………..it is all a matter of time, “In the beginning…..” of what?… time of course. The time in question here at Passover People is a very short passage of time when Ye’shua’s time was facing an abrupt end.
…. and space. How do we describe the space of Ye’shua: the places, distances, culture, smells, tastes, food, people, behaviour, homes, work places, eating practice, beliefs and all the other aspects of space. Each has an implication for us now and them, then.
Places occupy space. Between one place and another was space, measured as time; eg half a day. Eating a meal is more than a moment, however hard your young son tries, he cannot eat the whole of his lunch in a single moment, however much he wants to be outside playing football with his friends.
Indeed, the essence of our existence is material, we exist in time and we occupy space.
Even with all the extraordinary tools we have today: smart phones, Skype, the cloud, we cannot be in the same place in the same moment as a person the other side of the world, Without travelling there by some means across the intervening space, a journey taking much time, we cannot be in the same place at the same time.
Listening to church-going christians, however, one might think that their Christ is with them here & now. They believe too much and do not trust enough. Only in a non-material sense is he with us now and we are material creatures. Je-sus as they say, Ye’shua as his very Jewish mother called him back then in Galilee, was also a Jew, living in the first century not this western twenty-first century. He grew up in Galilee, slept on a simple bed that he probably built with his own hands from wood he cut himself. It took time, to make his bed to sleep on.
It is a good distance from Nazareth to Jerusalem. A Jew and his family, his friends, neighbours, his followers, walked on foot to the pilgrimage festivals. They took hard earned money to buy a lamb for the Passover festival; quite a sacrifice for many. It is a good distance from Nazareth to Jerusalem. Then preparation spread through a whole day, eating the roast lamb took all night. A whole day passed from setting the lamb on the fire to burying Ye’shua in the borrowed grave, before the Sabbath began.
From the triumphant entry to the ignominious cross five days passed, the cheering crowd outside the gate; at the centre of things, the in-crowd raging: “crucify, crucify”.
The point of all this talk of Time and Space is that we measure it to give it order, to make it understandable and yes to make it bearable. However, at different times in different places we use different measures. The Jews numbered their days and we give them names, we speak English they spoke Aramaic, Hebrew, Latin, Greek but no English, to us their names and voices sound strange: Yerushalayim, Yisra’el, Yakov. They used the moon cycle to know the months and Sun to measure the day. We glance at a smart phone to know the date and time of day.
To understand Ye’shua/Jesus, the things he said, the actions he took, it is into his world we have to go, time-travelling so-to-speak, leaving behind our smart phones, running hot water, ice-cold beers, fast food and fast cars.
The day of the crucifixion, 15th Aviv, began with the twilight after the sun had set on the 14th. The disciples had prepared the passover on the 14th and all 120 of them (see here) sat down together in a borrowed room in Jerusalem on the 15th, by now dark outside they ate roast lamb, bitter herbs and unleavened, hard, brittle bread. Afterward, Ye’shua spoke at length and prayed on the walk up to the garden, where tired disciples fell asleep.
Suddenly awake, alert and anxious, they watch him captured, running for their lives while he is dragged back into Jerusalem for show trials and his execution. By late afternoon of the 15th, He is dead, and others negotiate for the body. The sun is heading down and they must have the body in a grave before the sun sets and Sabbath begins in the twilight at the start of the 16th.
It’s been a long day… from freedom’s celebratory meal to death and a grave.
Darkness fell as disappointment descended on the disciples that Sabbath.