Good Friday – Sequence of Events

It’s a quick read to review the day leading up to or the day of Jesus’ (The Christ) crucifixion. It’s something quite different to think about how long the whole process took hour by hour of what He endured on our behalf, a trial and punishment true believers will never have to face because He did all this and more on the elects behalf.

As compiled by the Gospel Coalition:

“Here’s a timeline of the events as they possibly unfolded on that first Good Friday, with corresponding Scripture references. You could put these events in your calendar or set them as reminders to sound throughout the day. Times are approximate.

4:00 to 6:00 a.m.

Jesus’s trial before Annas and Caiaphas.

(Matthew 26:57–68; Mark 14:53-65; Luke 22:66–70; John 18:12–28)

6:00 to 8:00 a.m.

Jesus’s trial before Pontius Pilate and Herod. Jesus appears before Pilate, is sent over to Herod, and then back to Pilate where he is sentenced to be crucified.

(Matthew 27:1–26; Mark 15:1–15; Luke 23:1–25; John 18:28–19:16)

8:00 to 8:30 a.m.

Jesus carries his cross, with Simon of Cyrene’s help, to Golgotha.<img alt=”” role=”presentation” aria-hidden=”true” class=”i-amphtml-intrinsic-sizer” src=”data:image/svg+xml;charset=utf-8,” style=”max-width: 100%; display: block !important”>

(Matthew 27:27–32; Mark 15:16–22; Luke 23:26–33; John 19:16–17)

9:00 a.m. (Crucifixion)

Jesus is crucified: “It was the third hour” (Mark 15:25). For the Jewish people, the first hour of the day was 6:00 a.m.

(Matthew 27:35; Luke 23:33; John 19:18–22)

9:00 to 9:30 a.m.

The soldiers divide Jesus’s clothing. He prays for them.

(Matthew 27:35; Mark 15:24; Luke 23:34; John 19:23–24)

9:30 to 11:00 a.m.

The soldiers watch over the crucifixion and mock Jesus: “He can’t save himself. Come down from there, Son of God.”

(Matthew 27:36–43; Mark 15:29–32; Luke 23:35–38)

11:00 a.m. to Noon

Jesus speaks from the cross to the thieves on either side. The repentant thief asks Jesus to remember him, and Jesus promises, “Today you will be with me in paradise.” And to his mother, Mary, and to John, Jesus says, “Woman, here is your son. . . . John, here is your mother.’”

(Matthew 27:38–44; Luke 23:39–43; John 19:25–27)

Noon

A three-hour darkness descends upon the land: “When the sixth hour had come, there was a darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour.”

(Matthew 27:45; Mark 15:33)

Noon to 3:00 p.m.

The earth quakes, the temple curtain is torn, and Jesus thirsts.

(Matthew 27:51–54; Mark 15:38; Luke 23:45; Matthew 27:46–50; Mark 15:33–37; Luke 23:35–38; John 19:29)

3:00 p.m.

Jesus dies: “At the ninth hour, Jesus cried out, ‘My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?’” “Jesus said, ‘It is finished,’ and he gave up his spirit.”

(Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34–39; Luke 23:46; John 19:30)

************

After this, before night set in, the soldiers thrust a spear into Jesus side to make sure he was dead. They then permitted Joseph of Arimathea to take down Jesus’s body and bury him in a nearby grave.

They sealed the grave with a large round stone built to roll like a giant wheel into place, covering the mouth of the tomb.

Everyone expected he would remain in that tomb, because that’s what happens with those who are dead and buried. They stay dead and they stay buried.”

Then the predicted and yet unexpected happened three days later! RESURRECTION!!

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Passing the Torch

Moral decline in America is nothing new. We see it everyday and likely participate in it. It is evident in everything from school and work policies to capital hill politics. America is full of “churches” but to one degree or another they have become mini-political activist, social groups, but where the Bible itself is hardly taught or known.

This is nothing new for American Christians to discuss, and I don’t mean to add to it, lament it or suggest “how to win America back”. I’m simply looking at things from a more skeptical and maybe even prophetic point of view. In short, I think the torch of the Christian gospel is passing away from the Americas to many parts of Africa. Christianity is not tied to any one nation, but exists where God so chooses to make Himself known. It’s typical throughout history for it to exist as a minority or remnant of all kinds of peoples in all kinds of places. So I expect there will still be pockets of faithful believers in America.

As I was thinking of writing this. I read the article from Cardinal Robert Sarah (link below), who seemed to agree and point out that, America is slowly losing to the ideals of globalization.

https://www.wnd.com/2019/04/vatican-cardinal-warns-west-will-disappear-by-mass-migration/amp/

In the US, the current administration under President Trump, seems to be taking on, and somewhat winning against the socialist globalization idealists. But, should that stabilize or not over the years, we have to recognize that Christianity is not a political position although political positions should take their lead from moral justice and pursuing righteousness, holiness and sanctification. The question is not if there is hope for America (although patriotic Christians will lean this way), but where is the Gospel of Christ faithfully preached and taught. This seems to be the growing grace of God throughout parts of Africa. I pray for their growth and development, and even for their protection from some forms of “Americanized” Christianity.

May God bless the further spreading of His Word to all the ends of the earth.

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Explanatory Chart of Covenant Theology

After a long study and not finding what I’ve produced anywhere else, I’ve created this explanatory chart of covenant theology.  <- This is the link.

It does not attempt to interact with other views, It simply outlines my humble view regarding how to understand Covenant Theology. As it is said in many seminaries, “Covenant Theology is the grid by which to interpret Scripture.” So the chart is the backbone, to my next endeavor, which is to produce a few short commentaries that are strictly Covenant focused, and a year or two of Sunday School curriculum for those about 7+ covering the Covenants as outlined here.

I hope you find the chart engaging with scripture, and I’m happy to elaborate on any of the points. Find me and my work under #CovenantReformation. Check out my archives for other Covenant related posts.

explanatory chart of covenant theology

 

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Covenant, Free will, and Apologetics

Usually in apologetics when total depravity and free will are being discussed, the refutation (or qualifiers) point to the doctrine of sin and its scriptural references to being “dead in our trespasses”. The argument goes that a dead person must first be made alive prior to being able to make any decisions. So to be spiritually dead requires that God grant us spiritual life (regeneration), prior to us being able to choose Jesus at all.

I agree with this line of thinking but would rather couch it within the context of the Covenant, as the above is rather one sided. Within the first covenant we can say that mankind, as represented in Adam, was in a perfect relationship with God. One attribute of God is called His simplicity, which is shorthand for saying He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. So when Adam sins against God, this becomes or is an eternal offense. When man walks away from God to make his own choice (eat the fruit), it’s a way declaring rebellion against God who said not to eat of it.

Offending God, in scripture is compared to adultery and murder, which are things you just cannot go back to the person and say, “I’m back, let’s let bygones be bygones.” Because God is the one offended, we cannot by our own volition just choose to go back to Him. Even if we did want to, we don’t have anything to offer Him, that is not His already. We cannot mend the relationship from our side. God must be willing and wanting to pursue us and provide a way to reconcile us to Himself. There is nothing by which we could possibly go and attempt to stand before Him and offer to appease His wrath, for having been wholly offended.

As the argument goes, we do not pursue God because of our estate in sin as a nature, and the death we suffer in the fall is the loss of a wholistic love for God and all that is His. This is indicated over and over as in the Law we are told what outward love for God and neighbor must look like, and then as Jesus tells us, that the outward act is nothing if not from an inward heart of real love for God.

Covenantally If our righteousness originally required perfect and continuous obedience, then one offense shatters the whole, because there is no room, time, or act that can make up for the offense. If you are to always to be right with God, then there is no “down time” by which you could say you wanted to work overtime or do “extra” to make up the deficit.

So clearly if there is to be any reconciliation, God must move towards us, before we could possibly think of moving towards Him.

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Jade Stones and Christians

A Chinese boy decided carving jade would be a worthwhile profession. So the next day he went and submitted himself as an apprentice to the area jade master craftsman. On the boys first day the wise master put a piece of jade stone into the youth’s hand and told him to hold it tight. Then he went to work . After an hour he took back the stone and sent the boy home. The process was repeated for weeks. The boy was becoming increasingly frustrated—when would he learn to actually carve the jade? A week later the boy decided to give up and consider another trade. Upon telling the jade master of his decision the master only asked if on his way out the boy could bring him a big piece of jade from his work bench. The boy agreed, but upon picking up the stone the boy cried out instantly, “That’s not jade!” The master said, “That’s lesson number one, come back tomorrow and we will start lessons number two.”

So too the Christian gets frustrated in their daily walk with God, when He repeatedly leads you to work and all you see are the jobs you’d rather be doing. Or in your relationships but hate being single. Possibly in church your the critic who knows what the pastor should have said or done each week, wanting to be an elder or in some position that you have yet to be recognized for. Be patient, don’t get frustrated, look around where God HAS lead you and just trust that He is teaching you whatever you need to know. Be where you are in your walk with God appreciating just being with God.

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Covenant (part 7) in Christ

Covenant of Grace: in Christ

This may also be referred to as the “New Covenant” and yet salvation by grace, through faith in Christ, as regenerated by the Holy Spirit, has always been God’s plan of salvation.

Visible/Physical elements: Israel, the Church, Baptism, Lord’s Supper,

John Calvin, although years ahead of Covenantal vs. Dispensationalism schools of thought, laid out in his Institutes, great sections on the continuances and differences between the new and old covenants. As I’ve shown before both the New Covenant (NC) and Old Covenant (OC) are two ways of looking at the one Covenant of Grace (or Salvation) as under two different forms of administrations. Some would illustrate this as running the same house but as differently in summer than in winter. I like to illustrate it as going to a concert. You act one way in line as you await the opening of the venue, but once the band is there and the venue open, you don’t continue to wait in line (what was right and appropriate while awaiting their arrival), you go in and enjoy their full presence.

So In the New Covenant, although we invisibly still have salvation by grace, through faith in Christ, as regenerated/baptized by the Holy Spirit, the “types and shadows” that OC saints looked to in hope of a messiah, are all outwardly replace or fulfilled by the actual Messiah, Jesus. The book of Hebrews is the best resource for looking at the OC as realized in Jesus. This is typically admitted when we look at the OC outward animal sacrifices, and we conclude that Christ’s NC once sacrifice of himself was the only true sacrifice that atoned for sin, thereby animal sacrifices are discontinued. It is this exact principle where the invisible reality was believed in by faith in both the OC and the NC, but outward visible sign is replaced by the actual. Some OC to NC transitions are not so easy if you’re not accustomed to seeing them. One example would be that as eternal life is the invisible reality in both covenants, the visible “promise land”, in the OC is replaced by the NC teaching of a new heaven and earth. Proof that the Israelites understood this transition is that they had no issue selling off ancestral land to see the Church grow.

The most tense discussions surrounding the institution of the NC is that Israel as the outward national people of God, are now clarified in the Gospels and in places like Romans 9 to really be those who believe, and yet true Israel was never those just born to Abraham, but those who believed the promises just as we now believe the promises are fulfilled. So who were any of the promises really made to, but those of faith in all ages, and according to those true invisible qualities? The unbelievers in all ages or covenants, at best only ever enjoyed the physical and visible signs of the promises, but will never really enter God’s true rest. So can national Israel still be the “people of God”? No, because those who do not have the Son do not have the Father. In a manner of speaking (visible/invisible distinctions) it both never was fully outwardly, but the people in it or even around it that believed, were the true Israel all along. It is in this same sense that the Church now exists, as the people of God by faith, and yet have visible sacraments to outwardly identify it from the rest of the world. But as stated in other parts of this series, just following the visible signs does not automatically make on inwardly and invisibly saved.

If anything I hope the series helps those unfamiliar with Covenant theology see the distinctions we hold and how we make the transition from new to old testaments, and how we see God working in one consistent manner in all ages. In opposing circles, I’ve been a part of, there is more confusion and inconsistent mixing of the signs and things signified or rather visible types get confused, fused or disconnected from their invisible and yet true spiritual realities.

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Covenant (part 6) Moses

The Covenant of Grace: with Moses

Immediately I understand that categorizing the covenant made with Moses (and Israel) as part of the covenant of grace, is not commonly understood or accepted. Arguments against this placement will usually cite Paul’s various Law vs. Gospel distinction passages. I admit these and yet like to clarify that Paul is not against the Law, as if it were evil, but wherever Paul or any NT writer, in shorthand, condemns the “Law”, they are in fact only ever condemning the incorrect use of the Law, as if it were meant to be a system of righteousness, which it is not, cannot be, and was never given to be such a system.

Visible/Physical elements: Moses, the people of Israel, the Ten Commandments, promises and curses.

Scenario: a seed of Abraham had become a physical blessing to many nations, as Joseph rose to fame and power in Egypt and saved many from starvation. A new Pharaoh rises who hates and is threatened by Israel and so imposed a harsh bondage upon them, whereas the people cry out to God for deliverance. Moses comes on scene as a deliverer figure fulfilling Gen. 15:13, Ex. 2:23-24. Via the power of God represented by and communicating through Moses, the people are set free from Egypt and journey towards the land originally promised to Abraham.

It’s important to note that, as the New Testament teaches (Gal. 3:17), the covenant of grace/promise via Abraham is still the context in the days of Moses as to why Israel is considered the people of God, why they can call on God, and why He moves to deliver them. The institution of the grace/law covenant with Moses, DOES NOT replace the promises, but only adds the dimension that if you are a child of promise, by faith, given to you as was given to Abraham, then this new heart should function in these “10” ways.

Now, because physically they cannot see everyone’s heart, but yet physically all reside with or are within a household of Abraham/Israel, all the males are to be outwardly circumcised. Now all those outwardly circumcised (regenerate by faith or not) are expected to keep the commandments of God, as expressing their love for God and neighbor in tangible everyday living. To the invisible/spiritual Israel or church they are just living out the faith and love they have received internally. The unsaved or those who do not have faith, but are externally part of physical Israel are still required conditionally to obey the commandments, which because of sin can only offend them and drive them to be “stiff-necked” toward God and others.

So the Ten Commandments, along with all other instituted levitical laws do not replace the covenant of grace, but as it were, enhances it to now say what the people of God’s name and faith actually do. It’s to show the world how their hearts beat differently than others in all matters of tangible daily living. The faith filled Israelites, I think, would rejoice in this, as now elements of their entire day allows them to focus on God. The new commandments are embraced because of the heart they’re given, and not the other way around. Doing the commandments did not and could not make someone a child of grace, faith and promises, except in their external/physical sense. In the modern church we claim a better than type and shadow revelation, stronger witness of the Spirit and freedom in Christ, but our outward and daily walk with God can hardly be said to entirely focus on God. We consider ourselves “good” if we remember to pray before falling asleep.

Taking things just a bit further. You see throughout the rest of the Old Testament this visible/invisible and physical/spiritual context and tensions in how God treats “His people”. Israel is typically in trouble for breaking covenant relationship with God. So God physically punishes them (removing sometimes almost all physical covenant blessing from them), for their breach, but yet invisibly still calls the faithful of them “His people” (because by the promise to Abraham, God will answer against Himself for their breaches) and further promises to restore them.

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