This Easter Thing

I have a few issues with this whole Easter thing. Let’s start with today.

Its called “Good Friday”  but truly what is so good about it?  Sure I get that Jesus had to die for your sins so its good in that regard but the idea that it is good really gets at me.

To me, today feels like a celebration of a death; a celebration of a man being beaten, tortured, humiliated and then after being forced to carry his “death bed” up a hill, nails are actually impaled into his extremities.  Yes this sounds good to me – lets celebrate it.

I am honestly doubting the whole story because 3 hours doesn’t seem like enough time to bleed to death and it isn’t.  In my online research I came across this website about the Crucifixion from a Medical Point of View. Basically it states that crucification wouldn’t have killed Jesus and Jesus essentially willed himself to die.  So a medical doctor says that Jesus’s wounds weren’t severe enough to kill.  You just have to believe that Jesus willed himself to die.

Then he gets put in a tomb and mysteriously disappears.  Everyone believes he rose to heaven but no one saw it and he was just gone.  Maybe someone just stole his body?  Maybe they attempted to revive him with no success and  Jesus is just buried  in some random plot of land?

Why isn’t this a viable suggestion as to what happened to Jesus’s body?

Its more faith.  Faith that everything in the bible is accurate.  I just can’t not question it.  None of it fits together logically no matter how you try to piece it together.  Its like when my 4 year old is putting together a puzzle.  It doesn’t matter that the pieces don’t match up let’s just shove them together and pretend it looks good.

Now do we celebrate Easter here?  Damn right we do.  I am not going to pass up Easter egg hunts and Peeps and a reason to have ham for dinner.  But we are skipping the “resurrection rolls”, the story of a brutal death, and potential body snatchers.

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17 thoughts on “This Easter Thing

  1. Hi DyAnne,
    I have to agree with you on the term “Good Friday” – I’ve always thought it was a misnomer. I wonder if the term isn’t related to something more than just it being “good that Jesus died for us”; for example, some people refer to the day before Good Friday as “Maundy Thursday” (see this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maundy_Thursday#Derivation_of_the_name_.22Maundy.22) – maybe the derivation of “good” is related to that? Maybe one of your other readers who has more scholarly knowledge than I can illuminate it for us.

    I don’t know what people you know do on this day, but when I grew up we used to go to a somber church service on Friday evening. The church I go to now has no such service. Nobody I know has a ‘party’ this day though – I think that like you we are all mindful of what the day represents.

    “I am honestly doubting the whole story because 3 hours doesn’t seem like enough time to bleed to death and it isn’t. In my online research I came across this website about the Crucifixion from a Medical Point of View. Basically it states that crucification wouldn’t have killed Jesus and Jesus essentially willed himself to die. So a medical doctor says that Jesus’s wounds weren’t severe enough to kill. You just have to believe that Jesus willed himself to die.”
    Yes, this is my understanding as well – that it wasn’t the crucifying that killed him. In fact the idea of crucifixion is that it was a death by suffocation, that is supported by the scripture accounts: John’s gospel tell us “Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jewish leaders did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs.” (John 19:31-33) Breaking their legs would leave them unable to lift themselves up to take a breath, thus speeding up their suffocation, so they would die before sundown (when the new day began for the Jews) and could be removed. Additionally Mark tells us”Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Council, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. Pilate was surprised to hear that he was already dead. Summoning the centurion, he asked him if Jesus had already died.”(Mark15:43-44)

    And the scriptures also support the idea that he died of his own will – “When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” (John 19:30) This is actually an important aspect of the event because it illustrates what he’d said in John 10:17-18, “The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” – Jesus had the power to die and be resurrected of his own will.

    Regarding the resurrection, I read this just today: “By examining this story, we see that it actually proves the resurrection of Jesus Christ. If Jesus’ body was stolen, then it was taken either by His friends or His enemies. His friends could not have done it since they had left the scene and were convinced that Jesus was dead. His enemies would not steal His body because belief in His resurrection was what they were trying to prevent. They would have defeated their own purposes if they had removed His body. And, if they had taken it, why did they not produce it and silence the witness of the early church?
    Anyone who stole the body would have taken the body in the graveclothes. Yet the empty graveclothes were left in the tomb in an orderly manner. This was hardly the scene of a grave robbery.

    The religious leaders had given money to Judas to betray Jesus. They also gave money to the soldiers to say that the body had been stolen. These Romans would have demanded a large price, for their lives were at stake. If their superiors heard that these soldiers had failed, they could have been executed.”

    It’s okay that you question it – if the Bible is true and Jesus was raised from the dead, then it can withstand your genuine questions and musings. As for you celebrating Easter – go for it. There is enough holiday to go around, you know?

  2. I’m not 100% sure, but death does not come from blood loss during crucifixion; but rather from suffocation. Hence the practice of breaking legs to accelerate the process. In Jesus’ case, as the person above noted, it seems that he willingly gave up his Spirit. However, there is the indication that he was already dead, the “blood and water flowed” from a puncture to the heart.

    additionally, remember that Jesus was beaten and scourged before the crucifixion. It was not uncommon for people to die from scourging, so i think that also must be considered on whether or not Jesus died.

    It seems to me that the Romans in charge of the crucifixion would probably be familiar enough with death to know whether or not a person had died. Unless of course, we are just disregarding Jesus and the crucifixion as an historical event entirely, which has its own questions

    • don’t get caught up in the how…remember the “why”. God loves us unconditionally just as we love our own kids. He loves us no matter how messy we are. He loved us sooooo much that He let His son die an earthly death for us so we could be reunited to God on a personal level. WOW!! Temporary Christian…you’re awesome

      • The why is conjecture. When an atheist is looking at Christianity they are looking for facts and logic. Why is subjective and definitely cannot be proven on a single case basis. So the how is the only thing to look at.

    • I read through all of it. I’ll agree with the first 3 points. The 4th I think is inconsequential and I have issue with point 5 but I’m not in disagreement about the women as witnesses. I’m unsure why they weren’t blamed and if the owner had them killed for stealing from his tomb.
      Also women are totally smart enough to steal a body and leave the grave clothes behind as evidence of a resurrection and so the left behind clothes are not proof positive of resurrection at all.

      • ” I’m unsure why they weren’t blamed and if the owner had them killed for stealing from his tomb.” Well, since Joseph of Arimathea was a follower – at least from a distance – it doesn’t make sense for him to have the women killed, unless he too did not believe in the resurrection. Later accounts tell us that the women lived at least for a while after, since they were part of the group meeting in the upper room in Act 2.

  3. Dy-Anne,

    I had always wondered about the terminology of “Good Friday” as well, but had never researched it. Your comments and questions caused me to finally do so. So far, no really in-depth research, but from a one-time Google search, I thought this site explained the possible origins of the term the best from among the first citations I found:

    http://catholicism.about.com/od/Good-Friday/f/Why-Is-Good-Friday-Good.htm

    I’m not Catholic, but this explanation can really be used by anyone.

    And speaking of “in-depth,” there are some in-depth explanations in multiple books concerning possible “proofs” of Jesus’ resurrection. Some of the things you mentioned are addressed in some of the books I have read on the subject (though I am certainly not a scholar on the issue). The questions that you raised are good things to ponder.

    – Sallie

  4. Oh Dy-anne… have you read the book? There are several points that you are missing the boat on here.

    I know it goes back to the faith thing that we talked about last year, the whole living like a Christian compared to living as a Christian that makes the difference in how you see the Easter events.
    Jesus never came to be the warrior King of the Jews, he came to be the sacrifice to atone for the sins of the world, and to be that atonement he needed to take the punishment and suffer the death of a sacrifice, this would be the Old Testament Death and sacrifice, His Resurrection, after which he was seen by several thousand people, it’s in the book… this was the beginning of the New Testament Church, it gives us a key to Heaven… without having to haul our livestock to the Temple and sacrifice… Jesus knew his fate, he took it willfully knowing that what was to happen to him was God’s plan, and in doing so he opened up the gates of Heaven to losers like me. I think looking at the Easter events from the eyes of someone who is not a believer you will see a horrible murder and the misplacement of a body… but how in the world can you explain to me the events that have gone on to change the religion of a large part of our world, how can one mans death be so significant? The simple answer is it can’t unless Jesus was who he said he was….
    God Bless, and Happy Easter, why? Because he is risen and his death was for you. -Brad
    Read:

    John 11:25-26
    Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. (NIV)
    Romans 1:4-5
    And Jesus Christ our Lord was shown to be the Son of God when God powerfully raised him from the dead by means of the Holy Spirit. Through Christ, God has given us the privilege and authority to tell Gentiles everywhere what God has done for them, so that they will believe and obey him, bringing glory to his name. (NLT)

    Romans 6:8-11
    Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. (NIV)

    Philippians 3:10-12
    I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. (NIV)

    1 Peter 1:3
    Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead… (NIV)

    Matthew 27:50-53
    And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus’ resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people. (NIV)

    Matthew 28:1-10
    After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

    The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”

    So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.” (NIV)

    Mark 16:1-8
    When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?”

    But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.

    “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’ ”

    Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid. (NIV)

  5. I think we are all getting away from the true origins of Easter…Ostara/ Goddess Eostre. I don’t believe there is any hard evidence to suggest Jesus actually existed, surely the Romans would have written about such a man since they kept fantastic records. Easter is just another pagan holiday like Christmas, another ploy to convert more followers to Christianity. Even most historians who do believe Jesus lived do not think he was born in December, nor killed this time of year.

  6. Indeed, the Roman crucifixion was designed to be a slow torturous death ending with suffocation as the victim fought for one last gulp of air. The shedding of blood began in the garden, and continued by means of flogging, nailing and piercing of the heart. Some men spent days suffering by crucifixion, but realizing his mission was complete Jesus gave up his spirit.

  7. The original followers of Jesus would have no reason to preach His resurrection had it not been true. They wound up persecuted, often imprisoned and experienced great suffering and cruel death. Fishing would certainly have been a lot easier, and much more financially rewarding. But their faith was based on a factual resurrection, and that is the great factor which motivated them.

  8. I’m late the the conversation, and I don’t really like debate so I just want to make a statement on the “Good Friday” part. Good Friday isn’t really celebrated, so much as commemorated. We honor the solemnity and supreme sacrifice of what Jesus did.It’s a precursor to celebration, which is Resurrection Day (some call it Easter).

    In our church Good Friday is “celebrated” (a word the Church uses for more than just “party,” closer perhaps to the word observed) through worship, prayer, silence, and the taking of communion.

    But deeply in my heart, as dark of a day as it is, it is still Good. Yes, Jesus suffered and died, but that death changed everything for me, and all who will believe. Those who accept Jesus for what he claimed to be believe that his death provided the last sacrifice ever needed to cover sin and restore our broken relationship with God. Jesus’ death made it possible for us to have that relationship with God that we were always intended to have, but which original sin–and every sin thereafter–robbed from us. From that point on, humans kept putting more and more distance between themselves and God.

    And what is mind-blowing for me, is that Jesus did what he did fully knowing how fickle human nature is, how awful we could be, deep in our hearts and outwardly to one another. And yet he still did it. Imagine being in His place for just a moment, knowing as much as you know now about the awful things people have done (even in His name!) since His death. Would YOU go through with all that suffering, and loneliness, and torture?

    The book of Romans says it like this: “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:6-8)

    Love that great and that unconditional is so deeply profound, and I am so undeserving, and yet I am so deeply, deeply amazed and grateful. And that is why I am comfortable calling Good Friday good.

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