This Sunday, people from all over the world will pour into churches to celebrate the resurrection of Christ, a.k.a. Easter (or Resurrection Sunday). This christian holiday draws even the unbelieving and wayward person. “I’m going just to make my Gran happy.” People who haven’t darkened the threshold of a church since- uh- last Resurrection Sunday will be there. It’s a family outing of sorts, where men –if only for one day– match the women in attendance numbers. Every celebration service promises jam-packed pews adorned with pastel dresses and seersucker suits.
Some churches will go all out. Lots of singing and dancing. A performance by the children’s ministry. Some churches may add a little drama, like the reenactment of the crucifixion and resurrection. This – to usher you into a spirit of reverence and set the tone for the preacher to address his/her toughest crowd for the year.
But this Resurrection Sunday is a really BIG deal. Evangelicals who are eager to connect with their Judaic roots of the faith are on high alert. They’re giddy with anticipation. Anticipation of what, you ask? The convergence of signs, miracles and wonders with Hebraic traditions and calendar events. Spend a few hours surfing christian television and you may leave thinking the Rapture is scheduled for any time after Easter dinner.
This is what’s happening.
PASSOVER, the seven-day holiday celebration that commemorates the Jews exodus out of Egypt begins on Good Friday. Ironic?
BLOOD MOON TETRAD OF 2014-2015. A Blood Moon Tetrad is when four consecutive total lunar eclipses all fall on Jewish High Holy Days. The third of four blood moons will appear – wait for it- on/during Passover, April 4, 2015. Rabbis teach that blood moons (lunar eclipses) are signs used by God to indicate judgment of the nation of Israel. Similarly, solar eclipses, like the one we had on March 20, 2015, indicate God’s judgment on the nations of the world.
Stay with me.
SHEMITAH YEAR (SEPTEMBER 25, 2014- SEPTEMBER 13, 2015). Also known as the Sabbath Year or the “Lord’s Release” (Deuteronomy. 15:1-2), the Shemitah year occurs every seven years and brings with it release, freedom and debt cancellation. The Blood Moon Tetrad coincides with the beginning of the Shemitah … and the “Jubilee Year”.
JUBILEE YEAR (every 50 years) comes after seven sabbatical cycles of seven years. It’s like a mega-Shemitah, promising liberation, restoration, and the redemption of possessions lost and the return of the dispossessed. Drum roll, please. You guessed it- Jubilee converges with the fourth blood moon.
Last, but certainly not least.
THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST, the giver of life and the lover of my soul. A few have said they would die for me, but only one actually did.
It’s easy to miss the significance of Resurrection Sunday amidst new Easter outfits, chocolate bunnies and hard boiled eggs disguised as treats. I fear that the preoccupation with looking for a sign in the next blood moon will further distract us from looking to Jesus.
I LOVE full moons. And this one comes in colors! I love them so much, I wrote a post about it. I don’t deny the significance of the convergence of these events. I’m curious, too, of what signs, miracles and wonders are to follow. And who doesn’t want their debts cancelled? No protest here.
If we could embrace that we are the miracle, I wonder if we would still flock to the open meadows for a glimpse of a blushing moon. Signs and wonders happen everyday. They happen around us and to us, but we dismiss them as luck, coincidence, a fluke, or simply imagined.
Which miracle are you?
- You’ve been unemployed for 18 months and yet you never missed a meal. That’s a miracle.
- Your child died. The grief should have killed you, but it didn’t. That’s a miracle.
- You’re driving and a child appears seemingly out of no where. You slam the brakes and no one is hurt. No harm- No foul. Truth is, you never hit the brakes. That’s a miracle.
- By comparison, you’re under-qualified for a job, but it’s given to you. The employer says there’s something about you he’s willing to bet on. That’s a miracle.
- You go to court for reckless driving and the cop that gave you the ticket steps out of the courtroom right before your case is called. Because he’s “absent” (wink) when called, the case is dismissed. He walks back into the courtroom as you walk out. He smiles and wishes you a good day. That cop was my miracle.
Jesus is my Perpetual Jubilee, my Mega-Shemitah. I don’t want Him to be lost between pink eggs and red moons.
Permit me to share a story–
Now Judas, who betrayed him, knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples. So Judas came to the garden, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and the Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons. Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?”
“Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied.
“I am he,” Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.) When Jesus said, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground.
Again he asked them, “Who is it you want?”
(John 18: 2-7)
“I am” was not Jesus’ way of distinguishing Himself from His disciples. It was His name.
God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.'” (Exodus 3:14 NIV)
For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11)
As Jesus was being arrested, His divinity was still at work. In that garden, surrounded by men with clubs and torches, the very mention of His name caused them to “draw back” and fall to their knees.
What do you need Jesus to “draw back” in your life?
But that’s not the story, just the setup.
A young man, wearing nothing but a linen garment, was following Jesus. When they seized him, he fled naked, leaving his garment behind. (Mark 14:51-52)
The Book of Mark does not give the young man a name. He is not referred to as a disciple, yet he is “following” Jesus. He’s naked. The Bible does not mention anything about “clothing optional” at the Last Supper. So why is this half-dressed young man following Jesus? And why does he run from the guards?
DID YOU KNOW? The Garden of Gethsemane (where Jesus was arrested) is located on the lower slope of the Mount of Olives. Along the slope of this mount is the oldest continually used cemetery in the world, with graves dating back four thousand years. Because of the panoramic view overlooking Jerusalem, burials on the Mount of Olives was typically reserved for the wealthy.
Wouldn’t you want to know more about the person who saved you? Who gave you a second chance at life? A millionth chance?
I reason that the young man had died, and the linen garment was his burial clothes. And at the very mention of Jesus name, the young man was resurrected. Stay with me. I think he was following out of fearful curiosity. He was dead and now he’s alive. He was having a “what the world just happened” moment.
Belonging to an affluent family, his death was probably widely known and mourned, as it was the custom to hire mourners for funerals. To see him standing there- alive and breathing- would have created more mess for the Pharisees. I suspect the guards grabbed the young man to silence his testimony. But he got away, and that’s where the story of the young man ends.
Or does it?
The beautiful mystery of Jesus’ death and resurrection is His power and willingness to resurrect the dead things in our lives.
What do you need Jesus to resurrect in your life? What dreams do you want Him to breathe on? What can He heal for you? Save for you? What signs, miracles and wonders do you want to see in your life?
JESUS IS YOUR JUBILEE.
At the very mention of His name, fear has to draw back and bow. Darkness has to draw back and bow. Loneliness has draw back and bow. Insecurity has to draw back and bow. Sickness and Death has to draw back and bow. At the very mention of His name.
Will you mention Him to your problem?
This Resurrection Sunday, when everyone is gazing upon the blood moon, purpose to remember the One who hung the moon; the One who hung and died. And in His power and authority, reversed death so that we might live with Him.
YOUR TURN. How do you plan to keep Jesus at the center of this year’s Resurrection Celebration? Share your ideas with me in the comment section below.
Have three more minutes? This video aptly captures who Jesus is. “That’s My King” by the late Dr. S.M. Lockridge. Enjoy!
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