Holy Week - The Triduum
Good Friday - 2 April 2021
Matthew 26:36-end; 27
Trial, arrest & crucifixion
1 The garden arrest
2 Jesus taken to Annas
3 Jesus before Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin
4 Peter’s denial
(Matthew 26:69-75) and
5 Trial becomes political
6 Before Herod
7 Pilate gives in to crowd
8 Jesus handed over to be crucified
9 Crucified between two criminals
10 The death of Jesus
(2 Corinthians 5:21)
12 The veil torn in two
14 Women watch from a distance
Matthew mentions some of them—Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph (Matthew
27:56) and John tells us she was the wife of Cleopas. (Emmaus Road (Luke 24). Some think that they were
Jesus’ aunt and uncle. Mark mentions a woman called Salome, who was the sister of the virgin Mary, the mother of James and John, who was married to Zebedee. Matthew mentions “the other Mary” (Matthew
27:61) and John also includes Mary, the mother of Jesus.
Holy Saturday - 3 April
Burial of Jesus and guarding of the tomb
Jewish law forbade the body of an executed person to be left hanging all night. It had to be buried by sundown (Deuteronomy 21:22). But none of Jesus’ relations owned a property or tomb in Jerusalem since they were from Galilee. (Isaiah 53:9 tells us that Jesus will be killed alongside wicked men and buried in a rich man’s tomb). Joseph of Arimathea, a wealthy man and member of the Sanhedrin was a secret admirer
of Jesus. Luke 23:51 tells us he “had not consented to the deed” and now musters up the courage to ask
Pilate for permission to give Jesus’ body a proper burial. The actual burial is recorded with few words and was done in accordance with Jewish custom.
The next day, although it was Passover Sabbath (v62) the chief priests breach the Sabbath law to ensure that Jesus is really dead and gone. Pilate agrees to seal the grave and place a guard so nobody could steal the body and claim that Jesus had risen. We know what they did not—that no guard, seal or huge stone would succeed in keeping Jesus in the tomb. Praise God.
Easter Sunday - 4 April 2021
He is not here, He is risen! Hallelujah!
We greet each other on Easter morning, ‘Christ is risen!’ and respond, ‘He is risen indeed! Hallelujah!’
The resurrection of Jesus is at the very heart of the Gospel and because of it, we have good news to share. The slight discrepancies recorded by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, to my mind give a ‘ring of truth’ to the resurrection accounts. These were not a conspiracy theory but real people bearing witness to what they saw and heard, and their transformed lives were living proof that indeed, Jesus was not dead but alive! Let’s look at some of the witnesses Matthew focusses on:
1 God’s witness
An earthquake and an angel at the tomb are two signs of God’s heavenly power at work (Matthew 28:2). In Acts 3:24, Peter proclaims: “But God raised him from the dead because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.”
2 The women’s witness
The women were first to know that Jesus had risen! After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary go to the tomb expecting to find a dead body. The tomb is open (not to let Jesus out but to prove that it was empty) and deserted – the earthquake, the angel and the stone being rolled away must have spooked the guards. The angel tells the women not to be afraid, shows them where the body had been and tells them: “Jesus, who was crucified, is not here for he has risen, as he said.” (vs5-6) God gives them the task of telling the disciples the news, which is astonishing because women were not allowed to give witness in a court of law, but God chooses them as the first to know and the first to bear witness.
3 The empty tomb
There was no disputing the empty tomb. Despite the stone and the guards, the tomb was empty on that first Easter Day. Because there may have been rumours around that Jesus did not rise from the dead and that the disciples had stolen the body, Matthew addresses this head on. From that grave, two messages have gone out:
• One to the disciples, carried by the women to the effect that Jesus is alive.
• The other to the chief priests, carried by the soldiers, to the effect that the body has been stolen.
Nobody could deny that the body was gone and that the tomb was empty. There had been a guard and it had not prevented the resurrection. They had fled in terror and reported to the priests who bribed them to
circulate the story that the disciples had stolen the body. Resurrection appearances Many of these are recorded in the Gospels and 1 Corinthians 15.
For forty days, until the Ascension, Jesus continued to show himself to his followers, proving that he was alive. So let us rejoice that Jesus, the risen Lord, meets with us still, and sends us out to share the good news that he has triumphed over death, and is with us, even to “the end of the age”.
God of glory, by the raising of your Son, you have broken the chains of death and hell: fill your Church with faith and hope for a new day has dawned and the way of life stands open in our Saviour Jesus Christ. (Collect for Easter Sunday)
If you are able to donate any baby clothes and/or nappies, please bring to the office.
Knitting friends of Centre of Concern, winter will be here very soon. Please remember to knit jerseys & beanies etc for those in need this year.
Centre of Concern is also collecting 1L yoghurt tubs for the soup kitchen.
Spring cleaning this Easter?
Please pray for all our mission families celebrating Easter. May it be a time of deep reflection and joy for all. This is also a vulnerable time for churches in many persecuted countries so please pray for protection for churches. Pray also for opportunities for non-believers to hear the gospel.
Lockdown prayers every Thursday @ 2:30pm. All welcome!
Please contact Andrew (083 546 2451) for the Zoom link.
We would appreciate it if you could deposit your dedicated giving contributions via EFT into our bank acount:
Branch Code: 050417
A/C Name: St John the Baptist Church
A/C Number: 080281206
(Please make sure your number & reference is included)
Contact Allan at firstname.lastname@example.org if you do not have a pledge number.
Please be aware that the recycling area is currently closed until further notice.