By John Rieping | Published 6 June 2015 in The Madera Tribune | All rights reserved |
Four years ago, an unexpected terror held me inside its giant metal grasp. I speak of a spin within a Ferris wheel.
Though such amusement rides are not known for stealth, this one managed to ambush me at the annual Horned Toad Derby in Coalinga, California, about an hour and a half drive southwest of my hometown of Madera.
As a journalist for the Coalinga Recorder weekly newspaper, I thought a turn of the wheel would offer the highest perch from which to photograph the fair-like park. And this was so.
What I had forgotten is my accident a month before in which my Honda Civic DX had flipped into a soft dirt field during my morning commute. My acrobatics crushed my car and produced a sensation like that a roller coaster or Ferris wheel would.
That day I discovered I no longer enjoyed such a feeling as I once did.
As unreasoning fear filled me, I forced myself with the aid of silent prayer to stay outwardly calm and even took several photos. But I could not relax until I stepped again on solid ground.
A sense of vulnerability and lost control isn't always welcome, which makes it all the more surprising that less than two millennia ago a Jewish rabbi named Yeshua (aka Jesus) called such a state "blessed."
From a mount and on a plain, Yeshua taught his followers: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5:3; cf. Luke 6:21)
As he spoke Aramaic, the word for poor would have been ányâ, which means "bent down, afflicted, miserable, poor" (scholar John Peter Van Kasteren). To be poor meant to be vulnerable to abuse by the rich and the mighty.
So what does it mean to be like this in spirit?
A similar Aramaic word, ánwan, suggests an answer. Based on the same root as the other one above, it means "bending oneself down, humble, meek, gentle" (ibid).
It is not the circumstance of being vulnerable that the rabbi called blessed. It is the embrace of it, whether or not it is necessary to be so.
This is a hard teaching in any age, past or present. For none of us like to be vulnerable. Rich or not, we want to be secure, respected, and strong. In them, we see the path to happiness.
Oxford University scholar and priest John Henry Newman (A.D. 1801-1890) once wrote, "All bow down before wealth. Wealth is that to which the multitude of men pay an instinctive homage. They measure happiness by wealth; and by wealth they measure respectability ... It is a homage resulting from a profound faith ... that with wealth he may do all things.
"Wealth is one idol of the day and notoriety is a second ... Notoriety, or the making of a noise in the world, ... has come to be considered a great good in itself, and a ground of veneration."
How little times change.
Yet it is to the vulnerable, the poor in spirit, that Yeshua promises the "kingdom of heaven," not the comfortable (Luke 6:24-26). Property, health, fame, power, or achievement cannot win it.
How can we embrace poverty of spirit?
The answer is indirectly given in the same lesson by Yeshua. For he continued: "Blessed are those who mourn ... Blessed are the meek ... Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness ... Blessed are the merciful ... Blessed are the pure in heart ... Blessed are the peacemakers ... Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake." (cf. Matthew 5:4-11)
In short, be willing to "weep with those who weep" (cf. Romans 12:15), restrain your power out of concern for others, be unashamed of goodness, show mercy to the undeserving, keep God your top priority, make peace with those who wrong you, and do what is right even if society tells you it is abominable.
Even more challengingly, Yeshua asked his followers, "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who mistreat you... Give to every man who asks of you." (cf. Luke 6:27-28, 30; Matthew 5:38-48)
It is impossible to take seriously such ideals and remain comfortable and secure. We will be bruised, hurt, and exposed instead of safe behind the walls to which we cling.
But beyond those walls lie those poor in reality, not "in spirit." The hungry, strange, sick, imprisoned, and others -- God in distressing disguises (Matthew 25:31-46).
Let us love.
By John Rieping | Published 30 May 2015 in The Madera Tribune | All rights reserved |
The first book of Jewish scripture, Bereishit (aka Genesis), tells of the creation of the universe — once. Yet the origin of humanity is told twice.
As a writer myself, I suspect the author wanted us to pay particular attention to that part.
One sentence from the first telling has always delighted me: "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them." (1:27)
As a Christian, such words speak to me of the equal dignity of men and women. For Christianity sees our creation in the image and likeness of God as the root of our human dignity.
Now notice another implication: the image of God is displayed in humanity, but humanity is fully revealed in a couple -- not an individual.
That's hardly an American stance there. After all, the U.S. is a nation that especially prizes independence and self-reliance. Tough individualism marks our mythology, from the western frontier heroes to many of our superheroes.
However that isn't the only challenging thought of this verse.
Consider this: we may take the sexes of humanity for granted, but it is no absolute necessity. Some creatures do fine with only one sex (look up the female-only New Mexico whiptail lizard). Why would humanity's two sexes, together, show the divine image better than only one would?
As the rock band Boys Like Girls sang in a 2009 duet with Taylor Swift, "Maybe two is better than one," though I think we can go deeper than that.
The medieval thinker Tommaso di Aquino (A.D. 1225-1274) once claimed Christians had to admit that the abundance and variety of God's creations were intentional.
God, Tommaso wrote, wanted to share and show the divine goodness with and through creation. So God made many and diverse creatures because the creator's goodness "could not be fittingly reflected in just one creature." Thus "what each individual thing lacked in order to reflect the divine goodness would be made up for by other things." ("Summa Theologiae," 1, q. 47, a.1)
One just isn't enough. It is not that we, as individuals, are incomplete. Rather all creatures, at their best, offer little glimpses of the divine. We form a mosaic.
Even so, there's a more subversive idea here. For if humanity's two sexes can show the image of God better than one, then it seems they must not be identical. Men and women are equal in dignity, personhood, and humanity, but we differ. And we do so in more than where our mushy parts can be seen or are absent.
These differences, far from being bad, show the divine creator more fully than either sex could alone.
Perhaps the most obvious example of this is when a man and a woman, acting according to their natures, take part in creation itself by together bringing a new life into existence. It is hard to be more creator-like than that.
That relies on those aforementioned mushy parts and such, but that isn't all there is to it. There's a natural result of offspring that, ideally, shows us God in a special way: motherhood and fatherhood.
The Jewish and Christian scripture often uses such imagery of mother and father to describe God, as well as the image of a husband. As a spirit, God transcends male and female. Nonetheless, God is paternal, maternal, and spousal in the most wonderful of ways.
We can't reflect that in solitude. Others evoke our parental or spousal sides in us. Thus it is we cannot reach our human potential in isolation. Instead, it is our relationships with others (especially God) that expose us most fully, even to ourselves.
As God reportedly said in the beginning, it is not good for us to be alone (Bereishit/Genesis 2:18). So let we who claim to believe in God dare to love, patiently and perseveringly, like God loves us.
"Listen, and tell your grief: But God is singing! / God sings through all creation with His will. / Save the negation of sin, all is His music, / even the notes that set their roots in ill / to flower in pity, pardon or sweet humbling. / Evil finds harshness of the rack and rod / in tunes where good finds tenderness and glory.
"The saints who loved have died of this pure music, / and no one enters heaven till he learns, / deep in his soul at least, to sing with God."
— Jessica Powers, aka Sister Miriam of the Holy Spirit (1905-1988)
By John Rieping | Published 19 March 2015 in The Madera Tribune | All rights reserved |
In the philosopher Plato's great work "The Republic," his elder brother Glaucon is described as proposing an extreme test of morality to their teacher Socrates in the ancient city-state of Athens.
Glaucon felt that laws forced respectable men to walk "the same road" of justice due to fears of being punished as an evildoer or being powerless as a victim. Remove both fears and "the actions of the just would be [the same] as the actions of the unjust" -- immoral
There is only one way, he claimed, to test whether a virtuous life was better than a wicked one. We must compare the happiness of an "entirely unjust" man who has "the greatest reputation for justice" with another man whose situation is the opposite.
"Let him be the best of men, and let him be thought the worst ... and we shall see whether he will be affected by the fear of infamy and its consequences. And let him continue thus to the hour of death; being just and seeming to be unjust.
"When both have reached the uttermost extreme, the one of justice and the other of injustice, let judgment be given which of them is the happier of the two ... The just man who is thought unjust will be scourged, racked, bound ... Then he will understand that he ought to seem only, and not be, just."
Half of Glaucon's test would become reality more than 400 years later in the life and execution of a wandering rabbi, Yeshua (aka Jesus). In the eyes of Christians and Muslims, he was an entirely just man.
A superficial hearing of his final words would seem to support Glaucon's position however. According to one record, they include, "My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?" (Mark 15:34)
This plea is a reference to a hymn from the Jewish "Tehillim" (Hebrew for "songs of praise"). It begins, "My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Why are you so far away when I groan for help? Every day I call to you, my God, but you do not answer. Every night you hear my voice, but I find no relief." (Psalm 22:1-2)
Echoing Glaucon's test, it later continues, "But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people. All they who see me laugh me to scorn: they stick out the lip, they shake their heads, saying, 'He trusted on the LORD that he would deliver him, let him rescue him, for he delights in him!' " (Psalm 22:6-8)
"I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted within me." (Psalm 22:14)
Does that sound like happiness to you?
Yet, for Christians, these are not the final words. For beyond the agony of the cross we see a resurrection. The rabbi's cry was heard.
Near the end of the same song, the singer promises: "I will declare your name to my brethren; in the midst of the congregation will I praise you ... For he has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither has he hid his face from him; but when he cried to him, he heard ... The poor shall eat and be satisfied; they who seek the LORD shall praise him ..." (cf. Psalm 22:22, 24, 26a)
An unappreciated life and undeserved death can end far better than Glaucon imagined if God is one's hope. But in this we find a paradox. For don't Christians say Jesus is God and, if so, isn't his rescue by God a hoax? And who among us can claim to be so worthy of help?
Strangely, the answer to both concerns is the same: emptiness.
As the apostle Paul wrote to Christians in the Macedonian city of Philippi: "Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although he existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant ..." (Philippians 2:5-7a)
The life of the one Christians consider to be both God and man was like his death. For both involved radical self-emptying (in Greek, "kenosis").
Why? For the same reason we seek an empty cup when thirsty: so we can fill it.
Let us be humble enough to accept and lift up our own emptiness to God in prayer and in service. We can embrace God no other way than with empty arms.
By John Rieping | Published 7 March 2015 in The Madera Tribune | All rights reserved |
Few of the 300 writings by ancient Greek philosopher Epikouros survive today. One paradox said to be his we know only through an early Christian writer in North Africa, Lucius Lactantius (A.D. 250-325).
In it, the problem of suffering is posed as a riddle for those who believe any god cares for humanity.
"God either wants to eliminate bad things and cannot, or can but does not want to, or neither wishes to nor can, or both wants to and can," Epikouros allegedly wrote.
"If he wants to and cannot, then he is weak and this does not apply to god. If he can but does not want to, then he is spiteful, which is equally foreign to god's nature. If he neither wants to nor can, he is both weak and spiteful -- and so not a god.
"If he wants to and can, which is the only fitting thing for a god, where then do bad things come from? Or why does he not eliminate them?"
Throughout history, many believers in divinity have proposed solutions to this mystery. But perhaps none match that offered by Christianity, insofar as every element of its message is in part a reply to the problems of pain and evil.
A drawback of this is that any quick or brief response to the scandal of evil falls short, both of the question and of the depth and breadth of Christianity's answer. Yet even Christianity admits it has only "partial" understanding of such divine mysteries (1 Corinthians 12:12).
So what can be said?
First, let us be honest here. When the paradox of Epikouros most hits us is not in a classroom or amid peace. It pierces when you lose someone you love and there's no remedy. It smashes in when we do our best or worst and the results are terrible beyond expectation. It crushes when we feel trapped in misery with no hope left.
In such moments, we don't want a rebuttal. We ache for restoration, if not immediately then someday.
This too Christianity promises, but that can fail to comfort when doubts overwhelm any belief in such assurances. Such skepticism can be fed by past disappointments, when our pleas for help seemed fruitless.
Hence the problem of pain can be a problem of perception.
Imagine, for example, a deathly ill child brought to doctors for a cure that requires an agonizing treatment. The boy resists, so the doctors ask the parents to hold him down. What betrayal he may feel as his supposedly loving parents, who gave him life and provide for him, seem deaf to his cries for escape.
Sometimes the healing we seek frightens us more than the sickness that devours us. We may prefer destruction to change.
Alternately, we may not even realize we're dying at all if not for symptoms that shout too loudly for us to ignore, like despised prophets of doom.
"We need crises," writes Christian philosopher Peter Kreeft, "for we have spiritual sleeping sickness and need frequent alarms.
To unravel the paradox of Epikouros, though, is not a task for the mind so much as the heart. Both are precious, but the wounded first need aid, not insight.
The instinct of Christianity has always been that the mystery of evil can only be understood at the foot of another mystery -- the cross. For Christians assert as true what seems foolish to some: God chose to become man to liberate humanity from evil by suffering and dying.
Reflecting on and reacting to this mystery of the cross is the greatest answer to the mystery of evil any Christian heart can find. Yet how often we believers look away, whether the crucifix before us consists of metal or flesh.
"When Jesus came to Golgotha, they hanged him on a tree, / They drove great nails through hands and feet, and made a Calvary; / They crowned him with a crown of thorns, red were his wounds and deep, / For those were crude and cruel days, and human flesh was cheap.
"When Jesus came to Birmingham, they simply passed him by. / They would not hurt a hair of him, they only let him die; / For men had grown more tender, and they would not give him pain, / They only just passed down the street, and left him in the rain.
"Still Jesus cried, 'Forgive them, for they know not what they do,' / And still it rained the winter rain that drenched him through and through; / The crowds went home and left the streets without a soul to see, / And Jesus crouched against a wall, and cried for Calvary." (G.A. Studdert-Kennedy)
By John Rieping | Published 28 Feb 2015 in The Madera Tribune | All rights reserved |
"Empty is the argument of the philosopher that does not relieve any human suffering."
-- Epikouros (341-270 B.C.)
Greek philosopher Epikouros, one of the most popular of his day, saw pain as evil and the archenemy of happiness. To thwart it, he taught, one must fearlessly dwell on past or present enjoyments.
"Pleasure is our first and kindred good," he wrote. "It is the starting point of every choice and of every aversion, and to it we always come back, inasmuch as we make feeling the rule by which to judge of every good thing."
To maximize pleasure and minimize suffering, Epikouros advised avoiding marriage, religion, politics, the problems of others, and concern for the future. The well-being of the world is not one's responsibility, he claimed.
"The time when most of you should withdraw into yourself is when you are forced to be in a crowd," he wrote.
Lucius Annaeus Seneca (3 B.C. - A.D. 65) also believed in enjoying the present without worry about the future. But the Roman statesman and writer saw value in suffering.
"To be always fortunate, and to pass through life with a soul that has never known sorrow, is to be ignorant of one half of nature," he wrote.
Born in what is now Spain, Seneca followed the Greek philosophy of Stoicism, which taught that everyone has a spark of the universe's intelligent divine fire (aka Fate or Reason). To be happy, one had to live in harmony with this divine fire by virtues, which are how we apply reason to our lives.
“If you really want to escape the things that harass you, what you’re needing is not to be in a different place but to be a different person,” he wrote in a letter.
It isn't that we should behave unnaturally, he felt, but rather the opposite. We should act according to human nature, which is rational. We should govern the fires of desires with reason instead of being slaves to emotions or circumstances.
"We should every night call ourselves to account," he wrote. "What infirmity have I mastered today? What passions opposed? What temptation resisted? What virtue acquired? Our vices will abort of themselves if they be brought every day to confession."
He noted, "To err is human, but to persist [in wrongness] is diabolical."
Seneca believed virtue enables peace of mind, which lets us rise above suffering. It also allows us the pleasure of simply being ourselves instead of "assuming a pose."
"For it is torturous to be constantly watching oneself ... fearful of being caught out of our usual role. And we are never free from concern ... for many things happen that strip off our pretense against our will, and, though all this attention to self is successful, yet the life of those who live under a mask cannot be happy and without anxiety."
You may have already heard the words of Seneca more than you realize. Some of his sayings, such as "it's quality not quantity that matters," continue to be used by many to this day. The man who wrote, "The best ideas are common property," would surely approve.
Though Seneca wasn't a Christian, the ancient and medieval Christian Church recognized in him a kindred mind. One early Christian writer (Tertullian of Carthage, Africa) referred to him as "our Seneca."
Coincidentally, Seneca's elder brother, Gallio, appears in the Bible. The Roman official showed apathy towards a religious dispute involving the apostle Paul in the wealthy Greek city of Corinth (Acts 18:12-17).
In his letters, Paul would repeatedly display an attitude toward suffering that even today seems countercultural.
"I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is wanting of the sufferings of Christ, in my flesh, for his body, which is the church." (Colossians 1:24)
A core belief of Christianity is that God chose to become a man, Yeshua (aka Jesus), to suffer justice in place of all who have done wrong. By doing so, he earned for humanity a pardon for our crimes so that we could be free to return to God, who we reject by wrongdoing.
Paul's words point to this belief and a related one: the suffering of those united with God shares in the value of his anguish as a God-man who died for all.
Hence Paul could rejoice in suffering, because he -- like Jesus -- could offer it to God as a sacrifice for the benefit of those Paul loved.
So should we who claim to believe.
By John Rieping | Published 11 Sept 2014 in The Madera Tribune | All rights reserved |
“There is a certain poetic value, and that a genuine one, in this sense of having missed the full meaning of things. There is beauty, not only in wisdom, but in this dazed and dramatic ignorance.”
-- Journalist and author G.K. Chesterton
One of the peculiarities of polite conversations is they tend to begin with the deepest questions that often receive the shallowest of answers.
Think back to the last time you ran into someone, whether vaguely familiar or a stranger, with whom talking was an expected courtesy. You exchanged revelations to satisfy the ignorance of the other, whether that lack of information was spoken or assumed.
Who are you? What do you do? How are you? There are those who will gladly inform you about these topics like a dog happily fetching a ball, eager to run and skillful in performance. Some offer merely acceptable replies. Then there are the ones who have to think about the answer.
Be wary. Those are the ones in danger of possibly taking your interest seriously.
We may satisfy this oft-assumed curiosity with a name, a place of origin, a job, or a relationship that binds us — however weakly — with the one with whom we speak. Yet such questions are metaphysical puzzles wherein may lurk dragons fair or foul.
In fair form, the dragon may be one of satisfaction and comfort in who and what we believe ourselves to be — a good daughter, son, spouse, student, worker, friend, lover, Christian, Muslim, atheist, athlete, thinker, etc. In venomous form, the dragon may be shame and doubt over who and what we believe ourselves to be — broken, dumb, fat, ugly, unlovable, old, addicted, useless, abandoned, etc. We find our value in our self image, regardless of how true it may be, and present it to others more than we realize.
And these dragons can sink their poisonous teeth into more than ourselves.
In late August, one such reptile showed itself at the Madera Unified School Board meeting in central California in which some parents expressed concerns about a man hired to work with at-risk students. He was a convicted, imprisoned, and released felon who in the past decade has worked professionally in gang and drug intervention.
As one parent said, “A felon is a felon, is a felon.”
Such thinking works well when speaking of inanimate objects. When I plug in my cell phone to charge it before I sleep at night, I would be a bit puzzled if I woke up and found it had transformed into a toaster. The only changes common to objects are that of decline: food goes bad, toys break, clothing wears out, and so on.
With animals, including humans, such a mindset can mislead. A gentle household dog may meet up with other pet dogs at night and roam the area together brutally attacking livestock like a feral wolf pack. A once good student may become a poor one when strong emotion grips the heart, and the reverse is just as possible. And so on.
We well know that change is possible and likely, but the dominant threads pulling on our heart — such as love of a child or spouse — make us foresee good or bad changes without cause, and distrust what does not fit our vision.
On Wednesday, Pope Francis pondered the words of the Jewish rabbi Yeshua (Jesus) in the Gospels: “Be merciful, just as your father is” (Loukas/Luke 6:36). This command of Yeshua is easier or harder to follow depending on “who” is the person involved. What of jailed criminals, Francis asked on behalf of skeptical Christians, must we be merciful to them too?
“Some will say, ‘This is dangerous. These are bad people.’ Listen carefully: any one of us is capable of doing what these men and women in prison have done. We all sin and make mistakes in life. They are not worse than you or me. Mercy overcomes any wall or barrier, and leads us always to seek the face of the human being. And it is mercy that changes hearts and lives, that is able to regenerate a person or enable him to be newly reintegrated in society.”
Mercy disturbs our clear understanding of “who” and “what” we or others may be, and it may complicate our lives. But it liberates as well. Because mercy is a dragon slayer that reminds us where our value truly lies — in our shared humanity, made in the image of God (Beresheit/Genesis 1:27).
By John Rieping | Published in The Madera Tribune | All rights reserved |
In ancient times, today was known as Lazarus Saturday. The name refers to the organizer of a supper that Yeshua (Jesus) ate in the community of Bethany “six days before the Passover” (cf. John 12:1).
That naturally wasn’t the first visit of Yeshua, but it would be his last.
The Greco-Syrian physician Loukas (Luke) describes the first meeting (Luke 10:38-42). Yeshua had arrived in the village of Bethany, which sat a few miles east of the metropolis of Jerusalem, and a woman named Marta (Martha) welcomed the traveling rabbi into her home. While Marta busied herself with serving her famous guest, her sister Mirriam (Mary) sat at his feet and listened.
This irked her sister, probably for multiple reasons. For one, Mirriam’s pose was customary of male students listening to a religious scholar.
Jewish boys began their formal education around the ages of 5-7, either in the synagogue or at home. They would first be taught the Hebrew alphabet, the Aleph Bet, and then memorize and study verses from the first five books of the Bible, the Pentateuch.
Note that I said “boys.” Jewish women received little formal instruction, did not read from the Bible in the synagogue, were not taught Jewish law, could only observe religious ceremonies, and weren’t expected to attend on festivals and feast days.
Mirriam’s adoption of this student role before a rabbi was scandalous.
Moreover, Marta didn’t think it was fair that her sister was just sitting around while she was busy with the work of being a good host. So she complained: Rabbi, don’t you care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her to help me!
Surely to Marta’s surprise, Yeshua not only didn’t scold Mirriam for her revolutionary behavior, he praised it: Marta, Marta, you are full of care and trouble about many things, but only one is necessary. Mirriam has chosen that good part, and it will not be taken from her.
This wasn’t the only time Yeshua defied expectations in a radical way. Those unwilling to accept this struggled with his hard teachings. From there, it was only a step onward to reject the teacher too.
The memoir of the “beloved disciple” says that when Eleazar (Lazarus) later died of illness, Yeshua wept, prayed, and called his friend forth from the cave in which his corpse had been entombed (John 11:1-44).
Talk of this alleged miracle frightened Jewish religious leaders.
It wasn’t the first time a self-proclaimed messiah had arisen. Decades before, a tall and handsome slave of King Herod gathered followers, declared himself king of the Jews, plundered and burned the royal palace at Jericho, and did the same elsewhere, according to Jewish historian Josephus Flavius. The commander of Herod’s infantry led Roman soldiers against this “messiah,” Simon of Peraea, and beheaded him.
Likewise a shepherd named Athronges and his four brothers led a flock of rebels against Herod Archelaus. Less than a dozen years later, Judas of Galilee marshaled a violent fight against the Roman census. All of the lives of these so-called messiahs had ended amidst bloodshed, and Jewish leaders decided it would be better if only one died this time — Yeshua — instead of many.
In this context, Yeshua ate in Bethany with his friends Eleazar, Marta, and Mirriam in the house of Simon the leper on the sabbath (Matthew 26:6-13; John 12:1-11). Unexpectedly, Mirriam washed and anointed his feet with costly scented ointment and wiped them dry with her long hair.
This was another scandalous gesture by Mirriam, and yet once again her teacher praised it. Leave her be, he told his indignant apostle Yehuda of Keriot (Judas Iscariot), for it is for the day of my burial she kept this spikenard.
It was the custom of the day to perfume the newly dead to soften the eventual stench of decay.
The next day, which Christians call Palm Sunday, Yeshua rode a young donkey into nearby Jerusalem. There was symbolism in the choice of transportation, for a horse was the mount of war and the donkey a steed of peace.
He was met with cries greeting him as the king of Israel and you can easily imagine the alarm of those fearful of another disastrous false messiah.
So began the time that fourth-century Christians called the “Great Week” (now known as Holy Week).
Spy Wednesday was the day Judas joined those plotting against Yeshua; Holy Thursday, his last supper; Good Friday, his death; Holy Saturday; and Easter Sunday, new life.