Easter was here last week! Yay for chocolate bunnies and colored eggs and even better, deviled eggs! Yay for all the Easter candy at Target going on sale for 30% off the next day!
The girls were with their other parent this year so we didn’t really do anything except hang out with Judy, my BFF neighbor The Crying Jew and our friend Tara the night before and then on Sunday I finished “11.22.63″ by Stephen King (awesome book, I would have ended it differently but what do I know?) On Saturday night, while we were on our way into town, Judy asked me, “Explain this Easter thing to me,” so I did. Later we had a discussion about it and I mentioned that the Apostle Paul was responsible for the Christian church as we now know it and interestingly enough, he never personally knew Jesus. I guess Judy brought this up the next day where she was having Easter dinner and her husband was not happy with it and balked at the suggestion. “He was an apostle, of course he knew Jesus,” he supposedly said.
It is true that Paul is considered an apostle, but he was not one of the 12 Disciples at the Last Supper, nor did he witness the Crucifixion, nor the Resurrection. He didn’t convert to Christianity until over 30 years after Jesus’ death. (Apostle and Disciple were used pretty much interchangeably at the time of Jesus, afterward, Apostle meant a little something different.) “But Paul was one of the 12!” No, I repeat, he was not.
The Twelve Disciples at The Last Supper (according to the Book of Matthew, written around 80-85 CE):
- Simon (aka Peter)
- John (son of Zebedee, not to be confused with John the Baptist or John who wrote the Fourth Gospel John, (assuming a guy named John actually wrote the Book of John!)
- James (son of Zebedee)
- Matthew the tax collector (not the guy who wrote the Book of Matthew.)
- James (son of Alphaeus, not to be confused with the other James above.)
- Thaddaeus, (aka Judas, son of James and not to be confused with Judas Iscariot)
- Simon the Zealot (aka Simon the Canaanite.)
- Judas Iscariot (you know this guy, he was the one who supposedly betrayed Jesus and later killed himself.)
As I mentioned above, Judas killed himself, which left a position open for a twelfth apostle. Not anyone can fill this position and in Acts 1:21-22, it says that in order to fill this position, one must have witnessed the Resurrection, which Paul did not. Some believe that Mathias is the proper twelfth apostle. Paul ignored that part of Acts (which was written by Luke, if you wanted to know,) and said the HE should be the one to replace Judas because he was God’s obvious choice. Something Mathias probably didn’t agree with or take kindly to.
The Gospels (Good News) of Jesus is written in four books:
Mark (66-70 CE)
Matthew (80-85 CE)
The first three are called the Synoptic Gospels because, well they pretty much agree with each other. John’s book was condemned by the early church as a “Gnostic Fabrication.” John’s gospel is the only one that “deitizes” Jesus and portrays Him as eternal Word. Mark’s gospel doesn’t even mention the Resurrection, something that would seem kind of important if you ask me.
Back to Paul.
Paul was a Zealous Jewish Pharisee who intensely persecuted the followers of Jesus (he writes about this in Galatians 1:13-14, which was written around 56 CE.) Around 33-36 CE, he was converted to Christianity. He claims in 1 Corinthians 15: 3-8 that he saw the risen Christ on the road to Damascus, (most scholars think he made it up or was hearing voices, but I’m not judging.) After his conversion, Paul opened the door for gentiles to become Christians without first converting to Christianity (prior to Paul, if one wanted to be a Christian, one must first go through the entire conversion to Judaism first, including circumcision. Ouch.) Paul, who was pretty passionate about his Jewish faith, became pretty passionate about his new Christian faith and started writing a bunch on the subject. He is attributed to writing: 1 Thessalonians, possibly 2 Thessalonians, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Romans, maybe Colossians, Philippians and Philemon, all between 50-70 CE. He was a busy guy. All along, Paul added his own ideas about Christianity. He pretty much made it up, invented the religion as we know it today.
The other Gospels came later.
Geez. Back to Easter.
So Jesus came into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday (it wasn’t called Palm Sunday back then, it was only called Sunday,) and He had a good idea what He was in for because of all the trouble He was causing by pointing out how the priests were not following what they should and being corrupt and such. So He was hanging out with His disciples, (who Mark portrays as “dull-witted, inept, unreliable, cowardly and in one case, treacherous.”) They celebrated the Jewish Passover meal (they were all Jewish, including Jesus and yes, I feel a need to point that out,) on Thursday. After dinner, Jesus is “betrayed” by Judas and He is arrested.
After His arrest, ALL of His Disciples flee and Peter says, “Jesus? I never met him.” Pontius Pilate (a Roman leader who was not Jewish,) declares that Jesus is guilty of treason and He is sentenced to death. They didn’t mess around back then because on Friday, He was crucified. A guy named Joseph (not Jesus’ human father, another guy,) provides a tomb for Jesus to be buried in and the next day, Sunday, Mary and Mary go to visit His tomb and find it empty. They freak out a bit. Then Jesus say, “Yo, Mary and Mom! I’m right over here. Go tell those good-for-nothing Disciples that I’m baaaaacccckkkk!” (He probably didn’t really say that. I’m making that part up.)
All four of the Gospels mention the empty tomb, (Mark 16:1-8, Matthew 28:1-8, Luke 24:1-9 and John 20:1-3,) but only two mention His Resurrection in Galilee. Some believe that this idea was added after Mark’s gospel to make Jesus appear more special than Moses or Mohammed. I don’t know. I wasn’t there and neither were Mark, Mathew, Luke or John, or Paul.
So where did He go after He came back from the dead? Some believe that he went to Hades (Hell) for a visit, others believe that he went to be in some guys bosom and the Mormons think He went to the Americas and hung out for awhile. I’m not exactly sure how He got there since Virgin Atlantic wasn’t around yet, but whatever.
Some people believe that He put on bunny ears, hid eggs and gave out chocolate.
I think I’ll go with that one.