For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.
29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
32 Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:
33 So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.
34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.
35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.
36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
37 But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,
39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
40 Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
41 Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.
43 But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.
44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.
45 Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, 
to give them meat in due season?
46 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.
47 Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.
48 But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming;
49 And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken;
50 The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of,
51 And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

The disciples must have looked out over the beautiful city of Jerusalem and tried to imagine the horror that was to come. Jesus then told the parable of the ten virgins. He told them that his return would be like the bride groom at a wedding. In Jesus time the groom traditionally prepared for his wedding at the home where he and the new bride would be living. Meanwhile the "bride to be" was preparing at her parents home. When the time for the wedding came the groom and his male friends would parade through the streets to where the bride was and pick her up and lead her back to their new home where the wedding would be performed. The entire time as they are marching through the streets they are calling out for their friends to join them. Once they all return to the grooms home the wedding is performed and the partying begins; sometimes lasting through the night. 

In this parable there were ten virgins waiting for the bride groom to come so they could join in the celebrations. Five of the girls were unprepared and their lamps ran out of oil. While they were off getting more oil the bridegroom came by and the five virgins who were prepared joined the party but the five who were not prepared missed it. 

Jesus ended saying, "Watch, therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh."

Jesus then shared the parable of the talents and following this story he described how the Son of Man shall come in his glory and sit on his throne and divide his people as a shepherd divides his sheep from his goats. He will then set his sheep on his right hand and invite them to enter into his kingdom for when he was hungry they fed him and when he was thirsty they gave him drink and when he was a stranger they took him in, naked and they clothed him. When he was sick they visited him and when he was in prison they came unto him. The people shall then ask when they did all of these things and the Lord shall tell them that "inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."

The prophecy that Jesus gave regarding the destruction of the Jews and his second coming includes details about the last days as well as prophecies regarding the time shortly after his death. Less than forty years following his crucifixion the Jewish revolution became so great that the Romans realized they had to put it down once and for all. At one point the Romans entirely surrounded Jerusalem and for some unknown reason they retreated. When the Christians at that time saw this they remembered Jesus' prophecy "and when ye shall see Jerusalem compass with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judea flee to the mountains." 

The Christians did flee to Pella, a city on the east side of Jordan and they were spared. The Romans came in and killed more than a million Jews. Judea ceased to exist as a nation of Jews. 

On another note, it was probably today, the day before Passover, that Judas went to the Sanhedrin with his offer to lead the Temple guards to Jesus in a quiet and secluded place and to identify him. Oddly enough, he chose to identify Jesus by kissing him.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Cleanse the Temple, Again

Today, two days before Passover, when Christ and his disciples walked from Bethany to Jerusalem it was a much quieter walk. There must have still been many people who came out to see them but there weren't the crowds experienced the day before. This time however when they arrived at the top of the Mount of Olives they came across a fig tree that was completely leaved out. This was a bit unusual for this early in the year but Jesus and his disciples were quite excited because a fig tree bears fruit at the same time it's leaves come on. When they went to pick some fruit to eat however there wasn't a single fruit on the entire tree. When Jesus saw that the fig tree bore no fruit he said, "Let no fruit grow on this tree henceforth and forever". This must have seemed like a very strange thing for Jesus to say but Jesus offered no explanation and simply carried on towards Jerusalem.

Most people are well aware of how Jesus cleansed the Temple by driving the "money changers" from it but many are not aware that he did that again at the end of his ministry just before his crucifixion. This cleansing probably took place on this day, three days before he died. There is also a single line that mentions that Jesus would not allow anyone to "carry vessels" through the temple. What was probably happening is that people carrying freight and making other deliveries to various parts of Jerusalem were taking short cuts through the temple grounds. Apparently Jesus put a stop to this as well as driving the money changers from the Temple once again.

The commotion caused by Jesus throwing out the money changers apparently drew the attention of the Sanhedrin who immediately came out and demanded of Jesus by what authority he thought he could do such an act. Jesus, as he so often did, answered their question with a question of his own. He told them that he would answer their question if they answered a question of his. He asked them if John baptized with authority of God or with his own authority. The Sanhedrin knew right away that they had been trapped, if they said it was on Gods authority then Jesus would ask them why they didn't accept John as a prophet but if they said he acted on his own authority then the people would be angry because most of the people accepted John the baptist as a prophet. The Sanhedrin responded that they couldn't say who's authority John acted on so Jesus simply replied that he couldn't answer either.

The people loved it. Most of them saw the Sanhedrin as a bunch of self righteous men who took advantage of their position and were far too removed from their lives. They loved to see them get embarrassed like this. Jesus then told a parable of a man who had two sons. He gave his son's a job to do and one of them refused to do it and went on his way. He later felt bad about what he'd done and went and did as his father had requested. The other son told his dad that he would do the job he'd been asked to do but then he left and didn't do it. Jesus then asked the Sanhedrin which of these sons did the will of their father. The answer was obvious but when they answered saying "the one who at first refused him"; Jesus looked them in the eye and told them that Harlots and Publicans would enter the kingdom of God before they did because the Publicans and Harlots believed John but they didn't.

Just in case they didn't see the comparison Jesus went on and told another parable about a man who built a large vineyard and hired people to run it for him while he went in a far away land. When harvest time came the man sent servants to collect the proceeds from those who were hired to run the vineyard. When the servants showed up for the money those who were in charge of the vineyard beat them and even killed some. When the servants didn't return the owner sent more servants but they too were beaten and killed. Finally the owner sent his own son saying to himself that surely those running his vineyard will have respect for his own son but when those in charge saw the owners son coming they killed him thinking that they would be able to keep all of the fruits of the vineyard.

Those who loved Jesus and were with him couldn't have missed the fact that Jesus was referring to himself as the Son who was killed and it must have dismayed them to hear him once again talk about his own death like this. The Sanhedrin however didn't get it at first because when Jesus asked them what would happen to those in charge of the vineyard they replied that the Father would destroy them and put others in charge of his vineyard. Jesus only nodded and gave them a moment for it to sink in.

Later on this same day Jesus was confronted once again by some Pharisees who tried to trap him in his words. In response to this Jesus delivered what may have been his most forceful attack on the Pharisees yet calling them hypocrites. How they make themselves beautiful on the outside but are filthy on the inside. He compared them to a tomb that is painted to be beautiful and white on the outside but is filled with the bones of dead men. During his entire life Jesus had been very patient and loving towards the sinner but it appears that the one thing he can't stand is a hypocrite. Following such an excoriating attack it is almost no wonder that the Sanhedrin hated him so much that they actually wanted to kill him.

The Sanhedrin was furious but they saw how the multitude loved Jesus and they didn't dare do anything  while he was surrounded by so many who loved him. It was probably this day that they looked for someone who would be willing to betray Jesus and let them know when and where he could be taken without all of the crowds around to witness it.