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Family and Friends is my everyday journal. Captain's Log is where I pontificate on religion and politics.

Saturday, April 29, 2023

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

WC042623 Films to watch when you've had a bad day


Today's challenge is films to watch when you're having a bad day.

1. Addam's Family. I had a really difficult year with multiple problems at school and with my family. This movie came out and I laughed all the way through it. Leaving the theater I told my wife, "I needed that."

2. The Fifth Element. Whenever my wife got home on a Friday and we were both stressed to the limit. I'd look at her and say "Big Badda Boom." She'd nod and we'd get lost in that world.

3. History of the World Part I, my wife loves "Quick Time Harch." I like the line, "It's good to be the King."

4. Young Frankenstein. I laugh all the way through it no matter how many times I see it. 

5. Becker. I bought the entire series on DVD's. Whenever we need to laugh, we watch a number of shows.

6. The WKRP in Cincinnati Thanksgiving episode. 

7. Laurel and Hardy's Box set of their TV show, love Who's on First.

8. Rita Rudner's HBO special: Married Without Children. "Refrigerator blindness."

9. Red Skelton Box set, none of his guest stars could keep a straight face.

10. Carol Bernett Show Box set. Tim Conway was pure genius.

It was with regret I threw away all I had of Bill Cosby. His jokes stopped being funny. You listen to the speaker not the speech.

Monday Musings A Day Late

 Some things snowball in a 50-year-old house.

The spigot on my backyard cracked over the winter and it needed to be replaced. My son came up from Los Lunas. After lunch at a pizza joint, he went to replace it. We bought a replacement, and he couldn't get it to thread onto the nipple. It was rusted and corroded. He tried all he could, but it wouldn't go on.

With the water turned off I was looking at having to find a plumber. Good luck on a Sunday and most likely not getting one to look at it for a day or two. I was on my way to find a motel room for the night when I saw Glenn with his garage door open.

Glen has been my handyman for a number of years. When I was using the fireplace I bought firewood from him, he reroofed my house, installed my new front door and screen door, put in a gate at the side of the house and other small jobs over the years.
His health has gone down and the last time I tried to call him his phone was disconnected.

His mother passed away in December, she lived a few doors down from us and he's living there now. He would like to keep the house but will mostly likely have to sell it. Found out he was living in Farmington. 

Anyway, I asked if he would replace the nipple on the backyard water spigot. He spent four hours trying to get it off. Nothing worked.

We got a motel room. He went to a plumbing place and got advice. He called and said he bought some penetrating oil and a packet of inserts that he could put inside the nipple and with a ratchet would get it out.

He came by around noon on Monday and did everything he could, but all the inserts did was spin on the inside. I was looking at another night or more in a motel and finally trying to get a plumber. 

To Glenn's credit, I paid him Sunday 50 dollars for his time, and he refused for me to refund him for what he bought and any extra money. He called a plumber friend, and he came over within an hour. 

The socket that the nipple went into was so corroded it wasn't going to let go of the nipple. He had to cut a hole on the outside wall to reach where the socket joined with the copper water pipe. He cut the copper pipe, took out the socket and nipple, cut a piece of copper pipe and soldered it onto the rest of the pipe. Added a new socket and nipple and put on the correct spigot. Took less than thirty minutes.

He wanted a hundred dollars, I only had ninety on me. He took the wrong spigot I'd bought for the difference. Who knew there was a right and wrong spigot, thought all I needed was one that was a half-inch.

Glenn's going to patch the hole around the spigot and he's checking on replacing a big wooden gate in the backyard (access for the box the electric company has in the corner there). It's pulling out of the cinder block wall and I'm replacing it with chain link. I was going to have him do that before he went out of town.

Next time I'm calling a plumber.

Thursday, April 20, 2023

Friday Book Review: The Greeks A Great Adventure

 I didn't know it at the time, but this was the first book by Isaac Asimov I read. It's not a science fiction book, it's a history book.

I was in 8th grade and needed to read to write a book report. I found this one in the library. I've always had a thing for history it's in my blood.

It's a fantastic book. Easy to read, but it covers Greek history from early settlers through the 20th century.

What struck me as odd was the Asimov would put in a commentary from time to time giving the reader perspective other that just names, dates and battles.

In 9th grade a friend of mine loaned me his book of Nine Tomorrows by Asimov and from there I read a ton of his books over many years. When my son was in middle school, I had him read Nine Tomorrows, and then his robot stories and he fell in love the Foundation Trilogy

When I started teaching world history, I went to the library to see if they had this book available. It was in the main library, and they sent it on loan to my school. I was surprised that he wrote this book, and that he wrote many other histories. The Roman Republic, the Roman Empire, Western Asia, Egypt, England, France and others. I ordered those books, read them and added them to my curriculum. Each book had a timeline. I copied them and gave them out to the students. The books are long out of print and very few libraries carry them. A great pity as they are the best books out there for a young adult to fall in love with history.

They have never been available to the general public. I think the publisher didn't consider them marketable in a regular book store.

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

WC: Best of Advice I'll Always Remember.


I've been given lots of advice over the years. 

Don't go to bed angry. 

Don't take any plug nickels.

As a teacher I was advised not to smile before Christmas, and to always under react.

This book isn't exactly full of advice but explains the need to control stress levels and how to live a more productive life. 

Hart starts by talking about how good stress (Eustress) and bad stress (Distress) act the same way on the body.

It puts the body into fight or flight mode which is great for snap decisions, but leaves careful thought behind.

When you're stressed you're always in panic mode. You have to destress to think creatively.

I understood when writing my first book why I couldn't write during the school year. I was so stressed from teaching that I couldn't create. I edited what I wrote over the summer when I was destressed and could create. It took me ten years to finish the book this way, but I was frustrated trying to write when I was too stressed for creative thought.

I learned to handle stress by finding ways to relax and calm down, I had fewer sleepless nights trying to figure out how to reach certain students and a difficult class, which gave me better ideas instead of just brooding.

Since I've retired and shed the stress of the workplace, I've written seven books and numerous short stories in ten years.

Monday, April 17, 2023

Monday Musings: How Old Was Jesus When He was Crucified?

 Today's is: How Old Was Jesus When He Was Crucified?

The year of the crucifixion is set from AD 30 to 33. Pilate was governor from AD 26-36. There are records of his problems with the Jewish leaders the first couple of years and things settled down, until the Samaritans revolted in AD 36. He was recalled on charges of tyranny, brutality and executing men without cause. Seems Pilate didn't cover his ass as much as he thought by washing his hands.

Christian tradition maintains that Jesus was 32 and half years old at crucifixion. This is based on the year AD 1 was his birth and there is historical reference to his death by Josephus and Roman records on Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea at the time.

Problem 1.

Setting the dates. Pope Gregory set the dates, which is why we call it the Gregorian Calendar, a thousand years after Christ died. He had little historical record to base his dating.

Josephus recorded that Herod the Great died in the year of an eclipse. There was a solar eclipse in the Roman year 752, dated from the founding of Rome.

This is why Gregory chose the Roman year 752 as the birth of Jesus. 

Off by four years. Roman records later discovered pointing to the year 748 for Herod's death and his kingdom divided. There was a lunar eclipse that year. 

Quinctillius Varus was governor of Syria at the time and when Herod died. The Jews revolted and Varus crucified 2,000 of the Jewish leaders to settle things down. Luke gives the name Quintus as governor of Syria, but Quintus was governor there in AD 7. Luke got it wrong, but then 60 years later the names were most likely mixed up by the people he interviewed.

Star of Bethlehem. Astronomy has looked at the phenomenon that called the wise men to come to Judea. It was a conjunction of Venus, Mars and Jupiter aligning. This happened a few months ago and from Albuquerque we could see these bright objects on the lower horizon in the west.

The wise men were most likely Astrologers and triangulated the "star's" position. They saw it coming over a period of time and coordinated a meeting to be there when the final confluence happened. This happened in 7 BC.

Three dates for the birth of Jesus. This gives us the Roman years 752, 748 and 745.

Problem 2.   

The main source of information about Jesus's ministry comes from Luke 3:23. It says Jesus was "About 30 years of age."

If you take 30 years "literally" Jesus was born in year 1 He was crucified at age 32 or 33 calendar years. Four years after Herod died.

If you take it "figuratively" you can round down to his birth at AD 4 and crucified at age 36.

AD 7 is a bit of a stretch figuratively for his ministry starting in AD 30. His age at crucifixion would have been either 39 or 40.

AD 1 Jesus was 32 or 33 when crucified in AD 32 or 33, that's the Christian tradition, but four years after Herod's death. 

AD 4 is viable, "About" could be rounded down to age 28 and crucifixion at age 31 0r 32. 

AD 7 would makes him 39 or 40.

I have a problem with AD 4 being the year of his birth. That's when Herod died. He ordered the slaughter of boys in Bethlehem from two years and under. Maybe he was playing it safe, but it points that Jesus wasn't in the cradle when Herod died.

The wise men found him in a house, and he's referred to as a child not a babe or baby.

Matthew 1:10-12. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. 11 And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. 12 And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.

AD 4 is too early and that only leaves AD 7.

Now let's do the math.

Jesus is born in 7 BC, his family flees to Egypt before Herod can kill him. Herod dies in 4 BC and the family returns to Nazareth.

He starts his ministry at age 30 in AD 23. He's crucified in AD 32 or making him 39 or 40.

Jesus's ministry is divided in two parts. His beginning ministry and his public ministry.

Is this biblical? No, but it is logical without having to defy historical facts and a timeline. All the pieces of the puzzle of the life of Jesus fits.

1. AD 23-30: He didn't just out of the blue start calling disciples. He had to build a reputation as a noted rabbi. For seven years he taught in the synagogues making a name for himself and impressing on the people in Judea and Galilee his knowledge. He planted the seeds.

2. AD 30-32 or 33: 

A) He dedicates his public ministry by going into the wilderness and fasting for 40 days. He's tempted by Satan, resists and then is nourished back to health by the Archangel Michael. 

B) He's baptized by John the Baptizer. From here he gathers his disciples and for three years has his public ministry. Five thousand people didn't flock to hear him out of the blue. He had a reputation of a teacher they wanted to hear.

c). He's crucified, rises from the grave after three days, shows himself for a time and then ascends to heaven.

Conclusion: Jesus was 40 when he was crucified. The number of completion in the Bible.

Thursday, April 13, 2023

Friday Book Review: The True History of the Revolutionary War Part III


Last week I posted concerning passion week delaying the last installment on this book.

The True History of the Revolutionary War Part III

 For the first three years (1775-1777) of the war General Sir William Howe fought under the orders of “Use the Sword and Olive Branch.” This explains his toying with Washington like a cat with a mouse.

He’d get Washington in a bind like Brookline Heights and Harlem Heights, then let him go. He herded him through New Jersey into Pennsylvania, but never threw used his superior numbers to overwhelm him, which he could have easily done. At any time when Washington was hold up in Valley Forge, he could have squashed him like a bug. He didn’t. He left Burgoyne to fight his way down New York on his own, which resulted in the loss at Saratoga. Howe’s only miscalculation was Burgoyne bungling his march so badly he had to surrender. It’s only my conjecture, but he most likely thought Burgoyne would get roughed up on his march to New York City and lick his wounds. At this point Britain might have reconsidered the cost of the rebellion and given America its independence.

Saratoga changed the dynamic. France and Spain signed an alliance with the colonies and declared war on England. Admiral Sir Richard Howe sailed to Gibraltar to life a siege of England’s most valuable asset. England could no longer afford the Hessian mercenaries and a large army on the continent. Fighting took place between the nations in the Caribbean, Africa, India, and the Spice Islands (Indonesia).

General Howe was relieved, and he went home a very much richer man than he arrived. Graft and Corruption by officers and Quartermaster’s was rampant.

General Sir Henry Clinton replaced Howe and his orders dropped the condition of using the olive branch. He was to put the colonies to the sword.

Parliament did offer the olive branch by offering the colonies independence of a sort by allying itself with England for protection. The plan the Colonial Congress first offered to Parliament before the Declaration of Independence. It was too late for compromise after so much blood had been shed.

A French fleet landed four thousand men at Newport, Rhode Island which were bottled up by the a few British ships for years.

To punish New York for the loss at Saratoga Clinton’s sword was unleashed in Wyoming Valley where all settlements were massacred by soldiers and their Iroquois allies. They invaded the neighboring county and did the same. England had a habit of withdrawing and leaving their native allies vulnerable to colonial retribution and the Iroquois Nations were destroyed. This is one of those dirty laundry parts of history left out in middle school and high school textbooks. It’s barely mentioned in U.S. or American history college texts.

The British raided coastal cities burning and pillaging as they went, killing all prisoners. They called it bayonets only.

The next phase of the war went to the south. Here was the real mistake and how the British lost the war. This part of the colonies comprised most of the loyalists. Colonel Campbell took Charleston while General Prevost drove up from Florida to Charleston. He decimated South Carolina leaving a thousand slaves to starve to death. From this time on they gathered the slaves and resold them to the Caribbean colonies.

This inflamed the loyalists and those that up to this time stayed out of the fight. A colonel Buford marched to Charleston to try and aide the city, but turned around when he heard it had fallen. A British Colonel Tarleton caught up with Buford and wiped the force out to a man. From this point on when the rebels won a battle, and the British raised the white flag of quarter the rebels responded by saying “Tarleton’s quarter.”

The actions of the British could be compared to Sherman’s march to the sea. Maybe this is where Grant and Sherman came up with the idea.

 Cornwallis was placed in charge of South Carolina, and he decided to invade North Carolina. If you get a map and look at which colony had the most battles fought on its soil, it is North Carolina.

Cornwallis started his first invasion with a large baggage train causing him to advance slowly. He was defeated by the hit and run tactics of rebels in the swamps and had to turn back, losing most of his baggage train. This was working until Congress sent General Gates to take command and he stupidly decided on a frontal attack. (Not in the book, but when the bullets started flying it was reported Gates rode north and didn’t stop till he passed three states. So much for the Gates being the hero of Saratoga.) The army he left behind was killed to the last man.

This was the lowest point of the war, not even Valley Forge demoralized the rebels as the scourging of South Carolina, Georgia, and North Carolina. The French and Spanish were rethinking the alliance. Holland joined the alliance but was quickly bottled up in their ports by the British Navy and they lost Cape Town. They really got the short end of the stick. Then Benedict Arnold turned traitor. Washington only by the skin of his teeth kept West Point from being handed over to the British by the hero of Saratoga.

(Arnold was given command of part of North Carolina, he asked the rebel traitors what they would do if he was in their hands, they responded, “We’d take your good leg and bury it at Saratoga in your honor and hang the rest of you.” Could be apocryphal).

Cornwallis brought the war out of the ashes to the rebel’s victory. He invaded North Carolina again without a baggage train. They would live off the land. The problem was that his first invasion devastated the first part of the march. The further he marched up North Carolina Rebel General Nathaniel Greene moved into South Carolina and cut his retreat. He was defeated at King’s Mountain and Cowpens without a way back to Charleston leaving him to press on to the north expecting the British Navy to rescue him when he reached the Chesapeake River.

Here is where Fisher praises Washington for being a master strategist. He gathered his men to march on New York. They were little better clothed and fed than the army at Valley Forge. The British fleet was recalled from the Caribbean to New York. Rochambeau was finally able to leave Newport and march to Washington’s aide. When they joined up, they pivoted from New York to Yorktown. The French navy followed the British and blocked the Chesapeake bay keeping the British navy from giving Cornwallis relief.

With Cornwallis’s surrender hostilities mostly settled down. New York and Charleston were still in British hands, but the rest of the colonies were under rebel control. Many of the loyalists or Tories fled to either Nova Scotia or the Bahamas.

It was two years before the treaty was signed and another year before the British left New York and Charleston.


Final insight: Fisher contended that a British victory would be hollow. That the rebels had a plan B so to speak. They would move to the west of the Allegheny mountains and form a new country there. Much like the Boers of South Africa tried to do a hundred years later.

He also contended that the revolutionary spirit would not die out and that the British would have to maintain a strong military presence to keep the peace. He likened it to 700 years of occupation of Ireland with no peace in sight. He wrote this in the late 1800’s and for Northern Ireland it is still true today.






Tuesday, April 11, 2023

WC: 041223: Remedy for the Common Cold.


Today's challenge is: My best home remedy for the Common Cold.

I used to get the cold about three times a season. My remedy then was to fight it. It usually started the day before I had a monthly golf tournament. I'd get up, bundle up in thermal underwear, sweater, warm socks, hoodie and large leather jacket with winter golf gloves.

I loved golfing in the winter. The ground was solid as a rock and my drives would double as they rolled forever.

We rode carts and there would be a Coleman heater in the cup holder with clear plastic covering over the outside of the cart with plastic doors. We'd do 18 holes with minimal time in the cold and wind.

The rest of the week I'd stay in bed, took Tylenol, Dayquil and Nyquil. Ate Chicken Noodle soup, toast and tea for breakfast and weathered it.

I no longer golf, but since I've started using a C-pap machine I haven't had a cold in eight years. I get seasonal allergies, but so far (knock on wood), no flu, colds or Covid.

Saturday, April 08, 2023

Passion Week: Day 8

 Day 8, Mary Magdelene and other women go to the tomb to finish the burial procedure and find it empty. The guards fled as the stone rolled away. Mary Magdelene meets Jesus who calms her. She tells Peter, Peter goes inside to see the unwrapped linen strips and folded cloth that was on his head.

I used day by number so as not to confuse the reader.

Day 1 is Palm Sunday, and so on. 

Day 4 should be Good Wednesday.

Days 5, 6, and 7 Jesus is in the tomb. Three full days.

If Jesus was crucified on Friday, he's only in the tomb a day and a half.

Matthew 12: 38-41

38 Then some of the teachers of the Law and the proud religious law-keepers said to Jesus, “Teacher, we would like to have you do something special for us to see.” 39 He said to them, “The sinful people of this day look for something special to see. There will be nothing special to see but the powerful works of the early preacher Jonah. 40 Jonah was three days and three nights in the stomach of a big fish. The Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the grave also. 41 The men of the city of Nineveh will stand up with the people of this day on the day men stand before God. Those men will say these people are guilty because the men of Nineveh were sorry for their sins and turned from them when Jonah preached. And see, Someone greater than Jonah is here!

The sign Jesus gave to scribes and pharisees was being in the tomb three full days, not a part of Friday, Saturday and part of Sunday.

Three full days is also proof he was dead and not in a coma.

The other part of the prophesy is that these scribes and pharisees would reject his "something special" and then salvation would be open to the gentiles metaphorically "Nineveh."   

Friday, April 07, 2023

Friday Book Review: All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten

 This was one of those flash in the pan pop culture phenomenon books. Today I'd say it was a book compilation of blog posts. Various essays on whatever crossed Robert Fulghum's mind.

The book is available in softcover, hardcover and audiobook formats. He's never converted it to e-book.

There is one essay that has always stayed in my mind over the years. He starts off with a diatribe against the Russians, ending with the phrase, "They're not like us."

Then he tells the story of a Russian soldier in Angola. The rebel faction attacked their compound, and he was captured. He was captured because he refused to leave the dead body of his wife.

Here Fulghum waxes eloquent about him being just a man, in love with just a woman and nothing else mattered.

He ends the essay with the opening diatribe with the ending "They're not like us." Then adds the word, "Sure."

Just thinking about the essay while writing about it brings tears to my eyes.

Passion Week Day 6 & 7

 Day five, Jesus is crucified and placed in a tomb.

Day 6 and 7 the people go about their daily lives. They prepare for the coming Sabbath and observe the Sabbath.

The disciples are in shock. Peter is full of guilt for having denied Jesus three times. The others are confused and wonder "What now?"

Judas is overwhelmed by what he did. He expected Jesus to call on his followers and lead a revolution. He gives the money back to the temple and commits suicide.

The high priest can't put blood money back into the treasury. The temple buys a plot of land and the profit from the land will go into the treasury. Somehow, I don't think that absolves them from the problem of blood money. 

Thursday, April 06, 2023

Passion Week: Day 5

 Recap: Day 1, Triumphal entry into Jerusalem.

Day 2, A Day of rest or Jesus cleanses the temple.

Day 3, Jesus cleanses the temple or a day of preparation.

Day 4, Nighttime disciples share a meal and Lord's Supper afterwards. In garden of Gethsemane Jesus prays, is arrested then taken to the Sanhedrin, tried and condemned. 

Daytime brought before Pilate and crucified. Jesus is dead by the coming of sundown and the thieves crucified with him have their legs broken to hasten death. Jesus is taken down and laid in a tomb. The temple posts guards to keep the disciples from stealing the body. His body is hastily prepared by wrapping it in strips of linen with a cloth wrapped around his head.

His tomb is a cave that is covered by a large round stone that is rolled over the entrance. The practice at this time is that the body is left to return to dust for a year. At the end of the year, the tomb is unsealed, and the bones are gathered together and placed into a clay pot. The tomb is then reused. Archeologists have uncovered a number of these clay pots dating from this time period.  

The practice of covering a dead body with a shroud isn't in use until the Middle Ages. The Shroud of Turin is a fake.

Day 5. Sundown begins the Passover Sabbath Jesus is in the tomb. There are two Sabboths this week.

Under Talmudic law the day before the Sabbath is when all work must be done for two days as the Sabbath is a day of rest. 

Women are to clean clothes, bed linens and the house, prepare meals for two days, the fireplace is not allowed to go out as you can't start a fire on the day of rest. 

Men are to do two days of work, watering and feeding animals, working in the fields, or any other employment. They prepare the house by putting blood above the lintel of the house. It is required of men before sundown to do their duty to their wives and must satisfy them. 

At sundown the start of Sabbath is when the Passover meal is eaten. They sleep, upon daylight they eat their previously prepared meals and rest. There is a list of exceptions to this condition. In wartime they can fight. If one of their animals is delivering a baby, they can assist. They are limited to the number of steps they can take that day, but it allows for keeping an eye on the flock or fields.

Because of the Sabbath, the body of Jesus is hastily prepared. The women will come to finish preparation later.


Wednesday, April 05, 2023

Passion Week: Daylight day 4.


For Wednesday Challenge, I'm posting on Passion Week today,

Day four of passion week started at nighttime with the arrest and trial of Jesus by the Sanhedrin. Daylight on day four is the high priest asking for the execution of Jesus, and his crucifixion.

As mentioned on last post Pontius Pilate as governor was the only one that could allow capital punishment. Pilate was in a delicate situation, but at the same time refused to order the death of Jesus.

1. He questions Jesus and finds the charges against him as not punishable under Roman law. He's charged with sedition or inciting a revolt against Rome by proclaiming himself as king. Under questioning Jesus tell him that his kingdom is not physical, but spiritual.

 2. Pilate learning Jesus if from Galilee sends him to Herod, who rules that area, but after Jesus refuses to perform a miracle sends him back.

3. Pilate tries to appease the mob by giving them a choice between a man charged with murder, Barabbas or Jesus. The crowd demands Jesus. 

4. Pilate has Jesus beaten, humiliated and scourged, then brought out for the mob to see. It's not enough they demand he be crucified. They threaten Pilate by saying if he doesn't kill Jesus "he is no friend of Caesar." Remember Pilate has been chastened twice by the Jews and he took this threat seriously. If they sent a delegation to the emperor, he would be removed from power and most likely killed himself.

Matthew 27:24 When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!”

I've heard preachers scoff at this display and still blame the Romans for the death of Jesus. Pilate was absolving himself and Rome by this display. It was a legal matter, if anyone complained to Rome about the death of Jesus Pilate had witnesses that he was not responsible. He was in other words covering his ass and Rome on the matter.

Jesus is then taken out and crucified. I won't go into great detail about this. The good description of what happens to a Jesus crucifixion is told well by Steve Long. It is very insightful. 

A thought on the men crucified with Jesus. It say's something about the number of criminals crucified by Rome. There were only three men scheduled for execution. When death was used widely for punishment that seems a very small number. Rome didn't believe in permanent incarceration. They had a jail for holding before trial, but after conviction punishment was meted out right away, a fine, flogging or execution. No prisons, that costs money. Crucifixion was reserved for attacks on Rome's authority. Rebellion mostly.

The scourging of Jesus was Pilate giving him mercy. A person could linger for days on the cross. Jesus was dead within hours. The two crucified with him had their legs broken so they would suffocate as it was the day before the Sabbath. The reason was stated in Matthew that it was the day before Passover. Passover was considered a Sabbath. Day five was a Sabbath. There were two Sabboths that week.  

Tuesday, April 04, 2023

Passion Week: Day 3 and Night day 4

 Recap, day one was Christ's triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Day two Jesus cleansed the temple.

Day three is preparation. Jesus prepares for his disciples final meal and the Sanhedrin plans to arrest Jesus and try him for blasphemy.   

Day four: Lord's supper, prayer, arrest and trial

As nighttime descended Jesus and the disciples met, Jesus washes all of their feet, Peter even objects to his master descending to something so lowly. He missed the point of a concrete example of what our Lord expects of all His followers; they are to serve, not command others around them.

The share a meal, Jesus creates a ritual, we now refer to as the Lord's Supper. He takes bread, breaks it and explains the metaphor of it representing His body, then takes wine and does the same with the similarity of wine to His blood.

Judas has already met with the priests and agreed to betray Jesus accepting their bribe of 30 pieces of silver. 

The group, minus Judas, go to the garden of Gethsemane, where he repeatedly prays while the disciples are to keep watch. He comes back three times to catch them sleeping. Knowing what is asked of him he wrestles with the decision asking that "This cup pass of from me." He accepts his fate.

Judas arrives with the temple guard, the signal of identifying Jesus to the soldiers is a kiss. Jesus is arrested and all of his followers flee. Peter is the lone disciple to follow, but he keeps his distance.

The Sanhedrin meets in secret to try Jesus on blasphemy charges. It's held at night and is in secret against Jewish law. He is judged guilty of blasphemy and sentenced to death.

Political Situation

There's a problem with carrying out this sentence. Judea is a province of Rome. Rome allows all provinces to judge their people according to their laws and apply penalties except the death penalty. Execution has to be approved by the local Roman magistrate. In this case it is the governor of Judea, a man named Pontius Pilate.

Pilate normally stays in Caesaria on the coast, but during Passover, the population of Jerusalem reaches close to a million people crowded around a city only two miles square within its walls. It's a volatile situation and Pilate has to be present with an enlarged garrison in case problems arise.

In Rome, the emperor, was Tiberias. He was secluded on the Island of Capri living in total debauchery. The actual running of the empire was in the hands of the prefect of Rome, a man named Sejanus. As commander of the Praetorian Guard, he ruled in the emperor's name and had the means to enforce it. He appointed the governors of many of the provinces. Pontius Pilate was one of his appointees.

Pilate ran into difficulties upon assuming his role as governor. He tried to march his troops into Jerusalem while carrying their eagle standards. Jewish leaders met him outside the city's walls demanding they not take graven images into their holy city. He ordered them out of his way, and they all kneeled baring their necks as they would rather die than see God's city defiled.

Pilate was savvy enough not to kill the high priest and the other leaders. He wasn't happy, but he relented. 

In the governor's palace, a part of the Herodium, the castle on the western side of Jerusalem built by Herod the Great, Pilate wanted to decorate the walls of the reception room with unadorned silver shields. The high priest objected again, saying it was part of Roman religion and not allowed. He installed them anyway. The high priest appealed to Rome and Sejanus ordered him to remove them and not bother him with trivial matters like this again.

Pilate wasn't happy, but he would do as told and feared angering Sejanus.

Sejanus overreached in his power. He murdered the husband of the emperor's niece and asked permission to marry her. This placed him within the emperor's family and most likely his successor. 

Tiberias while in the grips of hedonism knew enough to not let Sejanus become his heir, as he would most likely be assassinated. Sejanus was arrested, tried and executed. 

This placed Pilate in a delicate situation. Macro, the replacement for Sejanus was now prefect of Rome looking for any reason to replace him and put a handpicked man in his place.

Tomorrow I'll cover the tribunal before Pilate and the crucifixion.


Monday, April 03, 2023

Passions Week: First Day and Second Day

 This week I'm posting each day of Passion Week. Today is first day and second day.

Day One:

During the life of Jesus, the Jewish day was from sundown to sundown. Instead of using the names of our days, which were not in use at the time and will only confuse the chronology I'm using the number of the day and Sabath. I refer that sundown to sunrise as dark, and sunrise to sunset as light.

The light part of the day of first day.

The significance of the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem and being greeted by his followers with palm leaves was that it marked the beginning of his sacrifice for our sins. He rode a donkey with a colt. The donkey as a king who comes in peace. The significance of the colt is that it proved the donkey was female, as the colt was most likely suckling while he was riding the mother. This is a metaphor concerning Christ that believers are the Bride of Christ. Maybe a bit of a stretch, it might have no significance at all, but then why is it mentioned? 

After Jesus and the disciples enter into Jerusalem, the crowd disperses and Jesus with his disciples set up either lodging or camp. No mention is made of his doing any teaching.

It is possible that this peaceful entry and the dispersal of the crowd turned Judas against Jesus. He was looking or a conquering messiah and Jesus let him down. 

Day Two:

Dark day two. Jesus by the lack of specifics most likely rested. It would be the only sleep he would get.

Light day two. Jesus cleanses the temple with a whip.

 Matthew 21:12-13 - Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves.  13 "It is written," he said to them, "'My house will be called a house of prayer,' but you are making it a 'den of robbers.'"

The book of John has Jesus cleansing the temple at the beginning of his ministry: 

And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers' money, and overthrew the tables; And said unto them that sold doves, "Take these things hence; make not my Father's house an house of merchandise."

Jesus cleanses the temple twice, once at the beginning of his ministry which got the religious leaders angry, and they try to find cause to silence him. The last time provokes a reaction on the part of the priests and pharisees. They seek to kill him.

Why does Jesus attack the temple and priests?

1. The temple only takes it doesn't give anything back. In the book of John, they're selling the animals for sacrifice at inflated prices and making those buying them change the currency they have, into temple currency at an inflated exchange rate. They're gouging the people.
2. The temple is supposed to be the storehouse for the people. It takes animal offerings and then sells the meat and the blood. It takes the grain offerings and bakes Shew Bread. Then after a few days sells the bread at market.
3. The temple never gives any of the money or food back in time of famine. It's intended purpose, why it is referred to as a storehouse.

Josephus recorded that during the reign of Herod the Great a wealthy woman in Babylon collected the tithe of all Jews in the area, formed a caravan and traveled to the temple. Upon delivering the tithe, most likely a very large sum, she found Judea to be having a famine and the people were starving. She traveled to Egypt and with her own money brought back grain and gave it to the people for free. 
That is what the temple was supposed to do, but instead, they hoarded the wealth and let God's people starve.

The temple was destroyed twice and looted four times. Babylon destroyed the first temple and took all the wealth that was accumulated.
 Antiochus Epiphanes looted the temple and slaughtered a pig in the holy of holies. 
Pompey the Great looted the temple even entering the holy of holies and stealing the golden mercy seat.
Rome destroyed it for good and Vespasian used the money and slaves to build the Triumphal Arch, the Flavian Ampitheater, the imperial palace and other lavish works with temple money. 
 All the hoarding by the priests did was make it a target for looters.

The temple was intended by God to be a place of worship, prayer and to unite the Jewish people. As Jesus said, "it was a den of thieves."

Under Mosaic and Levitical law, a person got forgiveness from sin by paying for it with either an animal sacrifice or grain offering.

The ultimate sacrifice of Jesus is salvation from sin, and it is free. It is a gift from God for those who receive it. There is no need for a temple. As the Apostle Paul said, we are the temple of God.