I won’t repeat all the key points of the story that were covered in the previous book.
During the days of Herod, the King of Judea, there lived a priest named Zacharias and his wife Elizabeth. They had no children.
Zacharias said she was barren but I’ll bet ol’ Zach was shooting blanks.
The angel Gabriel appeared before Zacharias and said that Elizabeth was pregnant. Gabriel said the boy will be named John, will be a drunk, be filled with the Holy Spirit, and will win souls for the LORD.
John did not have free will.
Zacharias was skeptical. He and Elizabeth were old. How could she be pregnant? Miffed, Gabriel told Zacharias that since he did not believe him he will be stricken dumb and will not speak again until after John is born.
Elizabeth went into hiding for six months.
Gabriel appeared before the virgin Mary (Why was she married and still a virgin? Who wore the pants in that family? Joseph of course, but he never took them off) who was married to Joseph of the house of David. Gabriel told Mary that she would conceive Jesus, the Son of God.
The Holy Ghost had its way with her.
Mary visited Elizabeth. John did a somersault in his mother’s womb. Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost. Mary stayed with Elizabeth for three months then went home.
Since genital mutilation was all the rage back then, John got circumcised after he was born.
Caesar Augustus decided to tax the world. Joseph and Mary went to Bethlehem where Jesus was born.
An angel appeared before some shepherds in a field. The angel told them to abandon their flock and go to Bethlehem to see the baby Jesus.
Eight days later Jesus was circumcised.
Flash forward: When Jesus was twelve his parent’s took him to Jerusalem for Passover. On their return trip home Mon and Dad noticed that Jesus was missing. Three days later they found Jesus chatting with doctors in a temple.
Meanwhile, John the Baptist was asked if he was the Christ. John admitted that he wasn’t the Christ because he baptized people with water. The real Christ baptized people with the Holy Ghost and fire.
Herod put John the Baptist in prison for badmouthing him.
In this book we are not told who baptized Jesus. The Holy Ghost descends in the guise of a dove and a voice comes down from heaven saying, “Thou art my beloved Son, in this I am well pleased.”
Jesus was thirty years old and he still hadn’t seen his father.
Jesus was filled with the Holy Ghost and the Spirit led him into the wilderness for forty days where he tempted by the devil.
After his camping trip Jesus returned to Nazareth. He preached, healed the sick, and casted out demons. He gave his disciples the power and authority over all demons and they could heal the sick.
It is precisely these abilities that separated Jesus from the rest of humanity, yet he gives twelve men the same powers.
King Herod is still convinced that John has risen from the dead. Jesus feeds five thousand men with five fish and two loaves of bread.
Jesus asked his disciples what the people were saying about him. Some said he was John the Baptist, others were saying he was Elias. Jesus asked his disciples who they thought he was – Sheesh, he just gave them the power to heal the sick and cast out demons. I think they know who he is. – They said he was Christ of God. Jesus swore them to secrecy. While they were all healing the sick and casting out demons they must never tell anyone that Jesus is the Christ because “The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, be raised on the third day.”
It seems to be that if you know you must die to save humanity you would want your disciples to tell everyone who you were so you could be rejected. Why keep it a secret? Maybe Jesus was secretly hoping that one of the disciples, as they healed the sick and casted out demons, would be accused of being the Christ of God and die in his stead.
Here comes my favorite line in the Bible: But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God.”
“Then Satan entered into Judas, surnamed Iscariot, being a number of the twelve. And he went his way, and communed with the chief priests…”
Wow! It seems to me that Satan should have inspired Judas to NOT betray Jesus. What would Satan gain by helping to fulfill prophecy? Wouldn’t it be better for Satan to NOT have Jesus die and redeem humanity?
Judas kissed Jesus. Jesus said: “Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?”
Fast Forward: Pontius Pilate can find no “fault in this man.” – Here comes a new wrinkle in the tale – When Pilate learns that Jesus comes from Galilee he sends him to King Herod who happens to be in Jerusalem. King Herod smiled when he saw Jesus because now he would have an opportunity to see Jesus perform a miracle. Jesus did nothing. King Herod dressed Jesus in a “gorgeous robe” and sent him back to Pontius Pilate.
Pilate had decided to release Jesus. The elders, chief priests, and scribes said they wanted Barabbas, a man convicted for sedition and Murder, released. Pilate said no. The crowd said “Crucify him.” Pilate said no. The crowd went crazy and demanded that Barabbas be released.
Jesus was crucified. “Then Jesus said, forgive them for they know not what they do.”
Huh? Prophecy is being fulfilled. No one needs to be forgiven. God sent his only son to Earth to die on the cross. Now, if the crowd had a change of heart and did not demand Jesus’ death then it would make more sense for Jesus to ask God to forgive them.
Jesus appeared before the eleven disciples shortly after he was resurrected. They were afraid of him. They thought he was a ghost. Jesus insisted that they all touch him. He was flesh and blood. He ate some fish and honeycomb to prove that he was not a ghost.
Jesus said: “Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead on the third day.” The disciples walked with Jesus until they reached Bethany. Jesus blessed them and ascended into heaven.
On Sunday there are those who will celebrate the resurrection of their Messiah. I’m not convinced.