On Friday there were earthquakes. When Jesus’ body was taken down from the cross, crap hit the fan. Historian Julius Africanus in AD 221 wrote in reference to another historian’s observations (Thallus),
“On the whole world there pressed a most fearful darkness; and the rocks were rent by an earthquake, and many places in Judea and other districts were thrown down”
Since Christ’s death, Geologists have discovered evidence of an earthquake in Jerusalem as a result of the Dead Sea receding over time. You can count the layers of earth backwards down until you get to around 33AD and see when the earth broke.
Researchers have also discovered using modern star charting software that that afternoon, April 3rd 33AD, “as Jesus expires on the cross, the moon goes into eclipse“. That night, it rises a full moon. What we know today as a “blood moon”.
History notes with great detached emotion that this man Jesus was crucified on Friday.
“On the eve of the Passover Yeshu [Jesus] was hanged [or crucified]. … Since nothing was brought forward in his favor he was hanged on the eve of the Passover.” Talmud, b. Sanhedrin 43a
“Christus…was executed at the hands of the procurator Pontious Pilate” (Cornelius Tacitus )
The entire world is in agreement about “Good Friday”. Scientists, historians , and theologians. Each looking to the other with a rare conciliatory “thumbs up” in regard to their respective studies aligning.
This morning when I woke up I realized something. Nobody talks about Saturday. Saturday, April 4th 33 AD was an important day. It was the day Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha, and Hindu Vedas and Rishis were the same. The day they all shared one undeniable commonality.
They were all dead. Without a pulse. Their respective chests neither rising or falling.
Jesus followers were losing their #!@#$ right about now. Their biggest hope of stabilizing – the guy they’d look up to for working the problem (whose nickname was “Rocky”taken from Petros meaning “a small rock found along a pathway”) had denied he even knew who Jesus was the night before as they beat the hell out of him. Their accountant had sold them out and hanged himself hours prior. It was Saturday, and things were, well – things had been better.
I’ve studied all the major religions of the world, and spoken with its most devout followers. I’ve read through the Quran, the Tipitaka, and the Vedas. On Saturday, there’s a distinct difference between the historical writings of the Gospels – and these books. For some reason, Matthew Mark Luke and John felt it important to note that on Saturday – they were pretty sure that Jesus was a liar. To note they were all doubters. And hypocrites. And cowards. Disappointed power mongers. Greedy wealth managers.
I love the followers of Christ, on Saturday. They’re my favorite characters in the whole of canon. When I read what they wrote, I see the most honest accounting in all of the sacred texts of the world. I see the “most real” reality show of all time. I see myself, and what I would have done.
And I know…I know whatever they are about to tell me next can be trusted.
There’s a point in every friendship when people go from ‘casual acquaintances’ to ‘friends’. It’s a point of confession. When we share something horrifically intimate and unflattering about ourselves.
Think in your head about your closest friends right now – think about that one thing they shared with you about themselves that they haven’t told anyone else. That’s these guys.
Think about the time you had the chance to do the right thing, and you did the opposite. Your plans fell apart and everything you’d been working towards for years went to hell in a hand basket. That’s these guys.
Think about the time your friend just needed one simple thing from you….and you couldn’t deliver despite your hundred promises to the contrary. That’s these guys.
If Good Friday was important, I’d argue that “Oh S**t Saturday” is more important. For me, at least It’s when I first believed the Bible was real, and began a quazi-theological-scientific search for Truth. These confessions of failure were the “Songs Of My People”.
We are not okay. We’re pretty scared right now. We messed up. We may have messed up.
Easter Sunday needs “Oh S**T” Saturday. See, I can’t believe someone who tells me their life is perfect. That they’ve never dropped the ball and live a perfect enlightened life. I see straight past their pretty perfect smiles and perfectly placed masks. But I can believe 12 guys crapping their pants in a hidden room wondering “where do we go from here?”, afraid to move. Freely confessing, “we’re failures”. “We may have f****d up royally”.
I can believe them. These men and women about to see something ‘tomorrow’ that would shape the lives of over 2 billion people on Earth 2000+ years later.
Sunday. The day Jesus was nothing like Buddha, Mohammed, or Vishnu. Not in the slightest. On Sunday, the question is answered, “which religion is the right one?“.
And I believe everything they said about Sunday, because of “Oh S**T” Saturday.
(I wonder if Hallmark will start making cards for that now?)