SCRIPTURES FULFILLED—TOMB IS EMPTY!

MODERN-DAY REPORTER SERIES

             Mary Magdalene Discovers Body Missing!  Jesus is risen!            

 

          Jerusalem, Judea; Sunday AM; Reporter–Bill Byrnes This morning-at sunrise, Mary Magdalene and another woman named Mary, arrived at the tomb housing the body of slain Rabbi Jesus of Nazareth, crucified on Friday for the crime of blasphemy. They carried sweet-smelling spices to anoint his body. They were shocked to see that the huge boulder blocking  the entrance to the tomb had been rolled away!

Two Roman soldiers, sent by Governor Pontius Pilate to protect the tomb, stood next to the opening. Both appeared to be in a near state of shock–unable to speak!

I was heading to the tomb this morning when I encountered the women–on the road to Galilee. They told me about a young stranger, inside the tomb. “This man had a countenance that shone as bright as any light.”, said Magdalene. As she relayed her story, I could see that the look of grief and shock I had observed on her Friday during the crucifixion was different. It was now a look of surprise mixed with some shock and something new–anticipation! She continued, “He said,  ‘Don’t be afraid. I know you are looking for Jesus. He is not here. He has risen from the dead–as he said he would. Come and see where his body was-then go quickly and tell his followers what has happened. Tell them Jesus is going into Galilee to see them.’ ”  With that, the women left and continued on their path to find Jesus’ disciples. I headed for the tomb.

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The huge stone had been rolled away!

After what had to be only a few minutes or so, I heard sudden joyful shouts, mixed with loud sobbing! I turned around, heading back to the path the women were taking-fearful that they were in trouble. I saw them, both in a position of worship–hands outstretched as if they were holding something–I saw nothing! When I got to them, I asked them what was wrong. Again, it was Mary Magdalene who replied– “Sir, you didn’t see him?” I asked who it was I should have seen? They looked at each other, smiled back at me, then turned and continued quickly on their path. The look of anticipation I had noticed moments earlier was gone. A sort of glowing happiness had replaced it. Even if my description isn’t accurate, one thing  is for sure:  looks of grief, shock and sadness had left their faces!

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When I arrived at the tomb, I saw no guards and no stranger. I  knew that the story would continue in Galilee.

As I am heading back to find the Disciples, I realize that there was no real story here. There comes a point where any reporter can lose his all-important “objectivity” when confronted by overwhelming facts. Well, I can no longer keep objectivity when confronted by this fact: everything has been FORETOLD and every prediction about the Messiah has been fulfilled! From here on…well…that is where the  real story begins!

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” Now is when the real story begins…”

Luke:24:5-6:  And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, “Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen…”

TERROR AT GOLGOTHA!

MODERN-DAY REPORTER SERIES  

Jesus Crucified– dies horrible death! Earth Trembles at His Passing!

Jerusalem, Judea; Golgotha; Friday, 7:00 p.m.; Reporter-Bill Byrnes   The young Rabbi who started a movement of peace, love and changing Mosaic Law, met a horrible end this afternoon. He died on the cross ending a six hour agonizing struggle. Hysterical followers, grief-stricken, sobbed, “No one should die like this. This man was the son of God–who performed many miraculous healings, and spoke of peace, love and God’s forgiveness!”

During the last few hours on the cross, darkness came over all of Jerusalem; when Jesus actually died…an earthquake hit the area, breaking open tombs and actually tearing the curtain in the Sanhedrin from top to bottom! A lone Centurion, guarding the crucifixion site was heard to exclaim , “Truly, this was God’s Son!”

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Despite this incredible, inhuman, 6-hour death, his ordeal began in the pre-dawn hours after his arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane. In a closed-door trial held by leaders of the Sanhedrin–Jesus was declared a “Blasphemer”–a crime that carries a death sentence!  Attendees at the trial, whose anonymity was guaranteed by this reporter, said that witnesses testifying against the man of peace all had stories that “lacked credibility” and conflicted with each other. None of that mattered to Caiaphas, the High Priest and his followers, all of whom declared the defendant: “Guilty!” It was further reported that while these proceedings were going on, Judas Iscariot– the disciple who betrayed Jesus– hung himself out of despair after seeing the result of his actions.  His suicide is not consistent with the notion that it was money alone that prompted his betrayal.

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“Guilty”!

                            Politics vs. the Conspiracy  

The early morning hours saw the assembly taking Jesus  to the Roman Governor, Pontius Pilate, for judgment. Pilate tried to pass responsibility back to the Jewish leaders, exhorting them to judge the accused according to their own laws…then execute him. In a masterful maneuver, the Jews replied that Roman law prevented them from executing death sentences. Not to be outdone, Pilate, after questioning Jesus, told the gathering that he found no basis for sentencing, and that he would refer the case to King Herod, who was in Jerusalem for the Passover Feast. King Herod, after questioning the accused, quickly sent him back to Pilate.

Pilate, flustered with that outcome, told the crowd that neither him, nor King Herod could find Jesus guilty. As a “half-way” measure, he decided to have the Rabbi whipped and released.

At this point, politics again reared its ugly head: the chief priests goaded the crowd into exercising a yearly privilege: at Passover, the Roman governor would free one prisoner chosen by the people. The crowd chose Barabbas, a murderer, to be freed. Pilate, in one last gesture to the crowd demanded, “What has this man done–what do you want me to do with him? The crowd shouted, “Crucify him!” Pilate again demanded, “Why?”. All he got was the same answer from the crowd–but even louder. The chief Roman, not wanting a riot to ensue, realized that he had no choice. He took a bowl of water and washed his hands in front of the crowd, saying, “I am not guilty of this man’s death. You are the ones causing it!”

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“You are the ones causing this!”

Roman soldiers led Jesus away for his execution. From all accounts, it was a horrible ordeal inflicted upon the young Nazarene including beatings, and public floggings that tore pieces of flesh from his back! After the Romans placed a crown of thorns on his head, he had to carry his cross thru the town to the execution site–“The Place of the Skull”; in Hebrew, called “Golgotha”, many know it by it’s Latin name – “Calvary”. At several points, Jesus stumbled under the heavy load. A man from Cyrene – Simon – stepped from the crowd to help with him carry it. Once at the site, the punishment went from massive to inhuman as bones were broken to fit the stocks on the cross. Then, rather than tying his limbs to the wooden members, huge spikes were used to actually nail his hands and feet into the wood.  A sign was fastened to the cross, above his head. On it were the initials, “INRI” , which stood for the Hebrew words meaning “Jesus-King of the Jews”. Observers say that just before his moment of death, Jesus called out to his God. Then, after a sponge soaked with vinegar was raised up to his mouth, he tasted it, then uttered his last words: “It is finished!” Time of death was approx. 6:00 p.m.. A final indignity: a Roman soldier pierced Jesus’ side with his lance to make sure he was dead!

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Simon of Cyrene helps the struggling rabbi

It was exactly at the time of death that earthquakes hit the entire town of Jerusalem. The massive curtain in the Sanhedrin, separating the most Holy place of the synagogue from  the other commonly used areas, was torn top to bottom. Graves were opened and people started reporting seeing loved ones raised from the dead — walking the streets! Though these reports have not been substantiated, this reporter can vouch for the validity of the other damage. “It was as if the Earth cried out to everyone in Jerusalem”,  shouted one of the witnesses, as he was running away wildly, changing his directions as his panic caused numerous indecisions.

There was no one left unaffected by these occurrences!

Reportedly, Joseph, of  Arimathaea, one of Jesus’ allies at the Sanhedrin, went Pontius Pilate  and secured the body for proper burial in his own, new gravesite. This  happened quickly, because today (Friday) is Preparation Day for any corpse. Jewish law prohibits any further preparations on the Sabbath day(Saturday).

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His body about to be removed 

Only one question remains: the eleven other disciples of Jesus- the men who were the constant companions to him & who were with him every moment till the betrayal at Gethsemane-have totally disappeared! There is no knowledge of their whereabouts. The only report surfacing amidst all the confusion was that a man, closely resembling Simon Peter, one of the most trusted of the Disciples was seen in the courtyard of Caiaphas’ house during the trial. After repeated questioning, the man fled, ranting hysterically, after the second crowing of a rooster.

But, all things considered, who can blame them for disappearing? It was as if they knew that there was nothing they could do–that all of the betrayal, suffering and agony of Jesus Christ–whom many say was the Son of God– was supposed to happen exactly as it did!

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“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”: John:3:16

BETRAYAL AT GETHSEMANE!

MODERN-DAY REPORTER SERIES

Man of Peace” taken at Sword-point in pre-dawn raid!

Jerusalem, Judea;  Early A.M.–Friday; Reporter – Bill Byrnes:  In the  pre-dawn hours, at this little garden-spot on the Mount of Olives, Jesus of Nazareth was taken into custody by a group of Temple guards, pressed into service by the religious leaders of the Sanhedrin. One of Jesus’ own followers, Judas Iscariot, singled out the young Rabbi to the arresting group. “This was necessary to prevent his escape in conditions without light” said one of the deputies.

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Confusion and high emotions almost took control…”

Confusion & high emotions almost took control, but it was Jesus himself who calmed the situation! Reportedly, some bloodshed occurred when one of Jesus’ followers drew his sword and struck one of the high priests’ guards , cutting off his ear! Rather than try to escape in the mayhem, the “man of peace” from Nazareth actually rebuked his followers shouting, “Put your sword in its place! All who live by the sword, shall perish by the sword!” Then, amazingly, he went to his injured opponent and healed the man’s ear with his bare hands! Sources present at the confrontation said that both sides were awestruck at this selfless act. Then the rabbi continued with his rebuke saying, “Surely you know  I could ask my Father in Heaven and he would give me more than twelve legions of angels to help! But it must happen this way to bring about what the Scriptures say!” The young man who was smitten, and healed, stood dumbfounded as his comrades left with their captor. As the group left the scene, Jesus’ disciples scattered and ran away.

It is not known where the betraying disciple, Judas, fled to.Eyewitnesses said  he left in a different direction–appearing to take a heading towards the Temple. At this point, speculation says that the betrayal was only for money since there were no other areas of dispute within the small group.

A guard, who prefers to stay anonymous, said that they were to take him to the house of Caiaphas, high priest of the Sanhedrin, where he would answer to charges of blasphemy– a crime punishable by death!

One big question remains: any execution must be performed by the Romans–and, before that, the Roman Governor must approve it. Speculation says Pontius Pilate, newly appointed Governor, wants to keep the different factions in this troubled land at peace–which means that he might approve! But first, Jesus must be found guilty by the leaders of the Sanhedrin. Every indication is that he will be. In Jerusalem, facts are never an issue. What the Sanhedrin wants–the Sanhedrin gets!

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GLORY-PALMS–THEN PAIN!

                        MODERN-DAY REPORTER SERIES:

 GLORY—PALMS—THEN PAIN?

Disciples of Jesus fear for his safety during closed-door meeting in Temple!  

Jerusalem, Judea; Tuessday, a.m.; Bill Byrnes-Reporter —    The question raging thru most peoples’ minds in Jerusalem is–“Where is the young Rabbi–Jesus of Nazareth”?  It was just on Sunday-this incredible young man enjoyed such a triumphant welcome into the city. While seated atop the colt of a donkey he rode into Jerusalem amidst huge numbers of followers who spread their coats and branches of palm leaves on the road in front of him shouting, “Praise God! God bless the one who comes in the name of the Lord.”  There are many who say the Nazarene is the long awaited  Messiah, a claim that’s difficult to deny considering his incredible record since he began his ministry within the last few years. The entire scene fulfills a scriptural prediction from, Zechariah:9:9: “…Shout  daughters of Jerusalem: behold thy king cometh unto thee: he is just and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt–the foal of an ass.”

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As if this wasn’t enough to rattle local synagogue leaders, Monday, upon visiting the Temple, Jesus jostled all of the merchants involved in buying and selling products–throwing them out! While turning over their tables and benches, he shouted, “Scriptures say,  ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer for all people.’ But you have changed God’s house into a house for robbers!”

Anonymous sources within the Sanhedrin confirm that there is already a plot against the life of this very controversial and extremely popular religious leader. Despite these warnings, Jesus is currently involved in discussions with some Pharisee and Sadducee Temple leaders to explain his conduct. His disciples fear for his safety!

Despite the main question of his safety, other important questions remain unanswered: What is Jesus’ itinerary for the upcoming Passover, and, where and with whom will he be having the first holiday meal: The Feast of the Unleavened Bread? Hopefully, his disciples, extremely tight-lipped lately, know the answer. If they don’t  know, they’d better find out quickly. Thursday (tomorrow), is the first day of Passover!

Also, this ominous note: if Jesus really is the heralded Messiah– he’d better be very careful. The Scriptures also predict a grisly end for him! It is indeed a time for glory… palms…and pain!

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