easter

Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early on the third day after Jesus’ death.  She was coming to anoint Jesus’ body with oils and perfumes, in keeping with Jewish customs.  She was expecting to see the large stone still covering the entrance, and to have to ask the Roman soldiers standing guard at the tomb to roll it away for her to enter the tomb.  She was preparing herself for the stench of a body now dead for three days, having been left untreated in observance of the Sabbath.  The burial cloths would be stuck to the wounds left from the brutal torture the body endured. But when she arrived, the stone was rolled away.  There were no guards.  The burial cloths were there on the bed, but there was no body.  The tomb was empty. Mary was afraid.  She had been there for it all, a devout follower of Jesus and one of the women dedicated to taking care of the disciples as they journeyed from town to town.  She had heard every word.  Three days before, she had seen every whip lash and heard every cry of agony from Jesus.  She stood with Mary, his mother, as they watched it

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The day was long. Jesus had spent the last 24 hours being beaten, mocked, and dragged from Caiaphas, to Pilate, to Herod, and back to Pilate again.  He was questioned and interrogated for hours, only muttering a few words of confirmation of who he was.  He was without food or sleep. It still wasn’t enough. He was already bruised and battered by the time Pilate ordered the scourging.  The Roman soldiers tied him to a wood block and whipped him over and over again, with leather thongs laced with broken glass, metal pieces, and fragments of bone.  The whip wrapped around the barrel of his trunk, the nape of his neck, and his buttocks and hamstrings.  People stood around and watched – the priests of the Sanhedrin in victory, the followers of Jesus in horror, and the hundreds of people around in sport who were in Jerusalem for Passover. And it still wasn’t enough. The high priests begged for more.  It was crucifixion they wanted.  Complete destruction of this man who threatened everything they believed and all that they controlled.  Only Rome had the authority to crucify – a brutal and painful death of only the most deserving criminals.  They wanted

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