A Thousand Crystal Clear Words

Let’s keep this brief.  This weekend’s events were horrific and completely un-American.  That being said, are we really surprised at what took place?

The images of the weekend if painted in greyscale look eerily similar to images of yesteryear.  Like those older images, these newer images show a reality that may have been difficult for some people to imagine.

Well, the truth is out now—each photo saying a thousand crystal clear words.

In summation, let’s meditate on the following verses from Titus 1: 15-16:

To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled. They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed.

Follow me on Twitter @Ben_Baxter or on AL.com here.

Uncivil Actions

The Case Against Visiting Meemaw’s Church for Easter

Look, we get it.  For decades, meemaw—or whatever we call our grandmother—has been who we visit on Easter weekend.  We’ve done this for so long that it’s become a tradition.  Some traditions are meant to be broken though, and this is one of those traditions.

No one is going as far as saying not visit meemaw at all.  That would be harsh.  We love meemaw, and meemaw loves us.  We do, however, need to avoid visiting meemaw’s church for Easter service or Resurrection service.

With 82 percent of Alabamians believing in God with absolute certainty (though not necessarily in a church), it’s imperative for us to participate in God’s instructions for us: “go and make disciples of all nations.”

Well, last we checked, meemaw’s church out in the rural countryside was not the most diverse sitting in the world, and it’s definitely not inviting to people from all nations of the world.  And if we’re honest, meemaw’s church isn’t even inviting to every person in Alabama.

With 56 percent of American adults saying they’d accept information about a local church from a friend or neighbor,  regular local churchgoers can’t waste this time of the year going to meemaw’s church.

Easter season is the most fertile opportunity for newcomers to visit a local church, and those newcomers will have a very bad taste in their mouths if they visit church and don’t see any familiar faces.  Those newcomers may not trust an invitation ever again after they have been left behind in favor of meemaw’s church.

So how can Christians visit meemaw out in the country and be present for their friends and neighbors in the city? A little elbow grease and a good calendar will do the trick.  The two main tips are below:

Attend Regular Church for Easter Service

Keep your normal routine for Easter Sunday.  This way if friends and neighbors have been invited, they will be comforted by seeing your familiar face in the crowd.  No one enjoys going to a brand new place with brand new people without a little support.

Drive Out to Meemaw’s After Church

Be careful.  Don’t just jet out of church as soon as service is over.  Take your friends and neighbors out for lunch.  Their comfort is the most important thing this weekend, not yours.  And relax.  Meemaw will still be happy to see you after lunch.  In fact, she will probably have a second lunch plate ready and prepared for your arrival.  Sounds like a win-win.

Follow me on Twitter @Ben_Baxter or on AL.com here.

Tuscaloosa: A Rally for Peace and Unity in our City

A dear friend of mine, Pastor Fred Schuckert, has diligently and humbly met with several leaders around our city in order to promote peace and unity.  Here is his call to action that he asked people to share:

I met this morning with Schmidt Moore and a handful of other pastors concerning the rising racial tensions related to the deaths of young black men by police officers in various cities and also the senseless killing of policemen in Dallas.  We talked with our mayor and police chief about having a prayer gathering for peace and unity in our city.  They were in favor of this, including the mayor and police chief of Northport.

At 7:00 this Sunday evening, July 10, at Government Plaza downtown, we will be having a “rally for Peace and Unity in our City.”  If it rains, we will meet at Bethel Baptist Church located at 3003 25th St, Tuscaloosa, AL ·

We are inviting the whole church in our city to participate.  Please share this with other Christians you have contact with in the greater Tuscaloosa area.

We are very fortunate to have outstanding governmental officials and law enforcement in our city and county. We want to pray for them as well as for the families of these young black men and police officers who have been killed.

Please help share Pastor Fred’s message.  Like, share, and retweet.

Photo Credit: http://www.harrison-const.com/

Photo Credit: http://www.harrison-const.com/

Follow me on Twitter @Ben_Baxter or at AL.com here.

While Family Sleeps, Increase Your Skills and Abilities

night-owlChances are very likely that if you are reading this, you are not doing so right after midnight.  If you look at the time stamp of this posting though, you will notice that, in fact, it was posted right after midnight.

That strange time frame is not by accident.  I intentionally try to get postings like this done while my family is asleep and doesn’t care what I’m doing.  That’s no slight on my family, but they primarily want me to care about them while I’m with them.  And deservedly so.  However, many major things for my family and for myself would never get done if I didn’t make the best use of the inconvenient times of the day.

For example, my entire household is asleep by 8:30pm central.  In most places, that’s still considered early, and it is considered early for me too.  So when the family sleeps, I get to work.

  • Business school homework and assignments
  • Church projects that can be done from home
  • Literature of the non-fiction , uplifting variety
  • Family budgeting and long-range planning
  • Catching back up with missed emails and calls
  • Decluttering, reorganizing, and doing laundry
  • Laughing aloud with friends on social media
  • Heroically rocking our toddler back to sleep
  • The list goes on, and on, and on, and on

While it may seem a bit overwhelming, I’ve naturally become more effective at the above activities simply because I perform them regularly.  As the old adage goes, “we become what we practice.”

So that’s my story.  What are some tasks that you would like to become better at or more intentional about?

Leave a reply in the comments section, and please hit subscribe.

Follow Ben on Twitter @Ben_Baxter or AL.com.

Stop Blaming Churches for Your Financial Problems

With each passing day, another pastor (usually a mega-church pastor) gets vilified in the media.  Most of the time, it’s because the pastor in question is being ridiculed for showing signs of having too much wealth.  Since wealth is often misconstrued for salary, the smoking gun almost always points back to pastors making too high of a salary.  This negative sentiment rings true on a national stage and eventually makes its way down to the local level.  The hater-ation runs deep.

Unfortunately, this mud-slinging is unwarranted because pastors in general are not hoodwinking the public or robbing from the poor.  In fact, for the amount of talent and skill pastors have, they are living pretty meagerly and sometimes near the poverty line.  But let’s not take my word for it, let’s look at the research.

rich-wilkerson-jr

Rick Wikerson, Jr – Celebrity Pastor

According to the Barna Group, 60% of protestant churches have less than 100 adults in attendance while only 2% of protestant churches have more than 1000 adults in attendance.  In addition, according to Leadership Network’s 2014 Large Church Salary Report, per capita giving goes down as church size goes up.  I will get more into that later.

Within this same Leadership Network report, it is measured that for mega-churches (churches with attendances from 1,000 to over 30,000), senior pastor salaries tend to represent only 3.4% of a total church budget.  For example, if a church’s total budget is $2 million, then the senior pastor makes $68,000.  That salary may seem pedestrian at first, but when you consider that the average pastor works 50 hours per week and 35% of pastors work more than 60 hours per week, that salary is paltry.  In fact, many pastors regularly sell items on eBay and Craigslist to make ends meet.

Let’s go back to congregational giving though.  Remember how the media likes to paint a picture that poor people are being robbed to prop up silver-spooned pastors? Well, that’s a load of hogwash.  Look at these figures on giving:

  • American Christians give 1.5 – 3.1% to their church and other charitable organizations. That number has dropped more than a percentage point in the past 10 years.
  • 4 out of 10 church attendees give nothing to their local church.
  • Only 1 out of 10 regular church attendees give a consistent percentage of their income to their local church.
  • Currently only 4% of church-attending Christians tithe (give 10% of their income) to local church.

In summary of those statistics, we can’t get robbed if we are essentially keeping all of our income. So let’s stop perpetrating this robbery myth.  That’s just a smoke-screen to cover up the fact that many of us feel bad for not giving a cheerful amount.

Why can’t we give a cheerful amount? Mostly because we don’t read our Bibles very often.  Even a brief analysis of scripture would show us that financial matters are spelled out pretty bluntly.  If we adhere to scripture, we will financially be better off.

Pastors know this.  They read their Bibles daily like it is recommended.  Supernaturally and practically, pastors gain wealth even if they have horrible salaries because they live below their means and then some.  And in doing so, they can financially help all of the haters who think pastors are their enemies.

Follow me on Twitter @Ben_Baxter

Moving to ATL Won’t Solve All Life’s Problems

A good friend of mine, Robert, tipped me to a great tweet from this weekend that really spoke to me. From @akidnamedspiffy it reads “Why do black people think moving to Atlanta will solve all their problems?”

Can we get an “amen” up in the house tonight?! I’ve never understood the obsession with Atlanta.  The only reason Atlanta is of any worth is because millennials and X-geners, like myself, have obsessed about the city and the overgrown suburbs for nearly 20 years.  Life imitated hype.

Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t hate Atlanta.  I just think we should be realistic with ourselves and understand that cities like Birmingham, Augusta, Memphis, etc could be world-class if all of our best talented young people didn’t lustfully flock towards Atlanta.

What do you think?  Am I being too cruel?

Stay Away from ATL

 

Really, What IS the Bible?

Without doubt, there is a great deal of disagreement over what the Bible actually is. And I suppose, beyond a collection of 66 documents written a good long time ago, we can’t really know the answer with any kind of absolute certainty. But it’s important to understand what the Bible is to those who believe in it.

Well, that’s great, but what does it mean to “believe in the Bible”? I’d say it boils down to believing that what the Bible says is true. Now, a lot of the Bible’s more vehement opponents scoff at the ideathey see apparent contradictions between different parts of the Bible, so they stop right there and claim to Holy Biblehave won. They think they’ve disproven what Christians believe, but all they’ve really done is shown that they don’t understand what Christians believe.

To believe in the Bible (as Christians are frequently known for doing) is to believe that it is objectively and universally True, that it is the holy, inspired, and inerrant word of the God who created literally everything. To believe that the Bible is True in this way is to believe that it is unique (i.e. no other text contains such Truth), complete (i.e. it’s not still being written), sufficient (i.e. it hasn’t left out anything we need), authoritative, (i.e. it is the final and ultimate authority for Truth), and consistent in all its parts. Dozens of treatises could be written (and probably have been written) on any one of these points, but I’d like to focus for now on its sufficiency and its consistency.

Now, clearly the Bible does not lay out everything plainly. It’s not simply 66 books of “Do this. Don’t do that. God is good. Satan is bad,” etc. We have to interpret the words in some way or another. This process—the process of interpreting Scripture—is called exegesis. Because the BibleBible Study is understood to be sufficient in and of itself, proper Biblical exegesis doesn’t subject the Bible to an external authority. It doesn’t require further explanation to be properly understood: if one passage seems unclear, that passage can be understood and clarified by reading the rest of the Bible. That’s why in the New Testament, both Jesus and the Apostles frequently refer back to the Old Testament to expound on what they’re saying. Nothing’s left out. It’s all there for those willing to look.

Inseparably tied to the Bible’s sufficiency is its consistency. If there are two passages that seem to contradict each other, they need to be thoroughly examined in the light of the rest of Scripture to better understand what they’re saying. This is solid Biblical exegesis. Poor exegesis would give preference to one passage and claim that it utterly negates the other passage—such as saying that passages about God’s love are true, and thus passages about His wrath are false. Good exegesis would see both passages about God’s love and passages about His wrath, and understand that God must be both loving and wrathful.

To those who believe in it, the Bible isn’t just a collection of discrete writings; rather, it is one whole, complete document. If one part is false, the whole can’t be True. So if you’re a Christian, and you ever come across a passage in the Bible that you don’t quite understand, keep it in mind as you continue to read the rest of the Bible. I think you’ll find that the answer is in your hands already.

Whether Caitlyn, Rachel, or Creflo, CONCEIT Shouldn’t Be Enabled

01 Lying is BadIt sure has been an amazingly absurd and hypocritical past few weeks, hasn’t it?  We’ve had a famous televangelist successfully convince us that he needs a $60M private jet to spread the Gospel.  We’ve had a former male Olympian (and current grandparent) lead us to believe that he is now a woman.  And just recently, we’ve uncovered that a prominent white NAACP leader has been living a lie as a black woman for that past several years.

While these three events may seem unrelated, they have a very pronounced common thread: all three people have friends, family, and internet strangers who enable their specific brand of deception.  Based on my knowledge and research, that is even worse than the original lies themselves.

Actually, let me rephrase that.  Creflo Dollar, Caitlyn Jenner, and Rachel Dolezal are all guilty of creating a narrative that simply isn’t true.  However, it is OUR willing participation in their conceit that has magnified their perception into delusions of grandeur.

That’s what happens when one starts telling lies and puffing oneself up.  Just like everyone’s mom used to say, “When you tell one lie, you gotta tell more lies to cover up the first.”  It produces a snowball effect.  As the snowball gets bigger, more and more people fall into its path.  Once rolled into the snowball, those bystanders begin lying too.

I plead that we as a nation begin to halt this enabling behavior.  Everyone’s actions and thoughts aren’t valid.  And it’s not wrong to admit that.  It’s never wrong to tell to truth.   It’s never wrong to put our selfish pride aside and accept what’s truly taking place within us and in the world around us.

_______________________

If you are of the Christian persuasion like myself, here are some supporting verses:

Proverbs 12:22 ESV

“Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight.”

Luke 8:17 ESV

“For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light.”

Ephesians 4:25 ESV

“Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.”

Ben Baxter is an avid writer, engineer, financial advisor, and contributor to AL.com.

Good Friday? No, Good Wednesday! | G. Franks

A CrossIt’s that time of year when people forget how to count to three.  Others find creative ways to add pieces and parts of different things together in various ways to derive a very specialized way of counting to three.  Those who remember that it’s simply 1 – 2 – 3 become really confused by the other two groups and why they just don’t get it.  Count me in that last group, but I’m gonna try to reconcile it all so that no one has to be confused.

What I’m talking about is Good Friday and how Jesus being crucified on a Friday doesn’t sync with His own statement in Matthew 12:40 where He says, “For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” (emphasis mine, from the English Standard Version as will any following quote)  Do the math.  Although Jesus died at sundown, if you count Friday as one of the days and although the grave was found empty Sunday morning, if count that as an entire day also, then you can kinda, sorta get three days out of it, BUT there’s NO WAY to get three nights out of just Friday night and Saturday night.  You may have heard the “any part of a day counts as the whole day…” explanation that goes along with that attempt to reconcile the discrepancy.  Still, you just don’t have parts of three nights to go along with the parts of three days; there are only two nights in there no matter how you look at it.  I’m certain the problems that accompany a “Good Friday” thinking are on a list somewhere of atheists’ compilation of Biblical errors.

I had this same question for years.  When I finally did some study on my own, the answer was quite simple, and everything else made a lot more sense when this piece was in place.  The heavens even attest to the authenticity of this answer, but I’ll save that for the very end.  Oh, another problem the “Good Friday” conundrum presents is the questions of when the chief priests and Pharisees went to ask Pilate for a guard at the tomb.  The day after Friday is Saturday, the weekly Sabbath when no work could be done and even walking was limited to “a Sabbath day’s journey,” and the tomb was found empty Sunday morning.

Okay, I tell you what.  Instead of starting with lots of detail about all the confusing stuff and all the problems of the “Good Friday” chronology, let’s just keep it simple.  Jesus said “three days and three nights” so let’s just take Him at His word and see how that works, then you can know not to worry about all the problems and attempts at explanation by those holding onto “Good Friday” for whatever reason.

The tomb was found empty Sunday morning, so let’s count back three days: Sunday (0), Saturday (1), Friday (2), and Thursday (3), which means Jesus died on Wednesday, specifically at sundown Wednesday.  Okay, let’s count the nights: Wednesday night (1), Thursday night (2), and Friday night (3).  Oops!  What about Saturday night?  Didn’t Jesus rise on Sunday morning?  That leaves you with four nights, so you’ve traded the problem of there being only two nights with “Good Friday” to there being four nights with your “Good Wednesday” alternative.  Excellent observation, but does the Bible say Jesus rose on Sunday morning, or does it say the tomb was found empty Sunday morning.  Jesus rose at sundown on Saturday after the weekly Sabbath was over.  (Remember that the Hebrew day begins at sundown on what we would say is the day before.  Their days are evening and morning, just like the days of creation back in Genesis 1.)  The disciples found the empty tomb the next day that they were up and able to move freely about, that Sunday morning.

But I thought they had to remove the bodies from the crosses before sundown because they couldn’t do any work on the next day since it was the Sabbath?  The Sabbath is Saturday, so this would have been Friday, the day before, right?  That’s why it’s called “Good Friday,” ain’t it?  Almost.  Yeah, that’s likely how the “Good Friday” error got started, but there are too many questions left unanswered by that quick jump to the wrong conclusion.  In particular, there’s one piece that God leaves in the Scriptures that should make us take a second look, that piece is the Preparation Day.  Do you know definitively what Preparation Day refers to?  I don’t mean a hastily derived conclusion like the one that leads to the “Good Friday” error, but exactly what that phrase means, exactly what it refers to.  Okay, let’s go back to the Old Testament when Passover began and see.  (Note: I’m not quoting as many Scriptures as I want to so this doesn’t get too long, but I do encourage you to read all the Scriptures in context [the whole chapter if necessary] and passages parallel to these that tell the same story.  Every bit of it will fit and make sense in the “Good Wednesday” framework I’m showing you.)

Exodus 12  The Passover

The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, “This month shall be for you the beginning of months. It shall be the first month of the year for you.  Tell all the congregation of Israel that on the tenth day of this month every man shall take a lamb according to their fathers’ houses, a lamb for a household.  And if the household is too small for a lamb, then he and his nearest neighbor shall take according to the number of persons; according to what each can eat you shall make your count for the lamb.  Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male a year old. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats, and you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month, when the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill their lambs at twilight.

“Then they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it.  They shall eat the flesh that night, roasted on the fire; with unleavened bread and bitter herbs they shall eat it.  Do not eat any of it raw or boiled in water, but roasted, its head with its legs and its inner parts.  And you shall let none of it remain until the morning; anything that remains until the morning you shall burn.  In this manner you shall eat it: with your belt fastened, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. And you shall eat it in haste. It is the Lord’s Passover.  For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the Lord.  The blood shall be a sign for you, on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt.

“This day shall be for you a memorial day, and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord; throughout your generations, as a statute forever, you shall keep it as a feast.  Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall remove leaven out of your houses, for if anyone eats what is leavened, from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel.  On the first day you shall hold a holy assembly, and on the seventh day a holy assembly. No work shall be done on those days. But what everyone needs to eat, that alone may be prepared by you.  And you shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for on this very day I brought your hosts out of the land of Egypt. Therefore you shall observe this day, throughout your generations, as a statute forever.  In the first month, from the fourteenth day of the month at evening, you shall eat unleavened bread until the twenty-first day of the month at evening.  For seven days no leaven is to be found in your houses. If anyone eats what is leavened, that person will be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he is a sojourner or a native of the land.  You shall eat nothing leavened; in all your dwelling places you shall eat unleavened bread.”

Okay, that is one (the first) of the Old Testament passages about Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread.  Here is one set of verses from the New Testament about the crucifixion and resurrection.  Please read the parallel passages as well.  Also, the underlining and bolding below are mine to note specific words and phrases that tie into the simpler chronology I’m presenting.

Jesus Is Buried  (Luke 23:50-56)

Now there was a man named Joseph, from the Jewish town of Arimathea. He was a member of the council, a good and righteous man, who had not consented to their decision and action; and he was looking for the kingdom of God.  This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.  Then he took it down and wrapped it in a linen shroud and laid him in a tomb cut in stone, where no one had ever yet been laid.  It was the day of Preparation, and the Sabbath was beginning.  The women who had come with him from Galilee followed and saw the tomb and how his body was laid.  Then they returned and prepared spices and ointments.

On the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment.

John 19:14-16

Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover. It was about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, “Behold your King!”  They cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.”  So he delivered him over to them to be crucified.

Jesus’ Side Is Pierced  (John 19:31-37)

Since it was the day of Preparation, and so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken and that they might be taken away.  So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him.  But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs.  But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water.  He who saw it has borne witness—his testimony is true, and he knows that he is telling the truth—that you also may believe.  For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken.”  And again another Scripture says, “They will look on him whom they have pierced.”

Jesus Is Buried  (John 19:38-42)

After these things Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus, and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took away his body.  Nicodemus also, who earlier had come to Jesus by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds in weight.  So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews.  Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid.  So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there.

The Guard at the Tomb  (Matthew 27:62-66)

The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate and said, “Sir, we remember how that impostor said, while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise.’  Therefore order the tomb to be made secure until the third day, lest his disciples go and steal him away and tell the people, ‘He has risen from the dead,’ and the last fraud will be worse than the first.”  Pilate said to them, “You have a guard of soldiers. Go, make it as secure as you can.”  So they went and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone and setting a guard.

Now, just a little more discussion will tie it all together.  Passover is Abib 14th.  Have you ever noticed how Passover is a different day each year?  That’s a trick question.  It isn’t different every year; it’s the 14th day of Abib every year.  Abib starts with the first new moon after the vernal equinox, every year like clockwork.  We have the vernal equinox every year around March 21st on our calendar, but the new moon after that establishes when Passover happens.  More I could say, but this is getting long as is.

Passover is Abib 14 (which starts in the evening prior to that day).  Abib 15 is the Preparation Day.  Why is it called Preparation?  It was the day used to prepare for the Feast of Unleavened Bread.  As the Scripture above points out, every single speck of leaven (yeast) was removed from Hebrew households, and they ate unleavened bread from Abib 15 thru Abib 21.  Abib 15 and Abib 21 are special Sabbaths (or “high days” as John calls them in the verses above from his gospel).  Jesus observed the Passover with His apostles on the evening (night before, think Eve like Christmas Eve) of Abib 14, and during the day portion of Abib 14 He became our Passover lamb.  The next day was a special Sabbath / high day where no work could be done, and that’s why His body had to be removed from the cross and buried before sundown when the special Sabbath started and no work could be done.

Okay, there are plenty of cross references I could quote that corroborates what I just said, but this is enough to establish the timeline.  It occurs to me that speaking of it in Hebrew terms could possibly simplify matters so I’m gonna start there.  Then I’m gonna go back and tie it to our calendar.  It all makes really good sense.  I’m tempted to quote the individual Scriptures again to emphasize again that I’m using a Biblical timeline and Biblical words and phrases to let the Bible make itself clear, but I don’t want to jumble up my paragraph.  Please note that I could do just that, and everything I’m saying in the recounting of the timeline comes directly from Scripture like the verses quoted above.

Abib 14 (the evening before is specifically when it begins) — Jesus has His final meal with his apostles, an observance of Passover.

Abib 14 (later that evening after the Passover meal) — Jesus betrayed, goes before Pilate, before the Sanhedrin

Abib 14 (the day portion) — Jesus before Pilate again, the crowd wants Barabbas released and Jesus crucified, Jesus dies around 6pm and is buried before the special Sabbath / high day of Abib 15 begins that evening

Abib 15 (evening and morning) — nothing happens because it is a special Sabbath / rest day where no work is allowed

Abib 16 — during the day portion, the chief priests and Pharisees go to Pilate and ask for a tomb guard

Abib 17 — the regular, weekly Sabbath

Abib 18 — the “first day of the week” (Sunday) when the tomb was found empty  (Note: Jesus rose Saturday after sundown when the Sabbath was over, even the “work” of the resurrection happened in a way such that the Sabbath was kept holy.

Okay, that’s walking forward with Hebrew days, but let’s walk backwards and attach the typical days of the week.

Sunday morning, the women go the garden and find the tomb empty

Saturday — the weekly Sabbath, no work was done, nothing happened

Friday — the “day after Preparation Day” when the chief priests and Pharisees asked for a tomb guard

Thursday — the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, according to the original instructions in Egypt it was to be a special Sabbath / high day when no work would be done

Wednesday — the day Jesus died, his body was taken down from the cross and buried close by in a brand new tomb sometime around 6pm before evening began (because carrying a body and burying it would be work that would not be allowed on the special Sabbath / high day that began at sundown)

So it’s Good Wednesday, not Good Friday.  And the most important part of this correct chronology is that it keeps from making Jesus into a liar.  The pieces and parts of days that is such a feeble attempt to reconcile the wording of the text might work if Jesus had said a generic “in the tomb three days” but he didn’t say that.  His wording was very specific “three days AND three nights,” and that statement means we should dismiss anything that tries to propagate the “Good Friday” mistake.  Good Friday only has two nights in there Friday night and Saturday night; there is no piece or part of a third night to make it work.

Good Wednesday works perfectly.  The three days are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.  The three nights are Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.  Jesus rose at sundown Saturday, after the Sabbath was over.  The women went to the tomb on Sunday morning and found it empty.

OH!  I almost forgot to bring in the witness from the heavens (i.e., stars) I promised to mention at the very end.  You can go verify this via the US Naval Observatory.  In the year AD 31 the vernal equinox occurred at 5:00am on Friday, March 23rd.  (These times are local to Jerusalem, just to be clear.)  The first new moon after that was Tuesday, April 10th at 2:00pm.  That’s still daylight, the first sliver of a crescent new moon would be visible Wednesday evening, April 11th, so that evening would be the evening of Abib 1 and the day of Abib 1 would be what we would Thursday, April 12.  Passover is the 14th day or Abib, which would be the evening of Tuesday, April 24th and day of Wednesday, April 25th.  And what did I say at the start?  Count back three days from the tomb being empty on Sunday and you reach the simple conclusion that Jesus was crucified on Wednesday.  And what do you know?  There just happens to be a Tuesday evening / Wednesday day Passover right in there where it should be.