The Last Events of Christ

Their Unique Oneness for the Salvation of Man

This is a constructive account of the events in the Life of Jesus christ from the Mystic Supper through His Resurrection, including the Pentecost.

Sacred Events – Their Unique Oneness

 

THE LIFE of Jesus Christ should be studied as a whole. There are no higher or lower points in it. It is not the various inci­dents of His Life, separated as such, which make the Christian religion; it is mainly His personality which revealed to man the true God and granted his salvation. Christ's Person was the same through­out His life, and throughout His life He wrought the mighty work of salvation. His cradle and Cross bear the same mystery and have the same mission; they are inseparable as far as the divine message and purpose are concerned.

 

Only from a human point of view do the stages and incidents of the life of Jesus Christ deserve a distinction, for they took place in various places and times and bear the marks and witnesses of his­torical facts. The reflections of such events in our finite minds and limited understanding, present these incidents as a scale to distin­guish their various degrees and values; but in reality the life of Christ had a unique oneness because it embodied the oneness of His redemptive Person throughout His life.

 

It is with such a distinct thought in mind that the student of the life of Christ should study the various incidents of His life. Such incidents, or a unique group of them, are the ones which took place at the end of His life on Earth. They constitute the dramatic clos­ing chapter of the book of His short life, and wrought the seal which verified the entire document of the Testament of God to mankind. Their contents and substance belong to the entire world. The entire world, the present and the future, may study it; it is its great privilege and heritage.

 

The chapter of the Life of Christ from Thursday evening of His last week up to Sunday morning has been written and should be studied as a whole. This chapter is unique in its content, purpose, mission and appeal to the one who looks for his Savior. It is a series of continuous sacred acts, dramatic in character, decisive in mean­ing, and basic for salvation. It is a chain consisting of sacred events, the one following the other, without an interval of time or breath; without a deviation of the red thread which binds them all.

 

(1) The Mystic Supper and betrayal, (2) the Trial and the Cross, and (3) the Tomb and the Resurrection, are Events of the last hours of the life of Jesus Christ, so inter-correlated in time and in meaning that rarely they are separated in study and never in the process of salvation. It is the latter thought rather which will concern us in the present treatise.

 

THE CROSS AS THE BACKGROUND OF THE GOSPELS

 

The sacred writers of the Gospels seem to deal more with the last week of the life of Jesus Christ. St. John in the prologue of his Gospel speaking of the Logos-the Word, notes that "the world knew him not"1 and "his own people received him not".2 He introduces John the Baptist saying of Christ "Behold, the Lamb of God"3, re­minding us of what Isaiah said, "as a sheep led to the slaughter."4 Also, at the very beginning of his Gospel St. John relates the proph­ecy -of Jesus that "as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up",5 and adds that "God so loved the world that He gave edoken his only Son. . . .",6 i.e. He sacrificed Him. Such prophecies of Jesus can be noted in Luke as well as in the other writers, "but they (His disciples) understood none of these things; they did not grasp what was said."7 Also, the Apostle Paul places the Resurrection as the cornerstone of the Gospel and the faith, without which both are in vain. Two of the Evangelists do not mention the birth of Christ, the others devote only a few lines or pages to it, but none neglects to narrate at great length the Events of the last week of His life.

 

Jesus' mother would have related to her Son the dreadful event of the slaughter of the Innocents at His birth. The families of these innocents were still alive to mourn the unforgettable brutality of Herod. The Herodium, a castle of Herod southeast of Bethlehem on top of a man-made hill, the so-called Frank Mountain, "with circular towers and a staircase of 200 steps of polished stone leading up to it," still existed as an "unforgotten and unforgettable"8 monument of his infamy. Jesus Christ was just eight days old when His mother was accosted by Simeon with the words that "this child is set .... for a sign that is spoken against, and a sword will pierce through your own soul also".9

 

Jesus was told and remembered this prophecy. He had probably often stood at the very same place in the Temple where the old man Simeon made his prophecy. Jesus was familiar with the Temple. He remembered very distinctly when for the first time, at the age of twelve, and considered as a man to be admitted for discussion in the Synagogue. He came down from Nazareth of Galilee probably through Mount Tabor, Ginnaia and Lebonah, and viewed the great City of Jerusalem from the hill Mount Scopus, one and a half miles away. It was the same place where pilgrims stood, generals examined the defences, and where the High Priest Yaddua welcomed Alexan­der the Great.10 Did young Jesus, from the top of this hill, picture in anticipation the scene of His destiny? It was at this time when Jesus for the first time took part in the discussion in the Synagogue "among the teachers" who "were amazed at his understanding and his answers".11 Jesus, remembered this incident vividly; He felt that this place belonged to Him as well as to His Father. He answered His mother, who was seeking Him, "I must be in my father's house", "and His mother kept all these sayings in her heart".13 After twenty one years, He was again at the Temple, throwing out the money­changers from the House of His Father.

 

The Gospels were written in the background of the shadow of the Cross, both because of its tragedy and its destiny.

 

What Are The Sacred Events?

 

THE Cross of the willing sacrifice without being preceded by Jesus' testament of love, that is, the Mystic Supper, is meaningless. Again, the Cross without the triumphant entrance of Christ into the eternal life is a disappointment. (1) The testament of love, (2) the Cross of sacrifice, and (3) the victory over death constitute the three Sacred Events on which the Christian reality is affirmed. Yet, all these are not mere theory but the outcome of the personality of Jesus Christ. These Events do not constitute the Person of Jesus Christ; it is rather the Person of Jesus Christ which radiates in them. A prism can discern the light in various colors, but it needs light in order to do so. In our discussion the Person of Jesus Christ is the Light which is extended in His new testament of love, that is, the Mystic Supper, His Cross, and His Resurrection.

 

THE LORD'S MYSTIC SUPPER — TESTAMENT OF LOVE

 

Reason of the Incarnation of the Logos, that is, the Birth of Jesus Christ, is God's love for the world. The depths of this love are fathomless and unknown to man; its content is divine; it gives divinity to the world; there is no bargaining or compromising, no doubts or reservation; neither reward nor satisfaction; there is not even hope for them, either. It is God's love; it is His highest quality to such an extent that one can speak of God as love," and can abide in love and be sure that he is abiding in God, and God in him. This is the love with which God embraces the world. God's love is em­bodied in the Person of Jesus Christ, that is, in Himself, and has been shown to the world, the believer, "who shall not perish but have eternal life."15 God's love grants eternal life because it is a love of eternal character in the Person of Jesus Christ.

 

This divine love is the content of Jesus Christ's new testament,16 His Mystic Supper; He left it to His disciples and to the world a few hours before His arrest on the night of Thursday, the 13th of the month of Nissan, the 33rd year of the Lord, in the Upper City of Jerusalem, in the "guest chamber",17 which belonged to the man carrying "a pitcher of water."18 This was the preceding evening of Friday, on the evening of which Friday the Jewish people started "to sacrifice the passover."19 The Divine Teacher intended to gather His Disciples for an uplifting talk, an encouraging discussion and reexamination of their ideals. The Disciples were preparing for the ceremony of the Passover, the pattern of the great promise of God. They did not know that in their midst was the Reality in person. Their eyes were still covered with the veil of the pomp of another Messiah. Their Teacher was not a man of human position and dis­tinction, of wealth and human power.

 

It was at that time that Jesus said, "My time is near at hand."20 It had not been His time at the "marriage at Cana in Galilee".2" He changed there only water into wine,21 a good wine. It took Him three years, when the fullness of time came, to change the wine, now, into His Blood, His Blood which repre­sents His being and His presence. The changing of water into wine at the marriage at Cana is not merely a miracle in itself; it is rather an anticipated warning of the great mystery of God's sacrifice. Was it merely a good wine to be given to those men who "have drunk freely"? It was not; it was rather a symbol of the Grace of God granted to men who have drunk freely of devotion and faith. This miracle was "the first of his Signs". The last one, His Mystic Supper, took place in Jerusalem. It was not the least; it was rather supreme in character and effect. It was the establishment of the "new testa­ment" of love, the new covenant, between God and man in the person of Jesus Christ. It was the beginning of the triumphant end of the early life of our Savior.

 

BETRAYAL OF THE LORD AND HIS SACRIFICE

 

ON THE FOURTH DAY, after His triumphant entrance into Jerusalem, Jesus Christ took his twelve disciples to a house in the upper city of Jerusalem, Mount Zion, for the Mystic Supper. He ordered that a place be found for the Passover, although He did not eat it the next day. "I have greatly desired", He disclosed to His Disciples, "to eat this passover with you before I suffer".22 They still did not understand Him. Some of them at this moment started to quarrel over precedence. Then, the Lord told them "I appoint to you a kingdom",23 the Kingdom of God, full of humbleness and service for the least; He dramatized His words by washing the feet of His Disciples;24 at the same moment He made the first direct hint of his betrayer, saying, he "has lifted up his heel against me".25

 

His Disciples wondered; they still did not understand Him. Jesus now said to them directly, "one of you will betray me",26 and more definitely, one who is eating with me".27 Judas, so blinded by his arrogance and wickedness, asked "Is it I, rabbi?"28 He thought that His master did not know of his betrayal activities, therefore he was surprised when Jesus said to him, "Thou hast said it", and "he went out quickly"30 to lead the group to seize Him. "When Thy glorious disciples were enlightened at the washing of their feet, the impious Judas was darkened with the disease of avarice", the hymnologist sings.31

 

The lesson of humility and the motives of avarice and impiety which con­stitute the controversial spiritual background at the moment of the institution of the Eucharist, represent the sentiments which oppose one another in the heart of man. It is a background consisting of a clear sky between heavy clouds, in which the institution of the Holy Eucharist was designed for the the salvation of man. This evening, preceding the official beginning of the Passover evening, was to be spent in meditation and re-evaluation of the sacred group of the Disciples, which was dramatized there. Long ago in the Synagogue Jesus Christ created the question of the living bread. St. John records the discussion.32 In this discussion Jesus Christ said of Himself, "I am the bread of life", "I am the bread which came down from heaven", "I am the living bread," and "the bread ... is my flesh."33 At that moment the listeners disputed among themselves, but Jesus repeated that, "unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink His blood, you have no life in you,"; many of the Disciples said, "this is a hard saying"; "who can listen to it?"34 His discussion was a prologue of the institution of the Eucharist which took place at a later date, this night.

 

This new testament of love, the Mystic Supper, was not written as a list of duties and virtues. It was created in "my blood", in the Sacrifice of the Incarnate Word, Jesus Christ. In as much as love was the cause of salvation, that is, love personified, sacrifice is the other side of the same coin. Even among men there is no sincere love without sacrifice of possessions; the more one loves the more bitter he will weep in times of disaster, disease, misfortune or death of his beloved ones. For the supreme sacrifice was needed, the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus was aware of this. "My body . . . is broken for you"31 declares St. Luke. Both words, broken and given, here mean a purposeful sacrifice. Also, Jesus, presenting the cup of wine, said, "this is my blood of the new testament";37 and the Apostle Paul writes, "this cup is the new testament in my blood."35 Both, His Body in the element of bread, and His Blood in the element of wine, were given to His Church for a perpetual "remembrance"; the Church has been practicing it from the time of the Apostle Paul up to now and for ever. Both of these divine Elements and Gifts were and are given for the remission and forgiveness of sins, that is, the extraordinary divine act of love.

 

During that night the Lord presented both Elements in a definite and firm way as to their substance, purpose and partaking. He commanded the Dis­ciples, "Take and eat; this is my body"38 and asked them that "all of you drink of this". He did not say anymore, "unless you eat the flesh. . . " as He had introduced the matter at a previous time in His discussion at the Syna­gogue. Here and now is a definite inauguration of an Institution in a visible and invisible manner, both as a mysterion and a sacrifice, as a permanent presence of Christ Himself in the Church, its Lord and Head for ever. The Lord left these divine Gifts to His Church as the Means of koinonia, that is, of the communion, with Him and among the believers.

 

THE NEW COMMANDMENT OF LOVE

 

Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man . . . you have no life in you", although "this is a hard saying" for us today, too. There is no way to prove it and convince the human intellect. It belongs in another sphere, in the sphere of faith. It depends on the quality of faith one has. Yet, a sincere Christian should not accept it un-questioningly, or by custom, or blindly without considering his real part in the communion with Christ. If the believer desires, as he should, to be considered a real member and part of the Mystical Body of the Lord, His Church, he should enter this Sanctuary with enlightened faith.

 

The enlightened human being lives not only by his intellect; in many cases his quality of faith precedes his intellect, or presupposes it, or he never ques­tions it. The laboratory of the scientist deals with a reality by observation, but presupposes unquestioningly the fact of the existence of the elements as they are. Science, for instance, can analyze the elements which constitute an apple, but science cannot make an apple out of these elements! The metamorphosis of the elements of nature is a matter of faith; Christian faith does not func­tion that way, but such is the human soil in which faith increases and grows. Christian faith consists of the sanctuary of the communion with Christ the Lord; the Logos (Word) became flesh in the Person of Jesus Christ. The same flesh is in the sacred gifts; "Take and eat" in remembrance of the Lord, and share the life with Him. This is the privilege of the believer, who by partaking of the sacred gifts, has the credentials of the Sonship to enter the Kingdom of God.

 

The new testament of love in the Lord's blood presupposes that the partakers will nourish the same quality in their beings, that is, love; the wholeness of love. After the Holy Eucharist, the Lord announced to His Disciples that "now is the son of man glorified", and at the same time He left a new com­mandment for His Disciples to "love one another". This is both a fruit of the Eucharist and the glorification of the Master. It derives its power from the communion with the Christ in the Eucharist, and the application in the com­munion with the other members of the Christian Society; as such, love is again both the ground of the Kingdom of God and His glory for the applica­tion of His Will on Earth. One cannot enter the Sanctuary of communion without faith, and again he cannot enter the Sanctuary of this faith without love. God's love is the cause of man's salvation; man's love, on the other hand, is the indication of God's satisfaction. There are numerous testimonies in the Scriptures that love, the wholeness of love, the sacrificial love of man toward God and his neighbor, is the foundation of Christian society and communion. Love is a specific quality and commandment of the Christian faith. Jesus Christ pronounced love as such from the Cross; this love is a treasure of the Christian Church.

 

The application of Christian love is a "hard saying", too. Who can deny himself, his ego, his possessions? Who can lift his cross with patience and cheerfulness? Who can follow the Lord, as His servant, serving the least, giving up his possessions of money, knowledge and power, to the poor? Who can love his enemies and serve them? It is indeed a hard saying; isn't it? This is why Jesus Christ, the God-Man, continued to say words of comfort to His Disciples.40 He asked them to stay close to Him. "Abide in me and I in you".41 He urged them to "abide in my love".42

 

His love as a fruit of faith will be the shield to protect them from the world's hatred because "they have hated me without cause";43 to protect them from the persecutions to come. He promised to send the Comforter to them, "I will send him unto you"44 with the affirmation that He, the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, "will teach you all the truth"45 and "will glorify me".46 One can picture the Disciples speechless and with undivided attention. The tone of His voice, the selection of kind and courageous words, His motion and sight pierced their hearts and souls. In the midst of the tragedy which He knew in its entirety, He created a dramatic moment to inscribe in their hearts the words of a new life, brave in character and kind in substance. "Your sorrow shall be turned into joy",47 He assured them, and gave them the affirmation that whatever they will ask the Father in His name "ye shall receive, that your joy may be full."48 They still were sitting about the holy table when Jesus Christ, in closing His penetrating friendly and tender talk, said to His Dis­ciples: "These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."49

 

It was very natural for Christ, after His spiritual talk, to lift up His eyes to Heaven and pray, or rather talk person to person to His Father. "Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son." "I have manifested thy name unto the man",51 and He continues to pray for His Disciples.52 I pray for them", "that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves"53 In this prayer one distinguishes the strength of the human-divine links which constitutes the chain of the Christian believers. Jesus stated the epigrammatic definition of the Kingdom of God and everlasting life, saying, "this is life eternal that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou has sent."54 His last words to His Father were "that (thy) love . . . may be in them, and I in them."55 With this phrase the Lord closed the chapter of His official work on earth and entered the threshold of the Gate of the Cross and Heaven.

The Cross of Sacrifice

 

IT WAS LATE at night when Jesus, after His inspiring prayer, went out with His Disciples to the "Mount of Olives".56 They walked in the bright light of a full moon under a clear sky which usually prevails at this time in Jerusalem. They passed the valley of Cedron and arrived at an orchard which was located east of the city at the foot of the Mount of Olives. The distance was not more than 10,000 feet. With the surrounding trees and flowers, where usually birds sang at night, Jesus Christ left His Disciples and pro­ceeded a few steps further to pray alone. From then on the whole picture changed. Jesus Christ was approaching martyrdom. In His prayer, which is recorded by Matthew and Luke, His agony is ex­pressed, "My soul is exceedingly sorrowful".57 None of His Disciples could accompany Him. He told them to "Remain and keep awake with me,"58 but later He found them sleeping. For a second and third time He found them sleeping, because "their eyes were heavy."59 At times of temptation and disappointments one feels the burden heavier without the understanding of his immediate friends. At the time when Jesus was asking His Father "let this cup pass from me"60 none kept vigil with Him, none of His Disciples; "the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."61

 

The weakness of the flesh, a heavy temptation for the human race, led Judas to betray his Lord; "see my betrayer is at hand"62 said Jesus to His Disciples; but Judas was not alone; he led "a great multitude with swords and stones"63 and kissed Jesus. Judas betrayed not only the Lord of Heaven with the hypocrisy of the velvet gloves; he stabbed in the back the symbol of the highest quality of the human race and the saints, the kiss. The most tender expression of a mother to her child is her kiss, which embodies her sweetness and devotion; Judas used it for the most dishonest act of betraying his Teacher. A kiss is the symbol of greetings, the symbol of love. The Psalm­ist puts tender lips on the highest principles of man, saying, "righteousness and peace have kissed each other,"64 but Judas used it to cheat his race. He hailed the Master and kissed Him.65 In vain the Lord tried to awake him from his lethargy, saying to him in a meaning of precaution, "Judas, would you betray the Son of man with a kiss?";66 again, He approached him with sympathy, saying, "friend, wherefore art thou come?",67 but Judas' heart was hardened. Hardness and callousness cannot be uprooted even by divine appeal! 

 

CHRIST ON THE CROSS

 

DEMAGOGUES of the Synagogues found the instigator; forced their laws to speak their will; entangled the victim to pronounce phrases the way they liked; wove the web and, like a spider, ab­sorbed the blood of the Lamb. It was not an honest trial; it was a deliberate plot.

 

It was before midnight when they had laid hold of Jesus. They led Him to the high priest. The Scribes and elders of the committee were already there. They sought false witnesses not merely to accuse him but to put Him to death. This preliminary, unofficial trial paved the way to the Cross. The "high priest rent his clothes"68 hearing Jesus' answer "Thou hast said" (I am the Christ).69 The echo came back to him in the same tone from the council's members saying "He is guilty of death",70 without even a hearing. They left their victim a prey to their furious emotions. They "did spit in his face and buffeted him."71 Outside of the room in the cool night Peter, fearing the threat of the Council, denied his Master repeatedly, saying, "I know not the man",72 although he repented and "wept bitterly"73 for it.

 

Twelve hours after the Eucharist Jesus was brought before the civic Roman authority with the accusation of "forbidding to give tribute to Caesar", the only language Pilate understood and the proper cause for which to put Jesus to death, a penalty pronounced only by the Roman authority. Pilate and

 

Herod the King, at the expense of Jesus, "were made friends together".74 Although Pilate said "I find no fault in this man",75 he obeyed the demand of the mob who were shouting "away with this man",76 and he "delivered Jesus to their will."77 Pilate asked Jesus "What is truth?"78 but he did not remain for the answer; he left in pomp to wash his hands, an escape that the coward and the indifferent one takes. He presented Jesus to the Jews, saying, "behold, the man",79 but at the same time he softened and "released unto them him (Barabbas) that for sedition and murder was cast into prison".80 Lukewarm administration of Justice is an indication of a corrupted Society. It put the truth and life to death. The verdict was an expression of malice and cleverness rather than of pure justice.

 

Going to Golgotha, Calvary, two thousand feet distance southwest of the Palace of Pilate Jesus followed the path, of what is now called via Dolorosa on the outskirts of the City of Jerusalem. Jesus Christ looked at the "women, which . . . lamented him" and said "weep not for me, but weep for your children",81 thus foreseeing the future of Jerusalem. The punishment would be greater "for if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?"82 If the corrupted authorities did harm to justice and truth in the person of Jesus, the green tree, they would do more harm to the sinners, the dry tree. In fact, they did more harm to them.

 

Simon the Cyreanian did "bear the cross (the vertical board of the Cross) after Jesus"83 at the stony place. There they hammered the hand-made rough nails in the boards and "crucified him and the malefactors."84 There are many a detail which present a tragic, dramatic scene, a moving and unfor­gettable life picture. God on the Cross. The saint fearfully refers to it; the artist with reverence moves his brush; the sculptor his chisel; the poet his pen; the singer his voice; the speaker his tongue, and all of them in myriads of lines and colors, of words and tones. Millions of broken hearts have received courage and enlightenment from the Cross. The pious mother, the frustrated young man, the hopeless merchant; they have all found comfort in the cross, the Cross of Christ. The Cross is not merely a symbol; it is a power which penetrates the heart and gives life to the hopeless and helpless one.

 

Pilate and the Scribes did not realize what they -were doing. By accident a famous Rabbi prophesied that "it was expedient that one man should die for the people",85 and by accident Pilate gave an answer to his own question "Art thou the king of the Jews"86 by phrasing the sign on the cross "This is the King_ of the Jews"87 as a praise rather than an accusation. At the time of the crucifixion the trees bowed by the violence of the wind and the sun con­cealed itself in the mantle of the clouds, thus presenting a standing ovation to their Creator and Lord, but the crown of creation, man, endowed with intel­ligence and a soul, divine in character, used them then, as he does now, to undermine his Creator. In fact, he crucified, mocked and abandoned Him.

 

THE LAST SEVEN WORDS OF CHRIST ON THE CROSS

 

T HAS BEEN SAID that Helena, the Mother of the Emperor Constantine, searched the sacred place and found the precious Cross of Christ. Another Emperor brought it to Constantinople, out of the hands of the pagans. On both occasions the God-fearing people of the lavish Metropolis sang poems in expression of their reverence and admiration of the/Cross. The Cross is not merely a shape or a design of crosswise bars; it is not only a symbol for devo­tion and reverence; in its visible form one sees the invisible Christ and hears His voice. His last Seven Words from the Cross are spirit­ual highlights of a devoted Christian life. Each letter of the Seven Words represents drops of the blood of the Teacher and Savior.

 

These Words are the sacred carriers of ardent thoughts which have brought life to millions, which guided their faith to Almighty God and their love for their fellow man. They are words which have inspired and impelled men of distinction in the field of repentance, in service to Society, and in pioneering work. The Seven Words from the Cross constitute the Declaration of the Christian Understanding. They are included in the last golden page of Jesus Christs history par excellence. The believer with reverence repeats them and study their meaning and message for his life.

 

"Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." (Lk. 23:34) "Woman, behold thy son ...... behold thy mother." (John 19:26,27)

"Verily I say unto thee, to-day shall thou be with me in Paradise."

"My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Mk. 15:34; Matt. 27:46)

"I thirst" (John 19:28)

"It is finished." (John 19:30)

"Father, into my hands I commend my spirit." (Luke 23:46)

 

The Cross became the sacred pulpit from which "the preaching of the Cross"96 penetrated the entire Church which indeed placed the Cross in the leading parts of its sacred buildings and thoughts. The crown of thorns which the soldiers put on the head of Jesus Christ97 became a halo for illumination and enlightenment; its thorns turned put to be diamonds and pearls in the eyes of His believers and the civilized world. The soldiers unwittingly inaugurated in anticipation Jesus on His divine throne. The Cross is connected with persons, things and thoughts; soldiers followed the cross; on it the execution of the Lord took place; thorns, nails, vinegar, spear were used; Priests, Pilate, and people, cries of hatred, and cries of compassion; a confu­sion of thoughts, feelings and values. But this Cross is The Cross because of the Person of Jesus Christ.

 

ENTOMBMENT OF THE LORD

 

LOGOS-WORD was forced to be separated from the Body of Jesus Christ. The Logos never died. The Logos is beginning-less and lives in eternity for ever. On the Cross the separation of the Logos and Soul of Christ from the Body of Jesus took place. The soldier who "With a spear pierced His side"98 proved that this separation was completed because "forthwith came there out blood and water",98 a trustworthy indication of death. Again, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for and took away the Body of Jesus, and with Nicodemus laid His body into a new sepulcher which was nigh at hand in a garden. He did not bury the living Jesus, but only His Body; Christ never died.

 

It was a coincidence, but a good one, that the name of this noble man Joseph was the same as the name of the father of Jesus. The one took Jesus from the womb of His mother, embraced Him, raised Him, laid Him in a manger, and left Him to Humanity; the other Joseph took Jesus from the Cross, embraced Him, took Him down, laid Him in the sepulcher, and left Him for glorification. Thirty three years before Joseph "wrapped Jesus in swaddling clothes lying in a manger",99 now, the other Joseph "wound the Body of Jesus in linen clothes" laying in a sepulchre.100 Then Jesus was a child, surrounded by angels, shepherds, stars, presents, magi, His mother and Joseph; now, He was breathless, motionless, without His soul, without the Logos. It was a coincidence, but a significant one.

 

Yet, this same body of Jesus, which came from a fatherless birth, a virgin birth, was destined to live for ever united with the second Person of the Holy Trinity — the Logos. Joseph and Nicodemus performed a noble duty to the Body on the Cross which had belonged to one noble in intention, dynamic in work, pioneering a new message, initiating in changes, divine in character. His Body served all these acts; it endured all dangers and expectations together with its Master.

 

Where were His intimate friends, relatives, apostles, the cured ones, the illuminated ones? Where was Lazarus, His Friend? Where was Peter, who served Him and said he would never be separated from the Master? He denied Him outside the court; he wept bitterly; but again he disappeared. The Disciples of Christ '"Knew not the Scripture that He must rise again from the dead",102 neither when He was preaching the Good News nor after His crucifixion. What a disappointment for the divine Teacher to have no friends, no Disciples at the court and at His Cross and tomb! It was like a spear piercing the spirit and appeared as if to put to death the hopes of the great Teacher!

 

But does the Truth ever die? If the truth of human origin and influence has been the accepted noble quality which paved the way to civilization and served as a dependable servant to the divine mission, is considered as the immortal body of Society, moreover the absolute Truth in the divine Per­sonality of Jesus could not die. At times the solicitude of the Truth is like the renewal of its dedication to serve the cause. Jesus Christ identified Him­self with The Truth. He was not only a Teacher of the truth; He Himself was The Truth. His Truth was not only in His Words and in His Deeds; His Truth was also in His Life and in His Person. This Truth never dies; this Person never dies, either.

 Victory Over Death

THE STONY TOMB was new; its door was sealed by a heavy stone; a watch made the sepulcher secure. But heavier was the "unbelief and hardness of heart"103 of His Disciples, who not only did not trust their Lord but even "they believed not them which had seen Him after he was risen";103 "their words seemed to them as idle tales."104 "O slow of heart to believe; . . . ought not Christ to have suffered . . . and enter into His glory?"105 The Priests and Scribes were blinded by their jealousy and envy. They knew only the letter of the Scripture; they did not like to accept the truth. But, His Disciples were blind, too.

 

After His Resurrection Jesus appeared to them many times; He showed them His hands and their wounds; He ate with them and spoke to them in order to convince them to believe in Him. The sepulcher was empty; the linen clothes lying it it;106 "the stone was rolled away";107 "its keepers did shake, and became as dead men."108 The women saw a young man, saying, "He is risen".109 Jesus drew near to the two men going to Emmaus, went with them and "ex­pounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning him­self".110 They came back to the Apostles, saying, "The Lord is risen indeed."111

 

There are so many incidents of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, so realistic in character and so convincing in content, that even the "fools" accepted the fact and confessed that Christ was risen indeed. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is an eyewitness testimony with all the proofs of historical evidence. The Disciples, the women, and others "handle" Him and saw; "they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish . . . and he did eat before them."112 Jesus appeared to them not as a ghost to touch the imagination of the dreamers; His Resurrection is not a fanciful idea and chimera; it is a real proven fact of history.

 

As such the very early Church adopted the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and established this Living Incident as the cornerstone of its believers. The Apostle Paul, the ardent preacher of the Gospel, tells the Galatians that without the Resurrection of Jesus His Gospel is in vain and their Faith is in vain.113 The Apostle Paul knew the oral tradition of the words of Jesus and He says "thus it behoved Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day; and that repent­ance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations",114 and thus he became the Apostle of the Gentiles par excellence.

 

THE DISCIPLES' WITNESSING OF THE MASTER'S ASCENSION

 

JESUS CHRIST, risen from the dead, having assembled together His Disciples, "to them He presented Himself alive after His passion by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days, and speaking of the Kingdom of God",119 convinced them that He was the risen Lord and promised them to send the Holy Spirit, the Comforter. He bestowed on them the authority "to preach the Gospel to every creature,"120 and taught them "that repentance and remis­sion of sins should be preached in His name among all nations."121

 

The fortieth day came; the day of His departure from the world. "Then He led His Disciples out as far as Bethany".122 He had arrived on Earth in an insignificant city — Bethlehem; He departed from another small town — Bethany, east of the Mount of Olives; it was the dear city of Jesus; He had retired into this city many a time.

 

At Bethany He gave life to His friend Lazarus, "lain in the grave four days";123 at Bethany He prophesied for Himself, saying that the grateful woman Mary, who "took a pound of costly ointment of pure nard and anointed the feet of Jesus",124 did it "for the day of my burial".125 Later He was buried in a hurry without being anointed with the customary spices. Bethany had been appointed as the starting point of His Triumphant Entrance into Jerusalem six days before the Passover,126 and in Bethany He had retired each night of three or four days of that week before His arrest. Bethany, the small but unforgettable city of which served the Lord of Heaven so tenderly was chosen for His farewell to the world! His Disciples surrounded Him with reverence and awe, with friendship and courage; they remembered what He had said to them a few days before at the mountain in Galilee, “Lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age",127 and they felt His presence and power. In the midst of an inspiring silence Jesus "lifted up His hands and blessed them; and . . . parted from them and was carried up into heaven."128 See Acts 1, 1-11.

 

The Founding of the Church and its Power

 

AFTER HIS ASCENSION the Disciples of Christ "returned to Jerusalem with great joy”.129 Their conviction was great; the rehabilitation was completed. It is a great joy for one who can find himself in the chamber of absolute faith in himself and in his beliefs. The Lord said to them "I send the promise of my Father upon you",130 and they were so encouraged that they forgot the fury of the Synagogues. Their Lord told them to "stay in the city of Jerusalem, until you are clothed with power from on high-"131 No storm of human offense could take off this cloth; it did not only pro­tect them from icy envy and "ignorance"; it also kept their soul warm and active, full of life and truth. It was a cloth of power given from God and working from within; Jesus told them again "you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit",132 "you shall receive power".133

 

The story of the Pentecost is recorded by St. Luke in his second invaluable volume, The Acts of the Apostles, chapter 2,1-4. In four verses Luke has described the simple but picturesque story of the descension of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit came "like the rush of a mighty wind"134 when the Disciples were sitting together in one place. "And there appeared to them tongues as of fire ... on each one of them."135 In sixty-two words Luke preserves the infor­mation of "the Power" which gave birth to the Church and sus­tains her for ever; which changed the fear of the Apostles and made them ardent preachers and heralds. It is this Power which keeps un-defiled the Gospel of Christ, ordains His ambassadors, forgives the trespasses of the sinners, leads the nations to their destiny, holds anew the Kingdom of Heaven and works in His way the salvation of the world.

 

In these few words is recorded the story of the descending of the Holy Spirit, but His mighty work penetrates both the plan of God and the execution of its purpose. Jesus Christ was conceived by the Holy Spirit, Who was working throughout Jesus' life, mission and destiny, and left to the Church as her unique treasure and power, as her Lord and life-giving source, pronouncing her as the bulwark and pillar of the Truth. The Holy Spirit is the true God, the Third Person of the Holy Trinity, and is "worshipped and glorified together with the Father and the Son."136

 

This is the treasure of the true believer. Every believer is a "new creation." As a wild olive-tree can be changed into a fruitful one with the proper graft­ing, even more so is the natural man changed into an Apostle by the "power" from on high. This is the treasure of the mystical body of Christ, His Church.

THE TRIUMPHANT BELIEVER

A CERTAIN PLACE for the enactment of the redemptive Incidents of the living Christ is the heart of each believer as a member of the Church. Bethlehem and Golgotha belong to history. Now, the Church, that is, the believers hi the living Christ, are and represent the place where the_ same redemptive Incidents are re-enacted. This privilege is bestowed on each one of us, who worship with undivided devotion the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

The believer is a movable human sanctuary; an Altar of bloodless sacrifice; a living testimonial torch of faith; the believer pronounces the same words Jesus Christ and His Apostles revealed to the world; he is manifesting miracles in the name of the Lord; he is confessing the same faith in the true Triune God and he is working the privileges of the Christian love.

 

In the heart of the believer the Incidents and Words, the Sacrifice and Resurrection of Jesus Christ take place. God speaks through His believer, who in turn is the object of His love. As a member of the Church the believer is the human element of this sacred Body of Christ. As such he partakes of Holy Communion with Christ and with each of the other members of the Church. The belief is in com­mon; the fellowship is in common; the privileges of love should be shared among them; there is no segregation in thoughts or matter; there is only one distinction, that of Jesus Christ, the same for all through and through.

There is a unique oneness of the Incidents in the life of Christ, His testament of love, that is, the Mystic Supper, His Cross of Sacri­fice, and His Victory over death. Also, there is a unique oneness of the principles of love and faith in the Truth in the life of the believer who became the living triumphant victor in Christ.

•    REFERENCES   •

1. Jn. 1:10

2. Jn. 1:11

3. Jn. 1:29

4. Is. 53:7-8

5. Jn. 3:14
6. Lk.
17:22;18:32

7. Lk. 18:34

8. Emil [6. Kraeling—Bible Atlas p. 363a.]
9. Lk. 2:34-35

10. Kraeling ob. p. 365a.

11. Lk. 2:46:47

12. Lk. 2:49
13. Lk. 2:51

14. I Jn. 4:16

15. Jn. 3:16

16. Mt. 26:27;Mk. 14:24
17. Mk. 14:14

18. Lk. 22:10

19. Mk. 14:22

20. Jn. 2:4

21. Jan. 2:9:10f.

 

THE MYSTIC SUPPER

22. Lk. 22:15

23. Lk. 27:29

24. cf. Jn. 13:14

25. Jn. 13:18

26. Mt. 26:21

27. Mk. 14:18

28. Mt. 26:25

29. Mt. 26:25

30. M. 13:30

31. Hymn of the Church

32. cf. Jn. 6:25,72

33. Jn. 6:35; Jn. 6:41; Jn. 6:51

34. Jn. 6: 53

35. 1 Cor. 11:24

36. Lk. 22:19

37. Mt. 26:27

38. Mt. 26:25,27

39. cf. 1 Cor. 3:7-9

40. cf. Jn. 14ff.

41. Jn. 15:4

42. Jn. 15:9

43. Jn. 15:25

44. Jn. 16:7

45. Jn. 16:3

46. Jn. 16:4

47. Jn. 16:20

48. Jn. 16:24

49. Jn. 16:33

50. Jn. 17:1

51. Jn. 17:6

52. cf. Jn. 17: 9-26. 16:24

53. Jn. 17:9,13

54. Jn. 17:3

55. Jn. 17:26

 

CROSS AND SACRIFICE

56. Mk. 14:26

57. Mt. 26:28

58. Mt. 26:40

59. Mt. 26:43

60. Mt. 26:39

61. Mt. 26:41

62. Mk. 14:42

63. Mt. 26:37

64. Ps. 85:10

65. cf. Matt. 26:49

66. Lk. 22:48

67. Mt. 26:50

 

TRIAL

68. Mt. 26:65

69. Mt  26:64

70. Mt. 26:66

71. Mt. 26:67

72. Mt. 26:74

73. Mt. 26:75

74. Lk. 23:12

75. Lk. 23:4

76. Lk. 23:18

77. Lk. 23:25

78. Jn. 18:38

79. Jn. 19:5

80. Lk.23:25

81. Lk. 23.28

82. Lk. 28:31

83. Lk. 23:26

84. Lk. 23:33

85. Jn. 18:14

86. Jn. 18:33

87. Lk. 23:38

88. Lk. 23:34

89. Jn. 19:26,27

90. Lk. 23:43

91. Mk. 15:34; Mt. 27:46

92. 1 Cor. 1:18f.

93. Jn. 9:28

94. Jn. 19:30

95. Lk. 23:46

96. I Cor. 1:18

97. Jn. 19:2

99. Lk. 2:12

100. Jn. 19:40

101. Lk. 23:47

102. Jn. 20:9

103. Mk. 16:14

104. Lk. 24:11

105. Lk. 24:26

106. cf. Jn. 20:5

107. Mk. 16:4

108. Mt. 28:4

109. Mk. 16:6

110. Lk. 14:27

111. Lk. 14:34

112. Lk. 14:42

113. cf.1Cor. 15:14

114. Lk. 24:46,47

115. cf. Lk. 24:32

116. cf. Lk 24:32

117. Lk. 24:34

118. Lk. 24:29

119. Acts 1:3

121. Lk. 24:47

122. Lk. 24:50

123. Jn. 11:17

124. Jn. 12:3

125. Jn. 12:7        

126. cf. Jn. 12:1

127. Mt. 28:30

128. Lk. 24:50,52

129. Lk. 24:53

130. Lk. 24:49

131. Lk. 24:49

132. Acts 1:5

133. Acts 1:8

134. Acts 2:2

135. Acts 2:3 

136. Nicean Creed.

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A Fool For Christ who believes

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    Yes, our Metropolitan Archbishop, +Joseph Thaddeus, SSJt., Ph.D. strongly defends the Seals of the Confessional for such leads to true Repentance in thought, word and deed whereby the penitent is required to make amends, where possible, to seek forgiveness of those harmed by his actions whether real or imagined, and to give his forgiveness to those who have harmed him before taking the Holy Body and Blood in the Eucharist, Jesus the Christ.  The reality of this understanding is bound up in and with the findings for which cause he, himself, had been character assassinated by his detractors who claim the courts prevented him from breaking the Seals of the Confessional which is not the truth at all.... Click here to see what another bishop's findings are...

 

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   "It would be better to have ten (10) true repentant X-felons who ask for and give true forgiveness than it would be to have one (1) non-x-felon or common person whose self-righteousness exceeds even the Pharisees, Sadducees, the gossip mongers, slanderers and un-repentant; for the repentant x-felon understands the true meaning of the Church's purpose as being the spiritual hospital." (siq) +Joseph Thaddeus, OSB, SSJt., Ph.D., Metropolitan Archbishop, Archabbot, Primate

 

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