Category Archives: Wisdom

The Crucifixion – Another Look

         As we are in the midst of the “Easter season,” it might be interesting to take note of what the Bible says and compare it to what we have thought and heard all our lives.  I am not trying to be critical or to make any changes in anyone’s celebrations.  Whatever we think or do will not change what actually happened.  This is just another trip down one of the little traveled by-ways of the Word.   (Scriptures are printed at the last of the study and the underlining for emphasis is mine.)


Many years ago I was trying to reconcile the traditional idea of the crucifixion of Jesus on a Friday and the resurrection on Sunday with Matthew 12:39-40.  Because we are so familiar with the Jewish Sabbath beginning at sundown on Friday evening, it seems only reasonable that Jesus was crucified on Friday.  However, there is no way that Jesus’ own specific prophecy can be fulfilled by the time between Friday sundown and Sunday sunrise.  Even counting part of a day as a full day will not provide three days and three nights.

With that in mind I decided to work backwards from a known time, sunrise the first day of the week, our Sunday.  Going backwards three days and three nights from that point puts the crucifixion on our Wednesday rather than Friday.  That would make the ‘Last Supper’ on Tuesday evening and the trials on Wednesday morning.  (See the attached Crucifixion Timeline.)

But that left the dilemma of how the Sabbath could be Wednesday night and Thursday instead of the usual Friday night and Saturday.  Then I found that it was possible, because of the celebrations the Jews observed, that there could be TWO Sabbaths in a week.  One such celebration was the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the day immediately following the Passover (referred to in John 19:31 as a ‘high day’).  This day could fall on any day of the week just as our holidays can move through the days of the week.  Then the regular Sabbath would also be observed.

This would make possible the literal fulfillment of Matthew 12:39-40.  It would also allow a day in between the Sabbaths for the women to purchase and prepare the spices they brought for Jesus’ body; something they would be prevented from doing on a Sabbath of either kind.  If Jesus were crucified on a Friday and rose Sunday morning, there would not have been opportunity for the women to purchase and prepare the spices they brought to the tomb.  The day between Sabbaths allows time to prepare for what the scripture says occurred.

It is likely that Jesus actually rose from the dead shortly after sundown on Saturday evening.  This would correspond to the time that the priests reaped a representative sheaf of grain to use in the sacrifice of firstfruits early the next morning.  We are not specifically told when the resurrection took place, only when the empty tomb was found.  A Saturday evening resurrection and Sunday morning presentation would fit well with the typology of the feast of firstfruits.  The grain for the Firstfruits was harvested after sundown, processed through the night and then presented the next morning.  Jesus was both our Passover (I Corinthians 5:7) and the Firstfruits from the dead (I Corinthians 15:20, 23).

Again, I neither require, nor even ask, anyone to agree or make any changes.  But I think it is something interesting to contemplate.  Have a blessed time celebrating His resurrection.  THAT is what is most important.

Click the timeline image below to enlarge and view.

Screen Shot 2014-04-08 at 12.19.32 PM



Matthew 12:39 But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:

40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.


John 13:1 Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.


John 18:1 When Jesus had spoken these words, he went forth with his disciples over the brook Cedron, where was a garden, into the which he entered, and his disciples.

2 And Judas also, which betrayed him, knew the place: for Jesus ofttimes resorted thither with his disciples.

3 Judas then, having received a band of men and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, cometh thither with lanterns and torches and weapons.


13 And led him away to Annas first; for he was father in law to Caiaphas, which was the high priest that same year.


24 Now Annas had sent him bound unto Caiaphas the high priest.


28 Then led they Jesus from Caiaphas unto the hall of judgment: and it was early; and they themselves went not into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled; but that they might eat the passover.

29 Pilate then went out unto them, and said, What accusation bring ye against this man?


John 19:1 Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him.


13 When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha.

14 And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King!


17 And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha:

18 Where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst.


30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.

31 The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.


38 And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus.


41 Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid.

42 There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews’ preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand.


Luke 23:56 And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.

Luke 24:1 Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them.


John 20:1 The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.


19 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.


24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.

26 And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.


Leviticus 23:6 And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the LORD: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread.

7 In the first day ye shall have an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein.


Leviticus 23:10 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest:


Leviticus 23:15 And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete:

16 Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the LORD.


I Corinthians 5:7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:


I Corinthians 15:20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.


I Corinthians 15:23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits ; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.


Filed under Faith, Wisdom

Poetry And Philosophy

      Roy & Pearl Moss a O

 As I was growing up I never thought of my parents as particularly poetic or philosophical.  They were down-to-earth people concerned with raising a family and taking care of business. Since they passed away (Mom in 1990 and Dad in 1991) I have realized that their oft-repeated sayings have found lodging in my psyche and directed my steps far more than I used to realize.

         My mother, Pearl, operated by a principle that I find myself emulating to this day.  When preparing for a trip or a project she would frequently say, and always act upon, “It is better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.”

This uncomplicated saying holds a bucketful of advice in a thimbleful of words.  An even greater simplification – without as much punch – is simply, “Be prepared.”  Sometimes we returned from an infrequent vacation with clothes that had never left the suitcase, or a picnic with unopened cans and sacks, but no one ever lacked, at least in my memory.

This type of thought process carried through for these children of the Great Depression in preparation for business and retirement.  My dad always had cash hidden somewhere for an emergency or a good deal.  At the estate auction my wife and sister-in-law were doing some last-minute cleanup of a steel plate desk my dad had made and used in his shop.  As one of them took out and turned over a drawer to empty the last remnants of whatever from it, she found a magnetic clip on the bottom of the drawer with a few hundred dollars in it.  If he found a bargain, he was ready to deal and knew that cash brought the best price.

This would not be a bad philosophy to apply from a childhood piggy bank to the halls of national leadership.  Working the other way of winging it and hoping may turn around to bite a lot of people real soon.  Hoping for the best is not a plan.

Another saying my mother used frequently was, “Pretty is as pretty does.”

I was so young when I first heard this that I had no concept of what she was saying. Now it is obvious to me that face and form are merely external and slowly, constantly changing.  Time and gravity win over all of us eventually.  But a gracious spirit, a good attitude, and kind actions are a beauty that time and gravity cannot mar.  The entertainment world is a constant reminder that good looks do not always, or even often, indicate good judgment or a pleasing private personality.

Though my dad (Roy, Sr.) was a hard-working, no-nonsense kind of man, many of his teachings that left the most lasting impression were expressed in simple poems that I first heard from him in the 1950s.  I include the three which had the most impact here.  You will notice the theme.



Good, better, best,

Never let it rest,

‘Til your good is better

And your better is best.


As I look back over a fifty-eight year working career from the time he first put me to work in a welding shop at the age of ten, I can see that – though I sometimes fell short – his poetry goaded and directed my steps.  I generally stayed productively busy, though I do not think there was a time when I held more than six jobs at once.

This first poem spurred me to reach for excellence.  Our mindsets help determine what information sticks with us as important.  What my dad taught gave power to Paul Harvey’s comment that, “There is always room at the top.”  The poem helped me understand that the room was reserved for those who tried a little harder and worked a little longer.  Dad’s voice ringing in my memory gave import to the fact that in the Olympics the difference between silver and gold is often measured in hundredths of a second.  Just a little extra effort can make a world of difference.  I never heard him say that anything was “good enough for government work.”  He was not working for the government.  He worked for his family and his own self-respect.



A good thing to remember,

A better thing to do,

Is to work with the construction gang,

And not with the wrecking crew.


Though just a child at the time, I remember the tension in our home while my parents were deciding for my dad to leave a good, steady job with Shell Oil and go into partnership in the oilfield welding business.  As a result of their decision I spent several years working in the oil field as a welder – when I was not going to school, being a salesman in a dry goods store, or spinning records as an announcer (disc jockey) at the local radio station.

This welding experience taught me to build and build well, or Papa would cut it apart and direct me to start over.  The oil business is dangerous, and people’s lives can depend on doing the job right.  We did many kinds of shop and field welding.  My dad not only wanted things done; he wanted them done right, and right now.

Even a small town has vandals and thieves who ‘break through and steal.’  My working youth taught me the satisfaction of doing something constructive.  Though I did not hear him say it, I think my dad would have heartily agreed with a sentiment he would have known well from growing up on a farm: ‘It takes a wise farmer to build a barn, but any old mule can kick one down.’



Early to bed and early to rise

Once made man healthy,

Wealthy and wise.

But now days the man

Who would fain make his mark

Has got to keep hustling

‘Til long after dark.


My dad lived this one.  One summer evening I was at the shop welding atop a tanker truck.  During a break to change rods I saw my dad giving the signal to roll up the cables and head for the house.  Surprised, I looked at my watch and discovered that we had only put in eleven hours that day.  I climbed down from the truck with a slight worry on my mind: “Why were we shutting down so early?”  I never did find out why we quit when we did, but it was nice to have a short day once in a while.

One thing that has bothered me in my years of ministry is that I seldom felt like I was working.  From my youth, work meant getting dirty, sweaty, burned and tired.  Many nights after work I stood in front of the bathroom mirror so covered with dirt and grease that I could hardly recognize myself.  My thick glasses were about the only thing that gave a hint of who I might be.  After wrestling iron objects, fighting with an electric hand grinder, and sometimes losing, or swinging a sixteen pound sledgehammer for hours, sitting reading, or planning, or dealing with people and their problems hardly fit my internalized notion of ‘work.’  Reading, writing, studying and socializing were things I did related to school when I did not have to ‘work.’

That part about “hustling ‘til long after dark” would not have been so bad had we not usually started before daylight.  For years I have joked with people by asking the question, “You mean six o’clock comes TWICE a day?”  More than once I have, after a long day of preparation, taught the Wednesday night Bible study in uniform, and then gone straight to the police station to ride the 10 P. M. to 6 A. M. shift as chaplain.  Then I would be up around 8:30 or 9:00 to help with the weekly church bake sale at Phillips Petroleum.  I think my dad would have smiled at that.

He was a great one for getting the job done whatever the difficulty.  I was nearby once when one of the hired hands came in from the field with a story about how he could not figure out a way to cut into two pieces of pipe so that he could then weld them together at about a thirty degree angle.  My dad listened to his story, got up and went to the office, only to return with a final check for that worker.  When the man was gone my dad climbed in his truck, went to the location and finished the job.  His often repeated advice to me when I was stumped by a problem was, “Don’t say can’t.  Say ‘can’t hardly,’ and then do it.  Remember, success comes in cans.”  Under that kind of tutelage and example, excuses are not of much use.  You just do not get a chance to develop skill at using them.

My parents were not slave drivers or hard people with whom to live.  They were God-fearing, hard-working, salt of the earth types, forged in depression and hardened by war.  They had to struggle to survive the challenges of their times.  But they never asked anyone to do what they were not willing to do, and probably had already done, and more.  As long as my days frequently were, Dad’s were longer and a way of life, not just weekends and summers.

I do not know that my parents ever read the great philosophers or studied the poems of Joyce Kilmer or Robert Frost.  Their philosophy and poetry were as practical as a pair of work gloves.  The implementation of their ideals produced things solid as iron that have already endured for generations. Their philosophies worked for them and produced a poetry of life that still reverberates.

Roy & Pearl Moss b O




Filed under Reflections, Wisdom