Sunday Sermon: Washington Meets Jezreel?

Jezebel Governance

Originally posted on CityStink
April 29, 2012
Augusta, GA
By Al Gray
The author, Al M. Gray is President of Cost Recovery Works, Inc., a provider of Cost Avoidance and Cost Recovery for America’s leading companies, businesses and governments desiring Superior Returns.
If one wants to read of government that went completely evil in the Bible, he only has to read in the books of Kings to find the pinnacle of corruption. Ahab bore the mantle of corruption but his queen, Jezebel, was its cruel face. Much was written about their wickedness, but the story of Naboth is one that is routinely and repeatedly spun by our own government run amok.
Let us turn to 1st Kings 21, verses 1-14 in the New American Standard Bible.
 1 Now it came about after these things that Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard which was in Jezreel beside the palace of Ahab king of Samaria. 2 Ahab spoke to Naboth, saying, “Give me your vineyard, that I may have it for a vegetable garden because it is close beside my house, and I will give you a better vineyard than it in its place; if [a]you like, I will give you the price of [b]it in money.” 3 But Naboth said to Ahab, “The LORD forbid me that I should give you the inheritance of my fathers.” 4 So Ahab came into his house sullen and vexed because of the word which Naboth the Jezreelite had spoken to him; for he said, “I will not give you the inheritance of my fathers.” And he lay down on his bed and turned away his face and ate no [c]food.
 5 But Jezebel his wife came to him and said to him, “How is it that your spirit is so sullen that you are not eating[d]food?” 6 So he said to her, “Because I spoke to Naboth the Jezreelite and said to him, ‘Give me your vineyard for money; or else, if it pleases you, I will give you a vineyard in its place.’ But he said, ‘I will not give you my vineyard.’”7 Jezebel his wife said to him, “Do you now [e]reign over Israel? Arise, eat bread, and let your heart be joyful; I will give you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.”
 8 So she wrote letters in Ahab’s name and sealed them with his seal, and sent letters to the elders and to the nobles who were living with Naboth in his city. 9 Now she wrote in the letters, saying, “Proclaim a fast and seat Naboth at the head of the people; 10 and seat two worthless men before him, and let them testify against him, saying, ‘You cursed God and the king.’ Then take him out and stone him [f]to death.”
11 So the men of his city, the elders and the nobles who lived in his city, did as Jezebel had sent word to them, just as it was written in the letters which she had sent them. 12 They proclaimed a fast and seated Naboth at the head of the people. 13 Then the two worthless men came in and sat before him; and the worthless men testified against him, even against Naboth, before the people, saying, “Naboth cursed God and the king.” So they took him outside the city and stoned him [g]to death with stones. 14 Then they sent word to Jezebel, saying, “Naboth has been stoned and is dead.”
This short story has so many elements of greed, covetousness, power, law, connivance, economics and politics applicable to our times, that one scarcely knows where to begin.
Property rights are central to every functioning society. They were powerful in Naboth’s day, too. Even though Ahab was king, the law commanded that the landowner could not be forced or ordered to surrender his property even to the King. Up until recently in America, a property owner was protected from the predations of the powerful and their government by the due process and equal protection clauses of the 5th and 14th amendments in the United States Constitution. Other societies, systems, and cultures offer similar rights.
Ahab chaffed under restrictions on his power probably more than his unrequited desire for Naboth’s vineyard.  Governments at every level within the United States similarly chafe at our constitutional property rights. They too become vexed, for the power of the individual cuts into their power to rule. Jezebel fired up Ahab’s resentment by throwing up to him the words “Do you now [e]reign over Israel?”, thereby fomenting a sense of legitimacy for what she planned.
Subterfuge and connivance using political allies to circumvent the law came next, as Jezebel was a masterful practitioner of those things.  This wicked queen used forged documents, powerful allies in local politics, perjury, and staged events to eliminate Naboth’s ownership rights to the vineyard by taking his life itself!
The modern American, Georgian, and Augustan experience is full of these very same deceptions, corruptions, artifices, schemes, and frauds to steal the peoples’  money and property. Examples are the General Motors bondholders, the MF Global depositors, and others looted under the guise of “emergency.” We are seeing the gutting of the 1st, 4th, 5th,  and 14thamendments before our very eyes. Locally, we have three counties who have attempted to impose “Overlay Zoning Districts” that were in open defiance of equal protection, so as to change land uses based upon government whim (they call it “planning instead) rather than consistent application of existing laws that were not restrictive enough in the government’s eyes.
We have Jezebel governance in spades.
Like Jezebel, our banks committed tens of thousands of acts of forgery involving mortgages and debt securities, with the forged documents being alternatively used to foreclose on home buyers or to defraud securities investors.  The government’s response was to rig events to avoid the truth by forcing the nation’s accounting profession to change its standards to permit fraud. Every citizen’s financial assets, even our money are in jeopardy.  Indeed, the predations of the mad money-printing Federal Reserve are one devious way to circumvent the determination of today’s Naboth’s that “I will not give you the inheritance of my fathers.” This is government subterfuge – Jezebel government.
The economist and philosopher Frederick Bastiat sums up Jezebel governance in these ways:
The plans differ; the planners are all alike… 
Now, legal plunder can be committed in an infinite number of ways. Thus we have an infinite number of plans for organizing it: tariffs, protection, benefits, subsidies, encouragements, progressive taxation, public schools, guaranteed jobs, guaranteed profits, minimum wages, a right to relief, a right to the tools of labor, free credit, and so on, and so on. All these plans as a whole—with their common aim of legal plunder—constitute socialism.
But how is this legal plunder to be identified? Quite simply. See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime.
It is easy to understand why the law is used by the legislator to destroy in varying degrees among the rest of the people their personal independence by slavery, their liberty by oppression, and their property by plunder. This is done for the benefit of the person who makes the law, and in proportion to the power that he holds.
Away with the whims of governmental administrators, their socialized projects, their centralization, their tariffs, their government schools, their state religions, their free credit, their bank monopolies, their regulations, their restrictions, their equalization by taxation, and their pious moralizations! And now that the legislators and do-gooders have so futilely inflicted so many systems upon society, may they finally end where they should have begun: May they reject all systems, and try liberty; for liberty is an acknowledgment of faith in God and His works.
Liberty is an acknowledgment of faith in God and His works.  Jezibel governance hates those things
Lord, give us the courage of Naboth to say to our Jezebel governments “The LORD forbid me that I should give you the inheritance of my fathers.”
Any government that practices Jezebel standards deserves Jezibel’s fate.
Pray that we stop them before it is too late for us, too.***

AG

Empathy Coupled With Introspection Powers Success and Salvation

Golden Ruler, Golden Rule & Golden Life

Originally posted on CityStink
April 22, 2012
Augusta, GA
By Al Gray
The author, Al M. Gray is President of Cost Recovery Works, Inc., a provider of Cost Avoidance and Cost Recovery for America’s leading companies, businesses and governments desiring Superior Returns.
 
Marcus Aurelius was Roman Emperor from 161 to 180 AD.  “He was the last of the “Five Good Emperors”, and is also considered one of the most important Stoic philosophers.” This man was supremely well-educated by the best Greek and Roman tutors of his day. “Marcus Aurelius’ Stoic tome Meditations…. is still revered as a literary monument to a philosophy of service and duty, describing how to find and preserve equanimity in the midst of conflict by following nature as a source of guidance and inspiration.”
The Catholic Encyclopedia presents a mixed explanation of the life of this pagan ruler, yet includes this account.
During the war with the Quadi in 174 there took place the famous incident of the Thundering Legion which has been a cause of frequent controversy. The Roman army was surrounded by enemies with no chance of escape, when a storm burst. The rain poured down in refreshing showers on the Romans, while the enemy were scattered with lightning and hail. The parched and famishing Romans received the saving drops first on their faces and parched throats, and afterwards in their helmets and shields, to refresh their horses. Marcus obtained a glorious victory as a result of this extraordinary event, and his enemies were hopelessly overthrown.
That such an event did really happen is attested by both pagan and Christian writers. The former attribute the occurrence either to magic or to the prayers of the emperor … The Christian writers attributed the fact to the prayers of the Christians who were in the army and soon there grew up a legend to the effect that in consequence of this miracle the emperor put a stop to the persecution of the Christians…..
Marcus Aurelius was one of the best men of heathen antiquity. (T)he judicious Montesquieu says that….we cannot read the life of this emperor without a softening feeling of emotion. Niebuhr calls him the noblest character of his time, and M. Martha, the historian of the Roman moralists, says that in Marcus Aurelius “the philosophy of Heathendom grows less proud, draws nearer to a Christianity which it ignored or which it despised, and is ready to fling itself into the arms of the Unknown God.”
The Bible upholds a number of foreign rulers to have moral qualities, including some who worshiped the Lord at times. It does not preclude us from considering words of wisdom from other sources. In this sense Marcus authored many very fine, uplifting, inspiring, and wise quotes including this powerful key to success –
“Let it be your constant method to look into the design of people’s actions, and see what they would be at, as often as it is practicable; and to make this custom the more significant, practice it first upon yourself.”
Before expounding upon this concept, let’s consider our Bible Verse of the week as it appears Matthew 7, verse 12 of the King James Version.
12Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. 
These stunningly elegant words sum up the very essence of civil societies of all types, indeed of civilization itself. The concept is found in nearly all cultures for it sums up our fair expectations of how we want, expect, and demand others to treat us. Indeed, even in the most totalitarian of states there is reverence for this golden rule, for wholesale abandonment of it risks revolution. Some years ago this writer read of an elderly woman in China with a long term lease in the middle of exploding development, on account of whom a major office and retail complex was being delayed simply because the woman refused to move from her home. The story seemed odd, until one considers just how powerful the golden rule is.
“Do unto others” goes to the very heart of how we relate to each other as people living in harmony and peace.  The concept is redundant in the Constitution of the United States and our precious Bill of Rights, with the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses of first the 5th and, later, the 14th Amendments having  stood resolute in protection of property rights since the Constitution was ratified.
Recently there been appreciable erosion, not just in our most priceless rights, but the underlying moral code of the golden rule. We stand near the abyss and will certainly topple over if we don’t recover the commandment found in Matthew 7:12.
The golden rule was expanded upon by the words of the golden ruler Marcus Aurelius referenced above.  The technique is one of supreme, sublime power. The greatest attorneys practice the first half.  “Let it be your constant method to look into the design of people’s actions, and see what they would be at”  In other words you get an advantage by placing ones’ self in another’s position, determining his motivations, and predicting his actions. Wise people of all professions, faiths, and organizations use this strategy to excel. Empathy is a powerful tool used to approach the second commandment of “Love thy neighbor as thy self.” It is also a way to lower resistance in an erstwhile adversary.
The second part of the Marcus Aurelius quote is the admonishment to make this custom the more significant, practice it first upon yourself.”  The first part is extremely difficult to master by most people and they simply refuse to make the effort. Their thoughts, desires and motivations are too powerful to temporarily shove aside to gain empathy for another, be it for advantage or be it out of Christian love. Adding the second requirement of introspection of one’s own thoughts, desires, and motivations is an unimaginable, unattainable, and nearly impossible practice to even folks skilled in applying the empathetic first instruction.
The power of the combined technique is stunning. When a person does both parts of this instruction set, it combines empathy with introspection. You not only see the world through the eyes of others, but you analyze your own situation through theirs. It makes your arguments compelling, even overwhelming, for you not only are predictive of their words and deeds, you are predicting how they will address your own! If there is faulty logic, bias, dislike, hatred, or some other negative force in your position, you can objectively identify it and eliminate it before making a crucial error or misjudgment.  If the other has the superior argument or position, one can adapt to it or adopt it before his position is established.
This is a path to peace. Wouldn’t it be great if world leaders would practice this? Most wars would be avoided
If there is one technique that marries a holy commandment to friendships, continuous harmony, and even personal advantage it has to be this one. It is training in this life for eternity. It is of overwhelming power independent of faith.
Marcus Aurelius was a pagan, yet even a pagan emperor knew the magic of the golden rule. The words of Matthew 7:12 ring through the ages in law, as the verse stated, but this golden ruler recommended practicing a more stringent, demanding, and disciplined version of it as one pursues a golden life in every sense of those words.
Can you live the commandment of the golden rule?
Can you take it to a more demanding, higher level of empathy and tempered introspection?
The rewards on earth and in heaven are worth trying. You don’t have to be an emperor or prophet to gain your reward.
You just have to overcome yourself.
AG

Our UNEARNED Tax Credit – Good for Eternity

Taxing Times for the Spiritually Destitute

Sunday April 15, 2012
Augusta, GA
By Al Gray

Today is April 15th, a day on the annual calendar that brings dread, anguish, monetary pain and just plain resentment across the land. This year the coincidence of tax filing day and Sunday brought a welcome 2 day reprieve. People absolutely detest taxes, especially in these times of dysfunctional, corrupt, and even counterproductive government. Just this weekend came news that the vaunted, respected, and powerful Secret Service, who are protectors and guardians of the United States Treasury, had their Presidential advance team recalled from the country of Columbia because of entanglements with a group of prostitutes! One wonders how much lower our government can fall. The natural tendency is to become dubious of the justification to support such a government with our tax money. That is another subject best left to another day.


In Jesus’ day, the Roman government contracted out the collection of taxes to the subject states, with the tax collectors empowered to keep any excess taxes that were collected. Privatization of this unsavory process is nothing new, which is something our politicians spouting nonsense about the glories of contracting government out should think about but certainly won’t.



 9 As Jesus went on from there, He saw a man called Matthew, sitting in the tax collector’s booth; and He *said to him, “Follow Me!” And he got up and followed Him.

 10 Then it happened that as Jesus was reclining at the table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were dining with Jesus and His disciples. 11 When the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, “Why is your Teacher eating with the tax collectors and sinners?” 12 But when Jesus heard this, He said, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I DESIRECOMPASSION, AND NOT SACRIFICE,’ for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”


From historical accounts, a tax collector of that day angled very hard and probably had make ‘contributions’ to be awarded a tax booth, so it is remarkable that Matthew would respond so readily to Jesus’ call.


Tax collectors who were Jews were doubly reviled as traitors. Because of the incentives to over collect and keep the excess for themselves, many abused the people with aggressive collection practices, even including beatings. Perhaps the social revulsion and distain of the masses had taken a toll. We will never know what motivated Matthew to join the band of disciples that day. What we do know is that Matthew needed Jesus and sensed it in a very immediate, profound way.


What is more is that Matthew brought even more tax collectors into the fold, as it is written “many tax collectors and sinners came and were dining.” The Pharisees were astounded that Jesus would affiliate with the social and religious underclass.  One supposes that they understood in some elementary way, that the physically defective, injured, maimed, and hurting would flock to anyone who was delivering relief from their conditions. Dining with detested tax collectors truly had them stumped.


Bear in mind that immediately before Jesus called Matthew from the toll booth, he had healed a paralyzed man, addressing a very obvious need of the physically downtrodden man. The subtle shift to dining with despised tax collectors pointed out those sinners had emotional afflictions that also justified Jesus prompt attention. “I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners” meant He came for those who confessed that they are sinners, not those whose zealotry kept them going through the motions of some liturgy, practice, or dogma without realizing or admitting their innate sinful nature. The Pharisee could not see the truth that …”all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”
Are we in our modernity any better suited to see this truth? Are we so caught up in social status that our churches spurn folks who appear to regularly fall short? Would anyone with an independent eye and judgment figure that we are later day Pharisees ourselves?


On this April 15 we need to tax our thoughts and minds on these matters so as to more faithfully attend to the central teaching of Christ.  AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.’ The second is this, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’


In many ways this is the hardest tax of them all to pay. Its requirements are to give up the hatreds, animosities, dislikes, distains, and other emotional impediments we hold with a near religious fervor to truly love each other. It won’t be easy. Following Jesus never is. If we fall short, yet have faith that Jesus paid it all, that will become the biggest tax credit that we can imagine.




Last Sunday’s Sermon–> Easter Sunday: He Has Risen!

By Authority of Man An “Evildoer,” By the Cross A Savior

Easter Sermon: He Has Risen!

Originally posted on CityStink
Easter Sunday, April 8, 2012
By Al Gray

The author, Al M. Gray is President of Cost Recovery Works, Inc., a provider of Cost Avoidance and Cost Recovery for America’s leading companies, businesses and governments desiring Superior Returns.

Folks, we are in a maelstrom of forces that threaten us all and by “all” this writer means mankind in the broadest sense, Americans in the national sense, and as individual souls in the common sense.  We find ourselves in a technologically complicated world with unimaginably hideous weaponry in the hands of men whose base emotions, fears, reasoning, and limitations are unchanged since the times of Genesis. We pretend otherwise, one supposes, in order to sleep.
Read the Bible. Quit feeding the evil beast who entices under the worship of false patriotism, the admiration of authority, and the comfort of a modern lifestyle. You must do this soon. These times hearken in frightening ways to the power of the state and religious zealotry openly displayed during the trial of Jesus. Of more recent vintage, even unbelievers note the parallels to the fall of the Roman Empire, the French Revolution, the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution, and the rise of the Nazis. We tend to think of the people of those times as either being evil or victims of evil. Is it really that simple, or were people fooled by the worst of their weaknesses?
In the last decade there has been constant erosion of our rights under the United States Constitution by both national political parties, Congress, the President, and the Supreme Court. New laws like the Patriot Act and the recent National Defense Authorization Act give the state vast powers to cancel our most precious rights on a whim, an arbitrary decision, or just plain mistaken identity. These powers extend to cancelling our very lives, yet the response we lovers of liberty get goes something like – “Well, if you are not doing anything wrong, what do you have to worry about?” from left and right. We have all heard this refrain. Let’s recall for a moment the very beginning of the Trial of Jesus.
“ 29 Therefore Pilate went out to them and *said, “What accusation do you bring against this Man?” 30 They answered and said to him, If this Man were not an evildoer, we would not have delivered Him to you.””
Are you getting a little more awake now? It got worse, a lot worse at the hands of the statist chief priests who trumped law with mob rule.
31 So Pilate said to them, “Take Him yourselves, and judge Him according to your law.” The Jews said to him, “We are not permitted to put anyone to death,”….35 Pilate answered, “… Your own nation and the chief priests delivered You to me; what have You done?”
The priests had already decided nothing short of the death penalty would be acceptable, so they changed their tune when the imperial justice system would not be stretched to invoke a death sentence. At five junctures, Pilate expressed doubt about Jesus’s guilt, straightforwardly stating “I find no guilt in Him.” In In John 19, the religious hierarchy changed its tune claiming:
We have a law, and by that law He ought to die because He made Himself out to be the Son of God.”
It is written that Pilate finally succumbed to the political pressure of the religious zealots and priests. Politics trumped law.
12 As a result of this Pilate [d]made efforts to release Him, but the Jews cried out saying, “If you release this Man, you are no friend of Caesar; everyone who makes himself out to be a king [e]opposes Caesar.”
These dastardly ‘leaders’ were not just content to kill the Truth found in Jesus’ teachings they, like our current day religious and statist bunch, wanted to SPIN it in their favor.
19 Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It was written, “JESUS THE NAZARENE, THE KING OF THE JEWS.” 20 Therefore many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in [k]Hebrew, Latin and in Greek. 21 So the chief priests of the Jews were saying to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews’; but that He said, ‘I am King of the Jews.’” 22 Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.”
See the parallels? There is nothing new under the sun, human nature has not changed through the eons, and corruption accrues to the brazen.  Indeed the historian of the Fall of Rome Tacitus wrote ““Crime, once exposed, has no refuge but in audacity.” He also wroteCustom adapts itself to expediency.”  It was audacious and expedient for the political and religious leaders to kill Jesus. Are ours any different? Are they any more right?

The Saving Grace 

Jesus lived a life of constant miracles. The biggest of them all was His Resurrection, which overcame the temporal, corrupt powers of men and the evil of Satan.  It was a triumph of truth over collective fraud, sin, ambition, and false power that seems to accrue to all institutions, too often including the church. Yes, faith in Jesus overcomes the sins of all who believe, but the most uplifting aspect of the Easter story is that salvation is an individual acceptance of the Truth – that truth being that acceptance of Jesus as one’s personal savior overcomes everything else that we face.
Let’s return to John 18, verse 37.
37 Therefore Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”
Who on that awe-filled and awful day was of the truth and heard His voice? Was it an institution, a mob, a bunch of disciples, or a legion of soldiers? Is and was the TRUTH individual or collective? Has the truth been better served since that day by the institutions of man or by different men, women, and children of faith through the generations? Those last hours on Golgotha are informative.
One of the criminals being executed saw not truth, but took a collective, demanding approach to salvation. He saw the three condemned men as a group with the same problem – death – and the same interests in escaping it, yet saw the situation from the viewpoint of the corrupt establishment. This part of the story comes from  Luke 23, verse 39.
39 One of the criminals who were hanged there was [a]hurling abuse at Him, saying, “Are You not the [b]Christ? Save Yourself and us!”
Ah, here is perhaps the most beautiful part of the Easter story and certainly the most inspirational for sinners such as each of us, for there was one man on that brutal hill who was of the truth and he heard the voice of Jesus.
40 But the other answered, and rebuking him said, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving [c]what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come [d]in Your kingdom!” 43 And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”
That criminal admitted the truth about what he had done and the truth that Jesus was the greatest of all truths and the way to salvation. It was a personal, individual profession of simple faith. It lifted that man, judged by society and law as a criminal, to heaven that day. That was enough for him. That is enough for me……and you.
Salvation is not by the state, clergy, or any other failed or failing human institution. None of these collectivist entities can obtain it for you.
Reach for Jesus. Leave them to their worldly power, just as that thief rose to heaven that day and left those chief priests to their momentary temporal triumph.
Tomorrow morning the sun will rise on a very dangerous world of men not remarkably different than that morning more than two thousand years ago. What is different is this:

“He has risen.”

So might it be for each of us.
No government needed. That is the truth.
You don’t have to be a condemned thief to be desperate to get it, nor is any institution empowered to get it for you.

Got it?

AG

Brother Al Gray… High Reverend of The First Church of What’s Happening Now

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The forgotten day of Easter – Wonder filled and wonderful

The Lost Sabbath – A Day of Wonder

Palm Sunday Sermon

Sunday, April 1, 2012
Augusta, GA
By Al Gray
When we look upon current, historical and biblical times, many are the events or sequences of happenings about which we exclaim “ What were they thinking?” We try, with varying degrees of effort, to put ourselves in the context of the participants in order to understand the forces that affected the outcome, usually to avoid them, and sometimes to emulate them. Rarely is there a total void, so that we have only our imaginations to rely on.

The Sabbath between the Crucifixion of  Jesus and the third day of the discovery of His resurrection was the Lost Sabbath in many ways. In more ways it was and, is a day of wonder.

Imagine that. The most revered three days in history, with a virtually blank Sabbath in the middle. Why? That day was The Day of Wonder. It remains so to this day.

A famous Georgian was renowned for exclaiming “Get the picture now….” So let’s try to do the same. Nothing is written, so in trying to get the picture we are left to wonder about many things about that day.  Imagine the emotional tumult of the disciples and the multitudes that had followed, seen the miracles, pondered the parables, and gained faith in Him. The day before had seen Jesus seized, beaten, tried, abused, sentenced, mocked and executed in the most cruel way imaginable. At the moment of His physical death, there were great signs in the heavens and a great earthquake. The curtain at the great Temple was torn in half by the heavenly forces unleashed. Even greater forces were evident as written in Matthew 27, verses 52 and 53: “…. the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; 53 and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.” The followers of Jesus spent that Sabbath day wondering about the enormity of the death they witnessed versus the miracles He presented in life along with the tumultuous signs of divinity just displayed. They were certainly in very earnest prayer over these things.

During that day, the doubts of the followers had to be at a peak. Many were wondering whether the death was real or whether the promise of everlasting life were real. As great as the doubt of Thomas was after His resurrection, how much greater were theirs’ on that day, moments in which the death was ascendant on the mind? We wonder at their wonder, because the Bible is silent on these matters.

One wonder is that Mary and Mary Magdalene brought spices with which to anoint the corpse, indicating that they were dubious about the prophesy of his resurrection. The enemies of Jesus certainly remembered that prophesy because in Mathew 27, verses 62 through 64  it is written:

 62Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate, 63Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again. 64Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first.

Despite His words, the two Marys wondered whether they were true and their actions portrayed the ultimate doubt. They expected to find a dead body and accord it final honors.  If the very people who witnessed all of the miracles of His life and death were so unconvinced and exhibited such weak faith, our own weaknesses 21 centuries since their Day of Wonder might be put into perspective.

Ponder no more about that day, the lost Sabbath, so fraught with consternation, doubts and fears.  The great wonder was their action after the resurrection, for they took such great confidence in that final greatest miracle of Jesus that they transformed the world.
That wonder will never cease as long as it is remembered this instruction – “He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”
The Sabbath about which naught is written, that Day of Wonder, was the last day of their doubt.

Wonderful. So might it be with us.