Resurrection: flash-forward (Part Four)

In our Easter-week series, we look at a rather unusual and often overlooked Good Friday event: three “flash-forwards” that point to what would happen on Easter Sunday. It’s best to begin from part one, on Monday.

Our third flash-forward at the death of Jesus is the reaction of those who witness the first two signs. Have a listen to their response:

27:54 When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, & exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”

‘How is this a flash-forward?’ you might ask. Is this a case of a preacher getting third-point-itis. Where the last point is always a bit of stretch to fit in with the pattern of the first two. (The first two started with the same letter, lets get the thesaurus out…)

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Resurrection: flash-forward (Part Three)

In our Easter-week series, we look at a rather unusual and often overlooked Good Friday event: three “flash-forwards” that point to what would happen on Easter Sunday. It’s best to begin from part one, on Monday.

The second flash-forward we see in the account of Jesus’ death is a mini-resurrection. One that points forward to the defeat of death itself. Read from verse 52:

Mt 27:52-53 The earth shook and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs[, and] after Jesus’ resurrection [and] they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.

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Resurrection: flash-forward (Part Two)

In our Easter-week series, we look at a rather unusual and often overlooked Good Friday event: three “flash-forwards” that point to what would happen on Easter Sunday. It’s best to begin from part one, yesterday.

The first little flash-forward we’re given is the torn temple-curtain. Pointing us to the fact that Jesus’ resurrection will bring us direct access to God. Let’s read from verse 50 again:

27:50-51 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.

The first preview, the first sign happens the instant Jesus dies. Miraculously – from top to bottom – the temple curtain is torn in two. What’s that all about?

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Resurrection: flash-forward (Part One)

In our Easter-week series, we look at a rather unusual and often overlooked Good Friday event.

One of my favourite TV shows is NCIS. If you haven’t seen it before, that stands for ‘Naval Criminal Investigation… Somethingorother.’ Clearly that’s not important for enjoying the show. But the reason I mention it this Easter week is one of it’s characteristic film-making techniques. As you come out of every ad break, the first thing you see is a one-second scene in black-and-white. It’s a very brief, flash-forward to the final scene before the next ad break. It gives you a little taste of where the next eight minutes or so of action is heading. So that when you get to that scene, your brain goes – oh, so that’s what that little snapshot was all about. (The producers call it the “foof,” named after the sound that accompanies it, made by the producer hitting a microphone with his hand.)

Now this technique on NCIS is pretty subtle. It took me half a season to realise that’s what was happening. But if you pay attention, you’ll see that our entire media culture is filled with flash-forwards. And often far more obvious ones.

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Matt 28:11-20

Today we conclude our reading notes through Matthew’s Passion narrative, looking at the Great Commission.

Matt 28:11-15

11 While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. 12 When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, 13 telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ 14 If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” 15 So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day.

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Matt 27:11-26

We continue our reading notes on Matthew’s Passion narrative, in the weeks leading up to Easter.

Today we look at the trial before Pilate, in which Matthew continues to emphasise the innocence of Jesus. Although it may seem Pilate is concerned with Jesus’ innocence, his delaying tactics are probably more about toying with the Jewish rulers to show who was really in charge. After all, Pilate had a reputation for being brutal and self-serving, and was quite hostile to the Jews early in his rule. He caused great offence when he attempted to set up a Roman standard within Jerusalem, when he tried use temple treasury money to fund aqueduct construction, and when he defiled the temple sacrifices by mixing human blood in with them (see Lk 13:1).

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