4 Phenomenal Events that Happened when Jesus Died (Session 12 – Matthew 27:41-52)
“They nailed him on a cross” (John 19:1). He wasn’t the first person to die on a crucifixion; it’s believed that by the time of Christ, the Romans had crucified 30,000 individuals in Palestine alone, according to historical records. He would not be the first to do so. To the contrary, Jesus was the only One who could and did suffer on a cross for the sins of a lost world, “the righteous for the wicked, so he may bring you to God” (Romans 3:25). (1 Pet. 3:18). In order to demonstrate the one-of-a-kindness of Jesus’ death, Matthew narrates four extraordinary incidents that occurred immediately after Jesus died.
According to John MacArthur, these incidents serve as God’s own commentary on the crucifixion.
As a result, “from noon till three o’clock in the afternoon, darkness fell over the entire area” (Mark 15:25), and Jesus was crucified at 9 a.m. (Mark 15:25). (Matt. 27:45). The relevance of this: Darkness is commonly used as a symbol of judgment in the Old Testament (see Amos 5:18; 8:9). Remember that the ninth plague of the exodus event was a three-day period of darkness over the country of Egypt, a darkness that could be felt by the people of Israel (Ex. 10:21-22). Next the plague of darkness, the firstborn sons were killed in the following year (Ex.
- Death was preceded by a period of darkness.
- What is the importance of this?
- The presence of darkness as a manifestation of divine judgment draws attention to the substitutionary aspect of Christ’s sacrifice.
- 3:13; 2 Cor.
This is what happened: “From top to bottom, the curtain of the sanctuary was ripped in half” (Matt. 27:51). The relevance of this: Some Bible scholars believe that this was the curtain that divided the court of the Jews from the court of the Gentiles in the time of Jesus. According to Ephesians 2:14, where Paul claims that Christ has knocked down the dividing wall between Jews and Gentiles, this would make sense in light of the passage. Other Bible scholars, on the other hand, think that this was the curtain that separated the holy of holies from the other portions of the temple in Jerusalem.
Worshipers were never permitted to enter the holy of holies; only the high priest was permitted to do so once a year (Lev.
16). This act of ripping down the temple curtain symbolizes how Christ has made the way to God open for everyone who believes in him. The fact that the curtain was torn from top to bottom indicates that this was the result of divine intervention rather than human effort (see Heb. 9:12; 10:19-20).
What happened was as follows: “The ground trembled, and the rocks broke” (Matt.27:51). The significance:Earthquakes were regular in Palestine, albeit this one was unlike any other that had occurred previously. The timing of the incident, as well as the events that followed, imply that it was a supernatural occurrence. Earthquakes were frequently associated with supernatural revelation or a one-of-a-kind act of God in the Bible. Moses reported that “the entire mountain trembled fiercely” when God came to him on Mount Sinai to deliver him His law (Ex.
Warren Wiersbe draws a connection between the earthquake that occurred during Jesus’ execution and the Sinai event, arguing that the earthquake at Calvary represented the fulfillment of the demands of the law in Christ.
Because of the earthquake, according to Stuart Weber, it symbolized “the magnitude of the ‘earth-shaking’ upheaval that had just taken place with the tearing of the iron curtain.” (From the Holman New Testament Commentary)
The Dead Raised
This is what happened: “Many bodies of saints who had fallen asleep were revived from their tombs,” according to the account (Matt. 27:52). The significance: It is believed that the earthquake was the catalyst for the opening of the tombs in this location. The miracle consisted of the resurrection of a large number of saints from the dead. These would have been saints from the Old Testament. This evidence of Jesus’ victory over death is shown through these resurrections. Their resurrection serves as a foretaste of what will occur at the end of time, namely the last resurrection of which Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians 4:16: “the dead in Christ shall rise from the grave” (see also 1 Cor.
As a result, they represent the hope that all believers have as a result of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Mike Livingstone works as a content editor for the Explore the Bible products offered by Lifeway.
What Happened After Jesus Died? – Resources
We know from Jesus’ response to the thief that when someone dies, they are instantly brought into the presence of the Father. “Truly I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise,” says Jesus in Luke 23:42. “Truly I tell to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” This remark also informs us that Jesus died and was resurrected by His Father. Beyond that, we know virtually nothing about Jesus’ whereabouts over those three days. It’s important not to read too much into a parable or narrative, as this might lead to confusion.
- When reading Jonah 2:2, some versions say “from the depths of Sheol,” another translation reads “from the depths of hell,” and still another says “from the tomb,” according to the Bible.
- Later in the book of Jonah, in verse 6, we are told that his “life was pulled up from the pit.” Some interpreters believe that this is an allusion to the place called Hell.
- According to the Hebrew mindset, sheol is not a realm of punishment but rather of death, where the soul awaits resurrection and judgment.
- He is using imagery to describe how he felt exactly the same as if his body had been buried in the soil (grave) and he had been imprisoned there for all time.
- If someone wishes to think that He went to hell, the passages might provide evidence for that belief.
- Examine the passages in question.
- “‘He ascended,’ what does it imply unless it means that He likewise sank into the lower regions of the earth,'” says Ephesians 4:8-10.
- However, once again, the most straightforward interpretation of this phrase is that Jesus ascended into the heavens after first having dropped into the ground beneath him, into the grave.
- The Bible states in I Timothy 3:16 that Jesus “was seen by angels.” After His resurrection, He was indeed seen by angels, as is plainly indicated in all three synoptic gospels immediately following His death (Matthew 28:6; Mark 16:6; Luke 24:6).
- There is absolutely no basis for making such an assumption.
In order to bring us to God, Christ had to die in our place in order to be raised from the dead in the spirit, after having been put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit; through which He also went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison, who had once been disobedient, while the patience of God waited in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight people were brought safely through the water.” “In which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison,” they say, referring to the verses in question.
- According to legend, Jesus descended into Hell and preached to the souls of the damned.
- There is no indication in the Bible that a lost soul who has died receives a second opportunity at redemption.
- However, there is another interpretation of this passage that is more reasonable.
- The word “made alive” is a passive verb, which means that someone other than Jesus was responsible for bringing Jesus back to life.
- In either case, the Spirit had to have played a role.
- As a result, the same Spirit who raised Jesus as a testimony “in order that He might bring us to God” also spoke to those souls who are now in prison in Noah’s day; and they are in prison because they did not listen to the preaching when it was being given to them at the time.
It is stated in Luke 16:26 that lost souls are removed and restrained, and this is supported by the Bible: Furthermore, a great chasm has been established between us and you, in order that those who wish to cross over from here into you will not be able to do so, and that none who wish to cross over from there will be able to do so.” Jesus did not go to hell during those three days, according to the Bible, which is not mentioned anywhere else.
In actuality, very little is said about what transpired during the event.
When He left the presence of the Father, the Spirit resurrected His body three days later (in the same way that our bodies will be resurrected—the first-born from the dead, as stated in Col.
1:18; see also John 11:25). The difference is that God did not allow Jesus’ body to decay (exactly the promise found in Psalm 16:10 above) (exactly the promise found in Psalm 16:10 above.) John Piper has given a good answer to this:
Did Jesus Spend Saturday in Hell?
Written by John Piper “He was crucified, died, and was buried,” according to the Apostles’ Creed. He was sent into the depths of hell. Jesus Christ resurrected from the grave on the third day.” This sentence can be interpreted in a variety of ways. I merely want to contemplate the conventional interpretation that Christ went to the land of the dead in order to preach the gospel to Old Testament saints in order to set them free to enjoy the fullness of the experience of eternity. This is the viewpoint expressed in the Catholic Catechism, as well as by many Protestants.
The majority of the argument is based on two verses in 1 Peter.
(1 Peter 3:18-20) (6) For this reason, the gospel was preached even to the dead, so that, even though they were judged in the body, as humans are, they may live in the spirit, as God does.” 1 Peter 4:4-6 (New International Version) In reference to 1 Peter 3:19, I interpret these words to signify that Christ, via the voice of Noah, went and spoke to that generation, whose spirits are now “in jail,” that is, in hell, according to my interpretation.
- So, Peter does not claim that Christ preached to them while they were imprisoned, as some have suggested.
- In light of what Peter said earlier about the spirit of Christ speaking through the prophets of old, I believe this is the more natural interpretation of the verse that is being promoted.
- (10:10–11; 1 Peter 1:10–11) In reference to 1 Peter 4:6, I interpret the phrase “preached to the dead” to refer to individuals who have died after having heard the gospel preached to them.
- According to J.
- As a result, I believe that there is no textual basis in the New Testament for the assertion that Christ spent the time between Good Friday and Easter teaching to people who were imprisoned in hell or the underworld.
For these and other reasons, I believe it is preferable to remove the phrase “he fell into hell” from the Apostles Creed rather than interpreting it in a way that is more acceptable, as Calvin did. (This post was first published on theDesiring God Blog.) Image courtesy ofDiego PHonUnsplash
What Happened after the Cross and before the Resurrection?
This is a thought-provoking and significant question. Those associated with the so-called “Faith Movement” have a version of this that is wholly incompatible with biblical teaching. “Do you believe that the punishment for our sin was to die on the cross?” Frederick K.C. Price, a key instructor in the “Faith Movement,” has asked. If it were the case, the two robbers would have been forced to pay your debt. No, the penalty was to be sent into Hell itself, where they would spend the rest of their lives alienated from God.
- This is not in accordance with what the Bible says.
- The work Jesus had to accomplish after the crucifixion and before the Resurrection was critical and must not be overlooked.
- In the same way, He who descended is also the One who climbed far above all the heavens, in order that He may fill all things.” (See also Ephesians 4:8–10).
- The fact that Jesus used a real person name indicates that this was not a parable.
- The narrative tells about a place named Hades, which served as both a haven and a source of misery for the characters.
- If the individual was a believer, he was taken to Abraham’s bosom, where he found consolation and rest (Hebrews 11:13).
- Immediately after His death, Jesus descended into Hades, into Abraham’s bosom, the realm of consolation, where He announced liberation to all who had died in faith.
- No matter how long it takes, the unbeliever will be thrown into Hell, where he or she will be punished until the Great White Throne Judgment depicted in Revelation 20:13–15 takes place.
Afterwards, Death and Hades were thrown into the Lake of Fire for all eternity. This is the second death in the series. In addition, anybody who was not found to be recorded in the Book of Life was thrown into the Lake of Fire.”
Jesus – resurrection – The nature of God and Jesus in Christianity – GCSE Religious Studies Revision – Eduqas
The resurrection, according to Christian religion, is the idea that Jesus rose from the dead three days after he died on the cross. Several passages in the Gospel of Luke (24:1–9) provide insight into how Jesus’ followers learned that he had been resurrected:
- On the Sunday following Jesus’ death, the female disciples of Jesus went to his tomb to pay their respects. The entrance to the tomb had been blocked off by a stone. The stone, on the other hand, had been moved aside, and the tomb was now empty. Two males in sparkling attire came in front of the women. The ladies were terrified, but the men questioned them, saying, “Why are you looking for the live among the dead?” He is not present
- He has ascended into the heavens! Remember what he said to you when he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be given into the hands of sinners, be crucified, and on the third day be risen again’ (Luke 24:5–7). The female disciples then returned to Jesus’ apostles and other people to inform them that Jesus had risen from the dead.
Many Christians place a high value on their belief in the resurrection because of the following reasons:
- The resurrection demonstrates that Jesus overcame death
- It is seen as evidence of life after death
- It also demonstrates God’s power and omnibenevolence.
St. Paul emphasizes the importance of believing in Jesus’ resurrection from the dead in the biblical book 1 Corinthians, which is written by the apostle Paul. He adds that he personally saw Jesus after his resurrection, and that Jesus appeared to the apostles as well as over 500 other people during that time period. The apostle Paul then informs the audience that Jesus’ resurrection offers the possibility of life beyond death: If it is proclaimed that Christ has been risen from the dead, how can some of you claim that there is no such thing as a resurrected body?
- And if Christ has not been risen from the dead, our message, as well as your faith, is pointless.
- Is this true or false?
- He was raised from the dead.
- As far as we know, Jesus has returned to life in the same physical shape and at the same stage in his life as he was when he died.
Jesus Died – And Then What Happened (Published 1988)
The New York Times Archives is credited with this image. See the article in its original context from April 3, 1988, Section 4, Page 1 of the New York Times Magazine. Purchase Reprints It is only available to home delivery and digital customers who have access to the TimesMachine. Concerning the Archive This is a scanned version of a story from The Times’s print archive, which was published before the publication of the newspaper’s online edition in 1996. The Times does not modify, edit, or update these stories in order to preserve the integrity of the original publication.
In other words, if Christ has not been risen, then our preaching has been in vain, and your faith has been in vain as well.
Paul’s epistle to the Corinthians are likely to be heard in the thoughts of clergy members as they prepare their Easter sermons, no matter where they are in the world.
At the time of Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, he was worried about divisions that had already erupted about the significance of the Resurrection.
Celsus, a Roman critic of Christianity who lived toward the end of the second century, declared that the appearances of Jesus after his death, as recounted in the four Gospels, were dreams, tall tales, or hallucinations – the products of fancy, ambition, or wishful thinking – rather than real events.
- On one thing, however, nearly all academics are in agreement.
- It is the term that academicians use over and over again: “Something occurred.” But what precisely is it?
- Robert H.
- “I take the Resurrection quite literally,” Dr.
- The Reverend F.
- Schuller’s view of the Resurrection as an actual bodily event.
- While Unitarianism relies on a diverse variety of religious and humanist ideas, Dr.
According to the Rev.
Schuller’s Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California.
The results were overwhelmingly positive.
Perry, on the other hand, has a somewhat different viewpoint on the Resurrection, having taught classes on it for many years.
In the first place, the church’s claim that Jesus resurrected from the grave appears to run counter to the scientific worldview of today.
For the most part, the first dividing line distinguishes those whose comprehension of natural science leads them to believe that there is no prospect of divine involvement in the course of human history.
Even believers, however, are presented with the dilemma of discrepancies from time to time.
Who went to the grave, and what did they find there was a mystery.
When and where are they taking place?
What were the responses of his fans to this news?
Examples include the Gospel of Mark, which is usually regarded as the earliest Gospel to be written.
The ladies depart, scared to tell anybody what they’ve done.
In the book of Matthew, two women walk to the well-guarded tomb of Jesus at the crack of dawn and appear to witness the stone being moved away from the entrance by an angel, according to the text.
Several women visit the unsecured and open tomb described in John’s Gospel; one of them meets no angel at first and alerts Peter and John, who then check the tomb.
He only appears in Galilee as a result of an additional ending.
So, are these discrepancies to be regarded as just incidental, as some interpreters contend?
All that remains for those who believe in the literal reality of Scripture is a challenge of reconciling the seeming discrepancies in the text.
Harold Hoehner, a New Testament professor at Dallas Theological Seminary who styles himself as a biblical “inerrantist,” claims that the Gospels are more persuasive because of their discrepancies with one another.
A interview with Grant Osborne, a professor of theology at Trinity Seminary in Deerfield, Ill., concerning his book “The Resurrection Narratives,” is peppered with allusions to deconstructionism and the concept of “reader-response theory.” Dr.
Given that each Gospel writer chooses to stress different parts of the Christian message, information that is included in one narrative may be skipped over or exaggerated in another.
Osborne, on the other hand, feels that the texts are devoid of substantial discrepancies in the end.
They are having a considerably more difficult time identifying the historical core among the modifications and embellishments that have developed over time and have been included into the Resurrection accounts.
Therefore, scholars are most interested in the passages that refer to the empty tomb and the appearances of Jesus; these are the passages that occupy these scholars.
According to some historians, the variations between these tales are significant enough to suggest that the legends about the empty tomb were inserted later.
For Marxsen, the miraculous Easter event is not the Resurrection of Jesus himself, but the Resurrection of faith in “the cause of Jesus.” He believes that the precise cause of this religion is beyond historical research and thus doesn’t matter.
Despite the fact that these academics speak about the continuation of Jesus’ life and Jesus’ victory over death, they are reluctant to state that these things were accomplished because a body was raised from the tomb.
Marxsen contends that insisting on the value of such historical and tangible evidence is to belittle Christian religion as a “business endeavor.” These points of view are met with vehement hostility.
Moreover, they acknowledge that it is impossible to think of an ascended body unless it is in some mysterious or, as St.
Truth According to the Bible These writers, on the other hand, maintain that both the empty tomb and the appearance accounts are the result of objective, external occurrences, and that the Gospel authors did not refer to an empty tomb and the Resurrection when they were truly referring to faith.
- Despite the fact that interpreters such as Mr.
- Those who do not believe are also concerned about whether the message is being made relevant for those who do believe.
- Perry explains.
- Church is also concerned that the abstract arguments for and against the Resurrection would not ultimately fulfill the needs of his congregation, which he describes as follows: As an alternative, he has frequently talked about the significance of the Resurrection for Peter.
- Church, is a metaphor of our own human frailty.
- Perry will unavoidably begin with the empty tomb as his starting point.
- According to Mr.
- He said that the ladies were seeking for Christ among the dead, and that contemporary Christians do the same when they believe the Resurrection to be a thing of the past.
A dead Jesus causes no offense, but the Resurrection shows that there is a live Jesus who confronts Christians today, according to him. According to Mr. Perry, “the good news is that Jesus is not in the tomb, since it is in the past.” We are looking forward to him arriving in Galilee before us.’
Where was Jesus for the three days between His death and resurrection?
QuestionAnswer On the cross, after saying, “It is done,” Jesus bent his head and surrendered his spirit, according to the Bible (John 19:30). When Jesus died on the crucifixion, his corpse stayed there until it was brought down and laid in a neighboring tomb (John 19:40–42). His spirit, on the other hand, was somewhere else. Thirty-two hours later, He was raised from the dead by the reunification of his body and spirit (John 20). There has been some debate concerning where Jesus was during the three days between His death and resurrection—that is, where His spirit was during that time period.
- During Jesus’ entry into His kingdom, the believing thief requests to be remembered, and Jesus responds, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:42).
- As a result, upon His death, Jesus was taken to the region of blessing where God resides—heaven.
- Another text is frequently cited in the debate of where Jesus was during the three days that elapsed between His death and His resurrection.
- According to this understanding, the spirits Jesus addressed may have been either demonic or human in nature, but not both.
- Peter does not tell us what Jesus said to the spirits that were imprisoned, but it could not have been a message of redemption since angels cannot be rescued, as we know from the Bible (Hebrews 2:16).
- However, there is another reading of the text from 1 Peter.
- The fact that Jesus had “in spirit” taught to the people of Noah’s day while they were still alive on earth is provided by Peter as a footnote to the passage.
- The wordnow in 1 Peter 3:19 is included for clarity in the Amplified Bible and the New American Standard Bibles of 1977 and 1995, and it contrasts with the words “long ago” (NIV) and “formerly” (ESV) in 1 Peter 3:20.
The Amplified Bible and the New American Standard Bibles of 1977 and 1995 include the wordnow in 1 To further understand, consider the following paraphrase of 1 Peter 3:18–20: When Jesus died in the flesh, He was raised to life in the Spirit (it was by means of this same Spirit that Jesus preached to those who are currently imprisoned—those souls who rebelled during the period of God’s great patience when Noah was constructing the ark).
The prophet Noah was used by Jesus to teach spiritually to the people of Noah’s day, according to this viewpoint.
Another verse, Ephesians 4:8–10, is cited in the explanation of Jesus’ actions during the three days that elapsed between His death and resurrection.
According to the English Standard Version, Christ “led a multitude of prisoners.” Some believe that phrase alludes to an occurrence that is not mentioned anywhere else in the Bible, namely, that Jesus gathered all of the saved who were in paradise and transported them to their eternal home in heaven.
Another interpretation of Ephesians 4 is that the phrase “ascended up high” is a direct allusion to Jesus’ ascension.
In His triumph, Jesus had beaten and captured our spiritual adversaries, including the devil, death, and the curse of sin, and He had taken them captive.
The only thing we can be certain of is that, according to Jesus’ own words on the cross, He was taken up to be with the Father in paradise.
As well as this, we may confidently state that because His work of salvation was completed, Jesus did not have to suffer in hell. Questions regarding Jesus Christ (return to top of page) What happened to Jesus during the three days that elapsed between His death and resurrection?
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Crucifixion of Jesus – Bible Story
Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are the four New Testament writings that contain the story of Jesus’ death on the cross; they are known as the Gospels. This Bible tale serves as a succinct summation of the salvation message of Jesus Christ. “From that time on, Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests, and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life,” according to Matthew, who wrote, “from that time on, Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests, and the teachers of the law, and As a result, Jesus saw that his death would be necessary as a sacrifice for the sins of mankind.
- During the height of Jesus’ career and miracles, a large number of Jews came to believe that he was the Messiah and the Son of God.
- Roman soldiers apprehended Jesus with the assistance of Judas Iscariot, and he was placed on trial for claiming to be the Jewish king, which he denied.
- When it came to the penalty for Jesus, the Roman ruler Pontius Pilate was apprehensive about the idea.
- Jesus was turned over to be beaten and whipped after Pilate washed his hands in front of a mob to demonstrate that he was not accepting responsibility for the slaughter that had taken place.
- The site of Jesus’ crucifixion is known as Calvary, which is derived from the Latin phrase meaning “a place of skull.”
Jesus on the Cross
Crowds had assembled to grieve and witness the death of Jesus. In addition to being nailed on the cross between two criminals, Jesus’ sides were wounded by a sword. After being mocked for a while, one of the convicts approached him and requested Jesus to remember him. Jesus answered by saying, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” “Forgive them, because they do not know what they are doing,” Jesus said as he raised his eyes to the heavens. When Jesus took his last breath, he said the following: “Father, I entrust my spirit into your capable hands.
The Last Words of Jesus Christ on the Cross
1. According to Matthew 27:46, at around the ninth hour, Jesus cried out, “My God, my God, why have you deserted me?” 2. 2. “Father, please forgive them since they are completely unaware of what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). 3. I swear to you that from this day forward, you’ll be with me in paradise (Luke 23:43). 4. “Dear Lady, please accept this as your son!” “Here is your mother!” says the other. When Jesus saw His mother standing near the cross with the Apostle John, He committed the care of His mother to John’s care, saying, “I trust you to look after her.” (See also John 19:26–27.) 5.
- In this instance, Jesus was responding to the Messianic prophesy from Psalm 69:21, which stated, “They put gall in my food and vinegar in my thirst.” 6.
- ” (See John 19:30.) The mission that His Father had given Him to carry out, which included teaching the Gospel, performing miracles, and bringing His people back together, was successfully completed.
- (Matthew 23:46) Jesus freely laid down his life for us.
- This was a terrible and difficult assignment, yet Jesus volunteered to take on the challenge.
- In the hands of those who crucified him, Jesus was not helpless; he was the only one who had the authority to put an end to his life.
- (Revelation 13:8).
It is still a heinous crime against humanity.
Death was visited upon the creator of life by nefarious men (Acts 2:23).
Extraordinary events marked the death of Jesus.
At the moment of his last breath, the earth shook, the temple curtain split from top to bottom, and the tombs of saints opened and their bodies raised from the dead.
The sin of mankind would require a sacrifice.
The Scriptures below contain the full Bible story of the crucifixion.
To learn more about the resurrection, visit our Bible story page on theResurrection of Jesus. Read the full story of the Crucifixion of Jesus in scripture text below and find Articles, Videos, and Audio Sermons relating to this inspiring story. Photo credit:Getty Images/mbolina
The First Twenty Years: What Happened to the Church immediately after Jesus Died?
Leonardo da Vinci’s painting, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons What happened to the church in the hours and days after Jesus’ ascension into heaven? There was no New Testament book written during the first twenty years of the church’s existence. Paul did not begin writing until around twenty years after Jesus’ ascension, and the Gospels did not exist until nearly forty years after Jesus’ ascension. And, despite the fact that the book of Acts recounts crucial events from this early period, it can be difficult to piece together the overall image that Acts creates of the world.
The Last Forty-three Days before Jesus Ascends (A.D. 30)
Many people had turned their backs on Jesus as his ministry came to a close. Despite this, a handful of ladies, unidentified followers, and the twelve remained at his side. However, on the night of his treachery, even his closest followers fled from him in terror. And Peter himself denied the Lord three times throughout his ministry. From the perspective of an outsider, the Jesus movement appeared to be a colossal disaster. Jesus was executed as a criminal, and his disciples fled. Despite this, many, if not all, of his students returned to him.
- At this point, the apostle Paul appears to have counted more than “five hundred brethren” among the followers (1 Cor 15:6).
- When we think of the Jesus movement, we need to think of a tiny group of devout Jewish men and women who were committed to the cause.
- Christians, on the other hand, tended to come from middle- and lower-class backgrounds.
- However, this image would soon disappear because Jesus performed something that had never been done before: he rose from the dead.
- “He exhibited himself alive to them after his suffering by various evidence, coming to them throughout forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God,” according to the gospel according to Luke (Acts 1:3).
The Calm before the Storm of Pentecost (A.D. 30)
Jesus died during the Passover, resurrected from the dead three days later, and then spent forty days teaching his followers. As a result, on the forty-third day, Jesus ascended to the heavenly realm. Pentecost was celebrated a week later. On Jesus’ instruction throughout this week, one hundred and twenty disciples waited in Jerusalem (Acts 1:4). It was at this time that they “devoted themselves to prayer” (Acts 1:14) and selected Matthias as the twelfth apostle to replace Judas, who had betrayed Jesus (Acts 1:26).
A ragged collection of Jewish Jesus followers remained in Jerusalem, praying, despite the fact that many of them had quit their jobs.
They sat and waited. These were presumably a small group of believers who were reliant on the generosity of a small number of supporters in Jerusalem. Then, fifty days after Jesus’ death, the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples.
Conflict without and within (A.D. 30–33)
And Peter delivered a sermon to a large crowd that had assembled in Jerusalem. Despite the fact that the church grew to around five thousand individuals (Acts 4:4), it did not happen without the resistance of religious authority (Acts 4). And, far from being a pure society, strife was introduced from the beginning. In those days, Christians provided assistance to widows who had no other means of support. These ladies were assisted by the church in obtaining social services. The Greek widows, on the other hand, believed that the church gave preference to Jewish widows (Acts 6:1).
- As a result of their efforts, Acts 6:1–6 records the formation of the first deacon board of the church.
- The persecution extended across the entire church.
- A large number of devout men buried Stephen and wept bitterly over his death.
- (See also Acts 8:1–3) We have a tendency to think of the early churches as fine-tuned machines.
- The first decade was characterized by phenomenal expansion, which was accompanied by internal turmoil and foreign persecution.
- However, just as its legs were about to go beneath its body, persecution struck.
- They took off running.
- Saul and his associates were “ravaging the church,” going door to house in search of treacherous Jews who had abandoned Moses and accepted Jesus, according to tradition.
The Call of Paul (A.D. 30–33)
Following the assassination of Stephen and the church’s expulsion from Jerusalem, Saul (who we know as Paul) went to Damascus in order to continue persecuting believers. Instead, he came upon the resurrected Lord while traveling (Acts 9:23–25). The impact of Saul’s talk reverberated across the Jewish community in Israel. The persecutor was transformed into the persecuted in Damascus, and Paul was forced to quit the capital. He eventually ended up spending three years in Arabia (perhaps seeing Mount Sinai) before returning to Damascus (Gal 1:16).
Years before, Paul had stood by and watched the assassination of Stephen in the city of Jerusalem (Acts 8:1).
The crowd sought to assassinate Paul in the same manner that Stephen did before him (Acts 9:29). As a result, he escaped to Caesarea and subsequently Tarsus (Acts 9:30). It would be another eleven years before Paul would embark on his missionary missions in the New Testament (Gal 2:1).
Famine, Murder, and Schismatic Theology (A.D. 34?–47?)
With Paul having been converted and persecution still active across the region, one wonders if the situation for the fledgling Christian church could be much worse. Yes, it did. Agabus, a prophet at Antioch, predicted that there would be “a tremendous famine over the entire world” (Acts 11:28). “The disciples resolved, each according to his or her ability, to send aid to the brethren who were living in Judea” as a result of the impending disaster (Acts 11:29). To add insult to injury, Herod began persecuting Christians on top of the famine (Acts 12:1).
- Then Peter was arrested and imprisoned (Acts 12:3–5), though he managed to escape and may have never returned to Jerusalem.
- Paul would ultimately embark on his first missionary journey (about A.D.
- However, controversy would erupt once more, when false teachers infiltrated the Galatian church, stating that in order to be saved, one had to live in the manner of a Jew.
- The apostle Peter recognized that this couldn’t be correct because Jesus had stated as much (Acts 10–11), and Paul serves to remind him of the truth that all people, whether Jews or Gentiles, are justified by their trust in Jesus (Gal 2).
- However, this is not entirely true.
- “But other men came down from Judea and began instructing the brothers, saying, “Unless you are circumcised according to the law of Moses, you will not be saved,” according to Luke (Acts 15:1).
- Some members of the council contended that one must be circumcised in order to follow the rule of Moses.
- In other words, neither Jews nor Gentiles are saved by works of the law of Moses, but rather by the mercy of God.
- In spite of the fact that gentiles are exempt from keeping the law of Moses, the apostle instructs them not to upset Jewish believers by avoiding “from things defiled by idols, and from sexual immorality, and from that which has been strangled, and from blood” (Acts 15:20).
So the council establishes a compromise on specific rituals while maintaining the significance of Jesus Christ’s Gospel, which justifies both Jews and Gentiles on the basis of trust in him.
In the first twenty years of Christian history, two themes can be discerned: tremendous expansion and constant strife. The peaceful, immaculate early Church of the Middle Ages does not exist. What we discover is a fugitive church that has been attacked, murdered, famined, and accused of heresy. We discover a church that has been ravaged by internal strife and division. Although this is true, we can see Jesus’ promise in the middle of it: I will establish my church. Amidst all of the difficulties, the gospel was successfully disseminated throughout Europe (Acts 13–14) and Africa (see Acts 8) during this period.
That, however, is a story for another time.
What Really Happened After Jesus Died?
Heritage Images courtesy of Getty Images The death of Jesus Christ is one of the most important events in the whole New Testament of the Christian Bible. Of course, his death served as a necessary prelude to the most important event in the entire text: his resurrection from the dead, the miracle that serves as the supernatural foundation for the entire religion of Christianity and the entire world. Nonetheless, despite the fact that his death is only a single chapter in a much broader story, the four Gospels — Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John — taken together provide a complete account of the events that occurred before and during his crucifixion and death.
As a result, the narrative does not end with Jesus’ dying breath and then start up where it left off when the apostle Peter declares that Jesus has been raised from the dead – quite a lot happens after Jesus’ death, most of it dripping with theological importance.
An earthquake and a metaphor
Manuel Arnoldo’s full name is Manuel Arnoldo. Photograph courtesy of Robert Batalla/Getty Images Matthew and Mark both mention that when Jesus exhaled his last breath, an event took place in another area of the city, which was most likely many miles distant from where Jesus was slain. The writers specifically refer to “the curtain of the temple” being torn in half, “from top to bottom,” by the swords of their respective characters. God’s Questions, a Christian question-and-answer website, says the writers are alluding to a kind of curtain that formerly hung in Jerusalem’s temple, both physically and metaphorically dividing the chamber where God’s own presence was thought to dwell from an outside chamber.
Because of this, the curtain being split in two during Jesus’ crucifixion served as a kind of metaphor for the fact that the barrier between God and man had been dissolved, according to the piece.
Neither Luke nor John mentions that the audience wept and mourned before departing, but both say that the soldiers were prepared to break Jesus’ legs in order to speed his death but did not do so. An arrow was thrust into Jesus’ side by a soldier, prompting a flood of blood and water to gushe forth.
Jesus’ body was curated by a rich supporter
Photograph courtesy of Romolo Tavani/Shutterstock After Jesus died, his followers were faced with the question of what to do with his corpse, which they did not know how to handle. There were customs in effect at the time that outlined how Jews were to deal with the body of a loved one after their death. This presented an issue since the disciples were, in essence, unemployed vagabonds under the care of an itinerant preacher, with nothing in the way of financial or material possessions (such as a family tomb) between them.
All four gospels present essentially the same storyline: Joseph went up to Pilate and begged for permission to take care of the deceased’s remains.
After that, Pilate ordered guards to be stationed outside the tomb.
Jesus stuck around for a while after his resurrection
Adam Photograph courtesy of Jan Figel/Shutterstock Following Jesus’ resurrection, when he first exposed himself to the women who had accompanied him to his tomb, the four gospels present differing versions of what transpired in the following weeks. Matthew’s story concludes with the risen Jesus delivering instructions to his followers on how to carry on his ministry, but Mark’s account comes to an abrupt halt. According to Luke, Jesus played a game with his followers, keeping his actual identity secret for a long as he chatted to them before ultimately spilling the beans.
Furthermore, according to John’s story, Jesus exposed himself to his student Thomas, who was adamant that he was seeing a ghost, prompting Jesus to show his disciple his scars and giving us the English phrase “doubting Thomas” in the process.
In particular, Luke records that Jesus remained on the scene for a further 40 days following his resurrection, during which time he continued to remind his followers that he was still alive and gave them instructions on what they were to do after he had departed.