3 Things Your Pastor Won’t Tell You About Easter

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1. The gospels contradict each other about when the crucifixion allegedly occurred.

Ask the four gospels whether Jesus was crucified before or after the Passover and they will all chime in “after”………except John. The chronology for the crucifixion is different in John and the indications are not subtle. John 19:31 says “Therefore, because it was the preparation Day, that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.” No problem fixing John’s chronology there. He says that Jesus died on the Preparation Day, which is the day that the Passover feast is prepared. Earlier, in John 18:28, when Jesus was being tried, he says that “they led Jesus from Caiaphas unto the hall of judgment: and it was early; and they themselves went not into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled; but that they might eat the Passover.” Then John 19:14 says that Pilate delivered Jesus back to the Jews on the day of Preparation of the Passover. The last supper is mentioned in John, but not as a Passover meal. In fact, John 13:1 says “Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the father…..” That statement leads into the supper, then, after supper when Jesus said to Judas “What you do, do quickly,” John says that some of the disciples thought that Jesus had sent him to buy the things that they would need for the feast. Obviously, if they had just eaten the Passover, he would not be sending someone to buy the things that they need to prepare for it.

What of the other gospels? How clear are their chronologies? Luke is probably the most obvious. In chapter 22 verse 7 begins the account with “Then came the Day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover must be killed.” It goes on to relate the circumstances in which they found the room (9-12), prepared the Passover (13), and ate the Passover (14-20).

John says he was dead on the day of Preparation. Luke says he ate the Passover meal. Could he have eaten the Passover meal earlier than everyone else in anticipation of his death? No. The Feast of Unleavened Bread was held at a designated time each year for a reason, in the first month, from the fourteenth day to the twenty-first day as commanded in Exodus chapter 12. To eat the Passover meal on a day other than the Passover would have broken God’s commandment given in Exodus and ruined the whole “lamb without blemish” mystique of the crucifixion.

2. The “traditional” chronology does not fulfill the prophecy as attributed to Jesus.

Jesus is recorded in Matthew 12:40 as saying “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whales belly; so shall the son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” The dilemma is his assertion that he would be in the earth for three days and three nights. This is supposed to be a prophecy about his death, burial, and resurrection. But, according to the accounts in the gospels, he was not in the earth for three days and three nights. He was crucified on Friday, the day before the Sabbath (Mark 15:42) (Luke 23:54). Mary went early in the morning on the first day of the week and found the body gone (Matthew 28:16) (Mark 16:2) (Luke 24:1). So he was there, according to the gospels, Friday night, Saturday, Saturday night, and gone Sunday morning.

Now in Jewish reckoning of that period, a day is an evening and a morning and any part of a day may be counted as one day. But here we have a specific statement of three days and three nights that simply cannot be reconciled with a Friday crucifixion and a Sunday resurrection. If we count Friday as one day, Saturday as one day, and Sunday as one day, we can get three days. But we can only count Friday night and Saturday night in the tomb and he was gone by Sunday morning. There were simply not three nights involved as Jesus had said.

Christians believe that Jesus was actually in Hell conquering death during that time. Maybe Hell is in a different time zone?

3. The gospels contradict each other about what happened Sunday morning and after.

The accounts of the events of the resurrection morning contradict each other repeatedly. Matthew tells of Mary Magdalene and the other Mary going to see the sepulchre. Mark says the group was Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome. Luke says it was Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Joanna. John names only Mary Magdalene.

In John’s account, Mary did not see Jesus until after she went and told Peter and the other disciple. In Matthew and Mark, she saw Jesus before she told the disciples about the empty sepulchre. In Luke, he did not appear to Mary that morning, but first appeared to two disciples on the road to Emmaus, who did not immediately recognize him.

In Matthew, a single angel, the angel of the Lord, appeared to Mary. Mark says it was simply a young man clothed in a long white garment. Luke says there were two angels in white, who appeared to Mary on her second visit to the sepulchre and after Peter and the other disciples, had left.

Matthew says that Jesus appeared to the two Marys on their way to tell the disciples and he says they held him by the feet and worshipped him. Mark mentions an appearance to Mary with no details. Luke mentions no appearance to Mary that morning. John says that Jesus appeared to Mary after she had told the disciples and was at the tomb for the second time. John also says that Jesus forbade Mary to touch him, in contradiction to Matthew’s account.

Matthew’s account begins in chapter 28, Marks begins in chapter 16, Luke’s is found in chapter 24 and John’s begins in chapter 20. Hunt these Easter errors for yourself. Hey, maybe they are all correct. Maybe he just resurrected four times.

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