April 14-16, Good Friday-Easter Day
Matthew 26:14-16, 47-49; 27:3-10
Have you noticed that, in Matthew’s Gospel, the arrest, trial, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus is set between two shady financial transactions? The first when Judas went to the religious authorities asking, “What will you give me if I betray him to you?” The other when the religious authorities offered money to the soldiers who had been guarding the tomb, bribing them to say that the disciples of Jesus had come by night and had taken the body away. One set in motion a train of events that led to the execution of Jesus, the other tried to stop a chain of events that led to the triumph of Jesus. Judas came to regret that he had changed the course of history. He even returned the thirty pieces of silver that he had been paid. The religious authorities tried to falsify recorded history by bribing the tomb guards to give a false account of what happened, but nothing could stop the risen Christ meeting with his disciples. No matter how puzzled or confused you might be about the miracle of the Resurrection, no matter how many theories might be put forward to explain what happened, you cannot avoid the inescapable change that took place in the lives of Jesus’ followers. The death and resurrection of Jesus are facts of history, presented to us in the context of Hebrew thought. In that context the Resurrection signalled the reality that Jesus has been talking about – God reigning even in this unfinished history of our race. Eternity breaks into time. Jesus was put to death by those who saw him as a threat to their “reign”, but no powers on earth, religious or political, (and we might add economic, military or cultural) can ultimately thwart the reign of God. The visibility of that reign may be clouded by violence, oppression, selfishness, and injustice, but behind all that faith sees God’s eternal kingdom of peace, justice, righteousness and love peeping through.
- In 1 Timothy 6:10 we have an often misquoted text, “The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.” What part did this love of money play in the death and resurrection of Jesus?
- They say that history is written by the victors. How do you think Pontius Pilate might have reported the events of Good Friday and Easter Day to his superiors in Rome?
- Contrast this with the way the disciples wrote about it in the gospels.
- No powers on earth, religious or political, economic, military or cultural can ultimately thwart the reign of God. Do you believe that? How might this faith help people through times of suffering and oppression?