The perfect house

A home is a sanctuary, an entrance into a special place to recharge and restore.
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The perfect home for me involves a lot of places to lounge about near natural sunlight.

There would be reading nooks with lots of pillows.
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The bedroom would have a view onto the garden.
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The dining room would have an entire wall be a window. The focus is on the outside, not the inside. Notice the sparse furniture. Simple, efficient.
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The yard would be enclosed in such a way that nobody could get in, but the walls would be concealed on my side with plants. This would provide safety without a sense of being trapped.
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The back yard would have a staircase
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That led to an outside room, perhaps like a Japanese tea house. But it would have cushions and pillows.
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In some ways I like the idea of an outside bathroom. It feels daring and bold.
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But it also seems like it would be cold and drafty.
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So then there is the idea of a bathroom that has a lot of light – again, the idea of a private yard would be necessary.
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A view out onto a Japanese tea garden would be excellent.
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The house would have no straight lines – all curves and waves, with white or cream on the walls. The color would come from the floor and accessories like pillows.
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And there would be a lot of books. And tea. And craft supplies.

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Park made out of negative space

There is a small public park off the square in Lewisburg, TN that was constructed out of negative space. There used to be a building there. I don’t know the history of what was there, and why it was destroyed. Usually businesses go out of business and then someone buys the building and starts another business. Perhaps there was a fire?

Whatever the reason, it is a very interesting use of space to make a public park in between buildings, in a place where most people would see it as wasted space or a place to rebuild. It is nice that this is open to the public for free, any time.

Here is a view of it before you enter.
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Here is one from the side.
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Getting closer.
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From the side, with an emphasis on the immense wall or gate that frames the park.
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This is who made the entrance.
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There are inspirational signs around the park. I wonder how they decided upon which quotes would be included?
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A view of one of the benches, showing the small yard.
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There is brickwork on the ground towards the back, but I was fascinated by the crumbled bit.
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A wall is stair-stepped brick.
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The wall has a lot of interesting nooks and crannies.
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There is a long wooden structure, perhaps a shed, in the back. It is perhaps four feet deep, and maybe seven feet high.
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It has a door to the far right.
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I wonder who has the key to this lock, and what is inside?
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A view of one of the support posts.
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The commemorative sign.
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I do wonder, since it is a public park, if they thought about the fact that not everybody celebrates Christmas? Do they have decorations for other religious holidays?

Lewisburg alleyway

This alleyway is off the square in Lewisburg, TN. It was a dreary day in November, so I’ve improved the pictures a little to show some color. Overall it was pretty grey.
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I’m not sure what it is about negative spaces that are so appealing to me these days. This particular day I explored three of them.

We surmise that this is a defunct ATM. There was a “People’s Bank” to the right, built in 1904.
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The light has the number 10 on it.
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I like that this office has its entrance on the alley, not the street.
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Playing adventure video games makes me notice details. But then it also makes me want to take everything not nailed down too.
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Cool old stairs seen through the glass side door of the newspaper office.
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Notice the guy wires to the right. They are attached to the electrical pole.
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A more realistic idea of the lighting that day. Ginkgo leaves everywhere, but I didn’t find the tree.
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A reflection from the marble of the ATM
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Traveling house

This is on the corner of a Presbyterian church’s lot, like an afterthought. The style doesn’t match anything around it. It is for rent, but looks like it has been abandoned for quite a while. It reminds me of the stories in Speculative Fiction that talk about a traveling house – one that isn’t in the same spot for very long. Sometimes they are magic shops.

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This would make an interesting studio / workshop / place to host retreats.

It is long and narrow.
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Note the awning over the door, and the second floor door on the building next to it.
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Putting the camera to the front door window, a view inside. What interesting arches! I wonder what this was. Is that a small window for a receptionist? It seems far bigger on the inside than it appears to be outside.
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Another angle.
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A view through the front window. An office, and a small kitchen with coffee-themed knick-knacks.
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Showing the interesting detail (Spanish?) and how close it is to the church. I feel this was built long after the church was. Did they need extra money? Was it a rectory? Why does it not match the building style then? If it is for rent, does this mean it is a private building? There is a sign for a shingle outside.
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The back door. My back is up against the church to take this shot. There is a small (foot-wide) moat/ditch you have to step over to get to this door, with a large drain to the right. I’d want a bridge.
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Looking up from the back door, a sign of a chimney. It is not visible from the front or side. It is for an unusual internal fireplace.
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The side furthest from the church, in a small alley. Interesting awning and opaque glass on this side.
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This is a view of the church.
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These are pictures of the church wall nearest the building. It is made of two different kinds of brick – Old and New. So – is the Old a façade? Is the New a rebuild? The Old is what faces the street, and matches the rest of the church. This part of the building appears to have been constructed after the church was built.

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Invisible house

I came across an empty lot on our wanderings in Lewisburg, TN.
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The address is 216 W. Church Street. The last public record of this house says that it sold for $500 in 2004.

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It had to be an interesting house with such an interesting threshold.

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It deserved a closer look.

Standing on the threshold looking at the yard.
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Something is up with this lot. This is just off the main square. There are several businesses nearby, along with churches. Why would this remain vacant? It has been so for a long time, judging by the grass that has grown up, obliterating any sight of the foundation.

I decided to proceed cautiously, and stay on the paved areas.

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At the end of a long-disused and much-overgrown driveway. It had been paved but now is grass.

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It looks like someone had lived in the garage.

Stepping to the side of the garage – look at all these different textures!
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If this were a videogame you’d know that something interesting was behind this knot in the tree.
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Then I stepped off the path to look at the arbor, the tangle of vines that were growing up at the back of the property.
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There are iridescent Christmas lights entwined in it – so this property hasn’t been abandoned too long.
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They are really interesting looking.
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At this point my husband called to me to tell me that the neighborhood cat (a white one) who was visiting with him started shaking when he noticed where I was, so perhaps there was something there that I’d not noticed.

I left a gift there, something small that I had brought with me, just in case.

It reminds me of when I was in England many years ago and went walking through a sheep pasture to get to some Roman ruins. Nothing on the sign at the road indicated that it wasn’t just any set of ruins, but a temple to Mithras. The temple was not intact by any stretch of the imagination. There was the outline of a foundation, and the walls were about a foot high. The entire area was maybe 8 feet wide by 16 feet deep. I could see that there was some elevated area towards the back.

There was a metal sign near the foundation telling me that this was dedicated to Mithras, and a bit about who this was. Mithras was a Zoroastrian name for God, before the idea of God had come to that area (Persia). The Magi were Zoroastrian priests. His feast day is December 25th. The Roman soldiers respected Mithras because he defeated the forces of darkness and was a warrior. There are several ruins of temples to Mithras all along Hadrian’s wall.

I knew, deep within my bones, that I needed to take very little into that small area – certainly not a purse. But I also knew that I needed to take a coin, and I fortunately had a copper penny with me. Copper is a good gift, especially if it is shiny.

When I reached the back of the temple I found that there was a small altar there, and it was covered in coins and tiny wildflowers. I paused and left my offering. I found out later that this was a replica altar – the real one was in a museum in Newcastle. What is amusing to me is that the site itself is far more meaningful than the altar. The altar, without the site, is an empty symbol.

Some places are like this, where we have to leave something there as an offering, or a gift, or an appeasement. We have to take nothing else in so that nothing can attach to it. Usually, the thing that you take in is something small, something found that day and acquired cheaply. It is wise to take precautions and be mindful before going into certain areas that have been charged up with energy.

(photos taken November 2015 in Lewisburg, TN)

Edit to add these screen captures –

From the GPS 3D image
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About what the house was when it was a house –
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The Condensed Gospel chapter 6 (part B)

Crucified between two criminals

They made their way to Golgotha (which means “Skull Place”). It was late morning by this point. There were two criminals who were crucified that same day along with Jesus. There was one on either side of him. This fulfilled the scripture which said “He was counted among the outlaws.”

Jesus said “Father, forgive them, because they don’t know what they are doing.” They offered him bitter wine with an anesthetic called gall in it but he refused to drink it after he tasted it.

Pilate had the charge against him mounted above him and written in Greek, Latin and Hebrew. It said “This is Jesus the Nazarene, the King of the Jews.” Many Jews read the sign because Golgotha was near the city. The chief priests said to Pilate “Don’t write that he is ‘the King of the Jews’, but that ‘he claimed to be the King of the Jews’.” Pilate replied, “I have written what I have written.”

Four soldiers took Jesus’ clothes when they crucified him, dividing them between them. They decided to cast lots for his tunic because it was woven as one piece, without seams, so they didn’t want to tear it up. In doing this they fulfilled the scripture that said “They divided my clothes among them, and they cast lots for my clothing.” The soldiers then sat down there to guard him.

The passers-by were yelling insults at him, shaking their heads and saying “You said you would demolish the Temple and rebuild it in three days!? Save yourself by getting off that cross if you are the Messiah!”

Likewise, the chief priests and scribes were mocking him among themselves and saying “He saved other people but he can’t save himself! Let the ‘Messiah’, the ‘King the Jews’, save himself now so we can see and believe in him! He said that he is God’s son. If God loves him, then let God rescue him!”

One of the criminals being crucified alongside Jesus also began to mock him, saying “Save yourself and us if you’re the Messiah!” But the other criminal rebuked him, saying “Don’t you have any fear of God since you’re being punished in the same way? We deserve to be punished like this for the things we’ve done, but this man is completely innocent.” Then he added “Jesus, Lord, think of me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus replied “Truly, you will be with me today in paradise.”

MT 27:33-44, MK 15:22-32, LK 23:32-43, JN 19:17-24

Jesus’ provision for his mother

Jesus’ mother, along with Mary Magdalene and his aunt Mary (who was the wife of Clopas), were standing by his cross. When Jesus noticed his mother standing with the disciple he loved, he said “Woman, here is your son.” To the disciple he said, “Here is your mother.” From that point on the disciple made her a part of his family.

JN 19:25-27

Jesus dies

Darkness came over all the earth from noon until three. Jesus knew that all the Scriptures had been fulfilled at this point. Around three pm he yelled out “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, My God, why have you abandoned me?”

The people standing by thought he was calling out for Elijah. Jesus then called out, saying “I’m thirsty!” Someone ran to get a sponge, soaked up some sour wine that was in a nearby jar, and put it on a long hyssop reed to hold up to his mouth so he could drink. Another person said “Let’s wait to see if Elijah comes to rescue him!”

After Jesus had some of the wine, he said with a loud voice “Father, I entrust my spirit into your hands. It is finished!” He bowed his head, breathed his last, and released his spirit.

Suddenly the curtain that separated the Holy of Holies from the rest of the sanctuary ripped in half from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks broke in half, and the tombs of the dead were broken open. The bodies of the righteous were raised from the dead. They left their tombs after Jesus was resurrected and walked to Jerusalem, where many people saw them.

The centurion and the soldiers who were guarding Jesus saw all that had happened and were terrified. They said “This man really was the Son of God!” The crowd that had gathered to watch the spectacle went home, striking their chests in grief after they witnessed the events.

MT 27:45-54, MK 15:33-39, LK 23:44-48, JN 19:28-30

Women with him

Many women were there who had followed and helped Jesus from when he was in Galilee. They were watching the crucifixion from a distance. They included Mary Magdalene, Mary who was James and Joseph’s mother, Salome, and the mother of James and John (the sons of Zebedee). Many other women had traveled with him up to Jerusalem.

MT 27:55-56, MK 15:40-41, LK 23:49

Jesus’ side pierced

The Jews didn’t want the bodies to stay on the cross through the next day because not only was it the Sabbath, but it was also the first day of Passover. They asked Pilate to have the men’s legs broken to hasten their death so that their bodies could be removed before the Sabbath began. The soldiers came and broke the legs of the two men who had been crucified alongside Jesus. They saw that Jesus was already dead when they came to him, so they did not break his legs. However, a soldier used a spear to pierce his side and blood and water immediately flowed out.

The one who saw this has told you this so that you might believe. He speaks the truth and is convinced that what he is saying is true.

These things fulfilled the Scriptures that say “None of his bones will be broken” and “They will look upon the One they have pierced.”

JN 19:31-37

The burial

Joseph, a wealthy man from Arimathea in Judea, came to Golgotha in the evening. He was an important member of the Sanhedrin who had not agreed with what they had decided to do about Jesus. He was also a righteous man and secretly one of Jesus’ followers. He looked forward to the coming of the kingdom of God.

He boldly approached Pilate to claim Jesus’ body. Pilate agreed to his request once he learned from the centurion that Jesus had already died. He was surprised that he had died so quickly.

Joseph removed Jesus’ body from the cross and wrapped it with fine linen he had bought. Nicodemus (the Pharisee who had earlier come at night to secretly talk with Jesus) was also there and he brought a large mixture of myrrh and aloe. They used it along with the linen to prepare Jesus’ body in accordance with Jewish burial customs.

Joseph placed the body in an unused tomb that was cut into the rock in a nearby garden. They did this because they did not have time to fully prepare the body because the Sabbath was quickly approaching. Joseph rolled a large stone over the entrance and then left.

Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Joseph were seated nearby, watching where the body was placed. They returned to where they were staying and prepared spices and perfumes for the body. Then they rested, because it was the Sabbath.

MT 27:57-61, MK 15:42-47, LK 23:50-56, JN 19:38-42

The closely guarded tomb

The next day the chief priests and Pharisees assembled before Pilate and said “Sir, we remember that while that liar was alive he said ‘I will rise again after three days’. Therefore, we request that you give orders for the tomb to be secured until then. If not, his disciples may steal his body and tell everyone that he has been raised from the dead. If they do that it will make a bad situation worse.”

Pilate told them to use some soldiers as a guard saying “Go make it secure in the best way you know.” Then they left and secured the tomb by putting a seal around the stone and posting guards.

MT 27:62-66

Resurrection morning

Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, Joanna, and Salome went to the tomb while it was still dark on the first day of the week, after the Sabbath had ended. They brought the spices and perfumes they had prepared to anoint the body. They were wondering among themselves how they would roll back the stone that was covering the entrance to the tomb.

An angel of the Lord suddenly descended from heaven, causing the earth to shake. He rolled back the stone door and then sat upon it. He shone with a brilliant light and his robe was snow-white. The guards were paralyzed with fear when they saw him. The women bowed down to the ground, amazed and terrified.

The angel said to the women “Do not be afraid! I know that you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. Why are you looking among the dead for the living? He is not here – he has been resurrected! Remember how he told you when he was in Galilee that the Son of Man would be betrayed into the hands of sinners, be crucified, and will rise on the third day?” Then they remembered that Jesus had said this.

The angel continued, saying “Come and see where they put him. Go quickly and tell his disciples ‘He has been raised from the dead. He is going ahead to Galilee – you will see him there, just as he said.’ Make sure you tell them this.”

The women, trembling with amazement and alarm, ran from the tomb to tell the other disciples the news.

MT 28:1-8, MK 16:1-8, LK 24:1-8, JN 20:1

Mary Magdalene and the other women see Jesus

Mary saw a man in the garden not far from the tomb. She assumed he was the gardener. He was Jesus, but she did not recognize him. When he said “Mary”, she instantly knew who he was.

“Teacher!” She exclaimed, reaching for him.

He cautioned her, saying “Don’t hold on to me, because I haven’t yet gone up to my Father. But go and tell my brothers that I am ascending to our Father – mine and yours. I am leaving for Galilee, have them meet me there.”

The other women saw him as well, and they held his feet and worshipped him.
The women reported to the disciples on all that had happened and relayed the message from the angel and Jesus to travel to Galilee, yet they didn’t believe them. The disciples thought they were making up the story.

MT 28:9-10, MK 16:9-11, LK 24:9-11, JN 20:14-18

Peter and John go to the tomb

Peter and John ran to the tomb. John outran Peter and got there first. He stooped down to look into the tomb and saw the linen cloths, but he stayed outside. Then Peter arrived and went inside the tomb. He saw the linen cloths for the body along with the linen that was used to wrap Jesus’ head folded up and separate from the rest.

John, who had gotten there first, entered the tomb after Peter and when he saw the linen cloths he believed. At this point they still did not understand the Scripture that said Jesus must rise from the dead. Then the disciples returned home.

JN 20:3-10, LK 24:12

The soldiers are bribed to lie

While the women were returning to the disciples, the soldiers who had been guarding the tomb reported what had happened to the chief priests. The priests met with the elders to decide what to do. They gave the soldiers a lot of money and told them “Say ‘His disciples stole his body while we were sleeping.’ If Pilate hears about this we will handle it and cover for you.” The soldiers took the bribe and did as they were told. This story has been repeated among the Jews to this very day.

MT 28:11-15

On the road to Emmaus

The same day, two of Jesus’ followers were on the way to a village named Emmaus. It is about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were discussing everything that had happened while they were walking. While they were talking and arguing, Jesus began to walk along with them but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him. Jesus asked them, “What are you two arguing about on your way?” They stopped walking and looked dejected.
Cleopas answered, “Are you the only person visiting in Jerusalem who hasn’t heard the news?”
“What news?” Jesus asked.

They said “All the news about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet that was powerful in word and deed before God and everyone, and the fact that our own Temple priests and leaders handed him over to the civil authorities to be sentenced to death and then crucified. We had hoped that he was the promised Messiah who had come to liberate Israel. In addition to all of this, three days have passed. Also some of the women in our group told us something amazing. They went out early in the morning to the tomb and didn’t find his body there. They told us that they had seen an angel who said he was alive! A couple of people from our group went to the tomb to check and found it as the women had said, but they didn’t see him.”

Then Jesus said to them “How slow you are to believe everything the prophets said was to happen! Didn’t they clearly say that the Messiah had to endure everything that has happened before entering into his glory?” Then he began telling them everything that the Prophets had said about him, starting with Moses and going through all the Scriptures, explaining what everything meant.

By this time they were almost to Emmaus and the end of their journey. Jesus gave the impression that he had further to go, but they urged him to stop for the evening because it was so late. So he went in with them to where they were staying.

While he was reclining at the table to eat, he took the bread, gave thanks for it and broke it, and then gave it to them. Suddenly their eyes were opened and they recognized him but then he immediately vanished before their eyes. They began to discuss this, saying “Weren’t our hearts full of fire while he was explaining the Scriptures to us on the road?” They immediately returned to Jerusalem and found the rest of Jesus’ followers who told them “The Lord is risen! He has appeared to Simon!” Then the two who had returned from Emmaus began to share what had happened to them and how he had revealed himself to them while breaking bread.

LK 24:13-35, MK 16:12-13

Jesus appears before them

That same evening, the disciples were all together behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish authorities. Jesus suddenly appeared among them saying “Peace to you!” They were terrified, convinced that they were seeing a ghost.

“Why are you upset?” he asked. “Why do you doubt that I’m real? Look at my hands and feet. Touch me and know for sure that I’m real. A ghost doesn’t have a body like I do.” He then held out his hands and feet for them to look at. Even though, they still had a hard time believing that he was really there because they didn’t dare believe it was true. He then asked if they had something to eat, so they gave him some broiled fish and a piece of honeycomb, and he ate it while they watched.

Then he said “Here is what I told you before, about how everything written about me in the Scriptures must come to pass.” He then opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He then said “It was written that the Messiah must suffer and then rise from the grave on the third day, and there would be repentance and forgiveness of sins declared in his name, beginning in Jerusalem and spreading to the whole world. You are all witnesses of these facts. Behold, I will send to you what my Father promised. But for now, stay here in Jerusalem until you receive that heavenly power.”

LK 24:36-49, MK 16:14, JN 20:19-20

The great commission

The 11 disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had directed them. They worshiped him when they saw him there. Then Jesus approached them and said “Peace to you! My Father has given me authority over all the earth and heaven. As my Father has sent me, so I send you.”

Then he breathed on them, saying “Receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven. If you do not forgive their sins, they are not forgiven. Go preach the gospel and disciple everyone throughout the world, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, instructing them to follow everything I have commanded you to do. Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved, but anyone who does not believe will be lost.

These signs will follow believers – they will cast out demons in my name, they will speak new languages, they will handle snakes and not be harmed if they drink poison, and the sick will be healed when they lay hands on them. Look! I am always with you, to the end of this era.”

MT 28:16-20, MK 16:15-18, JN 20:21-23

Doubting Thomas

Thomas, the disciple known as “Twin” was not with the others when Jesus appeared before them. They kept telling him “We have seen the Lord!” He kept saying “I’ll never believe unless I see the nail marks in his hands with my own eyes and touch them with my own fingers and put my hand into the spear wound on his side!”

Eight days later the disciples were again indoors, but this time Thomas was with them. The doors were locked, but then Jesus suddenly stood among them, saying “Peace to you!”

Looking at Thomas, he said “Look at my hands – touch them! Put your hand into my side as well. Don’t be without belief – be a believer!”

Thomas replied “My Lord and my God!”

Jesus said “Have you believed only because you have seen? Blessed are those who believe without seeing.”

JN 20:24-29

John’s commentary

The disciples saw Jesus perform many other signs that are not recorded here, but these which have been included are written so that you will believe that Jesus is the Son of God, the Messiah, and that through this belief you will have life in his name.

JN 20:30-31

Jesus appears on the shore

Jesus also revealed himself to his disciples by the Sea of Galilee. This is what happened: Simon Peter, Thomas, Nathanael from Cana of Galilee, James and John (Zebedee’s sons) and two other disciples were together. Peter announced “I’m going fishing.” The rest of them decided to go with him. They caught nothing that night.

At daybreak, Jesus stood on the shore, but they did not recognize him. He called out to them, saying “Boys, don’t you have any fish?”

“No,” they replied.

He said “If you cast your net on the right side of the boat, you’ll find some.”

They cast their net as he said, and the net was so full of fish they were unable to haul it in. John, the disciple Jesus loved, said to Peter “It is the Lord!”

When Simon Peter heard this, he tied his tunic around him (he was bare-chested) and jumped into the sea to swim ashore. The other disciples decided to steer the boat ashore instead, since it was only about a hundred yards away. They dragged the net full of fish with them.

When they came ashore they saw a charcoal fire with fish cooking over it, along with some bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring over some of those fish you just caught.” Simon Peter got up and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish – 153 of them – but even though there were so many fish, the net did not tear.

Jesus invited them to have breakfast with him. None of them were brave enough to say “Who are you?” to him. They all knew it was Jesus. He then served them the bread and fish.

This was the third time he had revealed himself to his disciples after he had been raised from the dead.

JN 21:1-14

Feed my sheep

After they ate breakfast, Jesus asked Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than the others?”

“Of course, Lord,” Peter replied. “You know that I love you.”

“Feed my lambs.” Jesus said.

Then a second time he asked, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter answered “Yes, Lord. You know I love you.”

“Shepherd my sheep.” Jesus said. Then Jesus asked him for the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”

Peter was upset and even a little sad that Jesus had asked him three times if he loved him. He said “Lord, everything is revealed to you! Surely you know that I love you.”

“Feed my sheep.” Jesus said. “Listen to me closely. When you were young, you could do anything you wanted to do however you liked, but when you grow old you will reach out your hands and others will take you where you don’t want to go.” In saying this, Jesus indicated how he would die that would glorify God.

Then after saying this he said to Peter “Follow me!”

JN 21:15-19

What about him?

Peter noticed John, the disciple Jesus loved, following along behind them. That was the same disciple who had leaned in and asked Jesus at the supper which one of the disciples was going to betray him. Noticing him, Peter asked Jesus “What will happen to him, Lord?”

Jesus replied “If I want him to stay until I come again, what concern is that of yours? Your task is to follow me.”

So this message spread throughout the community of believers that John would not die. Yet Jesus did not say that, but only “If I want him to stay until I come again, what concern is that of yours?”

JN 21:20-23

John’s epilogue

This disciple is the one who speaks the truth about these events and who wrote them down. We confirm the truth of his testimony.

Jesus did many other things which were so numerous that, if they were written down, would fill up so many books that I believe there wouldn’t be enough room for them throughout the whole world.

JN 21:24-25

The Ascension

Jesus led his disciples near Bethany. He lifted his hands up and blessed the disciples. During his blessing, he rose up into the heavens and went to sit at the right hand of God.

The disciples spoke words of praise and worship and then returned to Jerusalem, overflowing with joy.
When they weren’t blessing God in the Temple complex, they preached the message of Jesus everywhere they went. The Lord worked with them and confirmed their message by the accompanying miracles.

MK 16:19-20, LK 24:50-53

The Condensed Gospel chapter 6 (part A)

The Judas kiss

A crowd suddenly arrived while Jesus was speaking. Jesus’ disciple Judas was leading them. He knew where Jesus would be because he often met there with his disciples. Judas lead priests, scribes, and elders from the Temple, along with soldiers carrying lanterns, torches, swords and clubs.

Judas had given them a sign, saying “The one I kiss is the one you want to arrest.” Judas immediately went up to
Jesus and said “Teacher!” and kissed him. Jesus said to him, “Friend, are you here to betray me with a kiss? Do what you have come to do.”

Jesus, knowing what was about to happen, said to the crowd “Who are you looking for?”

“Jesus of Nazareth,” they answered.

“I am.” Jesus responded.

Judas was standing with the accusers at this point. When Jesus admitted he was the one they were looking for, they all fell to the ground.

Again he asked them “Who are you looking for?”

“Jesus of Nazareth,” they said.

“I’ve already told you I am. Since you are looking for just me, let these others go.” This fulfilled Jesus’ words when he said “I have not lost a single person that God has given me.”

Then the Temple authorities and soldiers seized him to arrest him.

One of the disciples asked “Lord, should we attack them with their swords?” Without waiting for an answer, Simon Peter drew his sword and cut off the right ear of the high priest’s slave, whose name was Malchus.

Jesus said “No more violence! Put your sword away! Everyone who takes up the sword will die in the same way. Do you not think that I can call on my Father who will immediately provide me with more than a dozen legions of angels? The Scriptures must be fulfilled that say it has to happen this way. I must drink the cup which my Father has given me.”

Jesus then touched the slave’s ear and healed him.

Speaking to the crowd, Jesus said “Have you come with weapons to arrest me like I’m a criminal? I used to teach every day in the Temple – you could have arrested me there. Yet all of this happened so that the words of the prophets would be fulfilled. But this is your time, and a time when darkness reigns.”

Then all of his disciples ran away.

A young man who was following Jesus was there, wearing just a linen cloth. The crowd tried to grab him as he ran away, but he slipped away naked, leaving his cloth behind.

MT 26:47-56, MK 14:43-52, LK 22:47-53, JN 17:1-11

Jesus taken to the high priest

The civil and religious authorities tied Jesus up and led him first to Annas. He was the high priest Caiaphas’ father-in-law. Caiaphas had told the Jews that it would be a good idea if one man should die for everyone.

JN 18:12-14

Jesus was asked there about his followers and what he taught them.

Jesus said “Many people know what I’ve taught, because I have regularly taught in the synagogue and the Temple complex, where all the Jews gather. I’ve not taught anything secretly. Why are you questioning me? Question the people who have listened to me – they know.”

A Temple policeman slapped Jesus after he said this, demanding “Is that the way to speak to the high priest?”

“If I have spoken falsely, then prove it. If not, then why hit me?” Jesus asked.

Then Annas had Jesus tied up and sent him to Caiaphas, the high priest.

JN 18:19-24

Jesus was taken to see the high priest Caiaphas. The chief priests, elders, and scribes were waiting there. Peter was following not far behind so he could see what happened.

MT 26:57-58, MK 14:53-54, LK 22:54

Jesus faces the Sanhedrin

The chief priests and scribes assembled at daybreak to bring Jesus before the Sanhedrin. They were trying to gather testimony against Jesus so they could sentence him to death, but they had no success. There were many people who brought false testimony against Jesus, but their accounts did not agree.

Two men stood up and testified against him, saying “He said that he could demolish this sanctuary of God which was built with human hands, and build another in three days, not using human hands.”

Then the high priest stood up in front of everyone and asked Jesus “Don’t you have something to say about what these men have testified against you?” But Jesus said nothing.

The high priest demanded “I place you under the oath of God, are you the Messiah?”

Jesus said, “No matter what I tell you, you won’t believe me. If I ask you, you won’t answer.”
Then they asked “Are you the Son of God? Tell us!”

“You have said so,” Jesus replied, adding “and from this point onwards, every one of you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power of God, and arriving with the heavenly clouds.”

The high priest tore his robes, saying “We don’t need to hear from any other witnesses, since he spoke this blasphemy to us himself. What is your decision?”

They unanimously decided that he deserved to be put to death. Some of them spit on Jesus’ face. They then blindfolded and beat him, mocking him by saying “Prophesy to us now! Who hit you?” The Temple police slapped him as well.

MT 26:59-68, MK 14:55-65, LK 22:63-71

Peter denies that he knows Jesus

Meanwhile, Peter and another disciple were following Jesus at a distance. The other disciple was acquainted with the high priest, so he followed Jesus all the way into the high priest’s courtyard. Peter stayed outside by the door, standing by himself. The other disciple spoke to the slave girl who was the doorkeeper and he brought Peter into the courtyard.

The slaves and Temple guards lit a charcoal fire in the courtyard below to warm themselves up. Peter was sitting around the fire with them.

When the slave girl who had let him in took at look at him in the firelight, she said “You were with him, that Jesus of Nazareth.”

But Peter denied it, saying “I was not, I don’t know him! I don’t know what you are talking about!” Then he walked closer to the doorway.

A little later, another person saw him and said to those nearby, “He’s one of his disciples!”

“I don’t know him!” Peter exclaimed.

About an hour later, a relative of Malchus, the man whose ear Peter had cut off, said “Weren’t you in the garden with him? Your accent is Galilean, so surely you are one of them.”

Then Peter started to curse and make oaths to swear that what he was saying was true, saying “I don’t even know who you are talking about!”

Right then, while he was still speaking, a rooster crowed, and Peter remembered that the Lord had said “Truly, you will deny that you know me three times before the rooster crows this very day!”

He went outside and wept bitterly.

MT 26:69-75, MK 14:66-72, LK 22:55-62, JN 18:15-18 and 18:25-27

Judas hangs himself

Judas was filled with remorse at what he had done when he learned that Jesus had been sentenced to death. He returned the 30 silver pieces to the chief priests and elders.

“I have sinned by betraying an innocent man,” he said.

“So? How does that concern us? That is your problem!” they retorted.

He threw the silver into the Temple sanctuary and left. He hung himself that very hour.

The chief priests gathered up the coins and said “It is against the Law to put this money with the Temple offerings because it is blood money.” After some discussion, they decided to buy a potter’s field to turn it into a burial place for foreigners who died in the city. It is because of this that this cemetery is called “The Field of Blood” even now.

This fulfilled the words of the prophet Jeremiah when he said – “They took the thirty silver pieces, the price the sons of Israel set for Him, and they gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord ordered me.”

MT 27:3-10

Jesus faces Herod

When Pilate heard the people say the word “Galilee,” he asked if Jesus was a Galilean. They said he was, so Pilate sent him to Herod Antipas because that was his jurisdiction and Herod happened to be in Jerusalem then.

Herod was thrilled to see Jesus. He had heard a lot about him and had wanted to see him for a long time. He hoped to see him perform a miracle. He kept asking Jesus questions but he would not answer. The chief priests and scribes stood there, angrily accusing Jesus.

Then Herod and his soldiers began to treat Jesus with contempt by mocking him and dressing him in a purple robe.
Herod sent Jesus back to Pilate that same day. Herod and Pilate became friends with each other from that point – previously they had been enemies.

LK 23:6-12

Jesus faces Pilate

As soon as the sun rose, the chief priests, elders, scribes and the entire Sanhedrin met, plotting to find a way to execute Jesus. They bound him and led him out to hand him over to Pilate, the governor of that area. They did not enter Pilate’s headquarters because they would have become ritually unclean and thus unable to eat the Passover meal.

Pilate came out of his headquarters to speak to them. He asked them “What do you accuse this man of?” They answered “He has been dividing our nation, telling people to not pay taxes to Caesar, and saying that he is the Messiah, our king. We wouldn’t have brought him to you if he weren’t a criminal.”

Pilate replied “You should take him back and judge him by your own Law.”

“Our Law doesn’t allow us to sentence anyone to crucifixion,” they replied. In saying this, they fulfilled Jesus’ prophecy as to how he would be killed.

Pilate then went into his headquarters, summoned Jesus, and asked him “Are you their King?”

Jesus answered, “You have said the truth. Are you asking me for yourself if I am the Messiah, or have others said it to you?”

“I’m not Jewish, am I?” Pilate retorted. “Your own people and the chief priests brought you to me. What have you done to warrant that?”

“My kingdom is not an earthly one. If it was, my followers would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish authorities. But actually, my kingdom is not of this world.”

“Then you are a king?” Pilate persisted.

“You say that I am.” Jesus answered. “This is why I was born, why I came into this world – to speak the truth.

Everyone who is truthful listens to what I have to say.”

“What does ‘truth’ mean?” asked Pilate.

Pilate then told the Jewish authorities that he found no reason to press charges against Jesus.

The Jewish authorities began to accuse Jesus of many things, saying that he riled people up through his teachings, all throughout Judea, from Galilee to here.

Jesus did not answer their accusations.

Pilate said to Jesus “Don’t you hear all that they are accusing you of? Aren’t you going to say anything?” And Jesus still would not defend himself. Pilate was stunned.

MT 27:1-2 and 11-14, MK 15-1-5, LK 23:1-5, JN 18:28-38a

Jesus or Barabbas

It was the preparation day for the Passover, and it was around nine in the morning by this point. While Pilate was presiding over the court, his wife sent him a message saying “Leave that righteous man alone, because I had a terrible nightmare about him last night!” Pilate knew that the Jewish authorities had brought Jesus to him because they were jealous of how popular he was with the people.

Pilate called together the Jewish authorities and said “You have brought this man to me saying that he leads people astray. But after examining him, I have found that there’s no evidence to charge him with any crime that you have accused him of. Herod hasn’t found anything either, because he returned him back here. Therefore I will have him flogged to discipline him and then release him to you.”

The chief priests and Temple police shouted “No! Crucify him!”

Pilate replied “Crucify him yourself, because I find no reason to charge him.”

The Jewish religious leaders responded “He has to die because of our Law, because he claimed to be the Son of God.”

Pilate was even more afraid when he heard this. He went back inside his headquarters and asked Jesus “Where are you from?” But Jesus did not answer. Pilate said “You won’t answer? Don’t you know I have the power of life and death over you?”

Jesus answered “You have no authority over me at all except that which is given to you from heaven. This is why the greater guilt is upon the One who handed me over to you.” Pilate was even more desperate to release Jesus after hearing this.

There was a custom for the governor to release a prisoner to the Jews during the Passover festival. The chief priests agitated the crowds to demand for Barabbas to be released instead of Jesus. Barabbas was a notorious criminal who had been thrown into prison for taking part in a rebellion and murder.

Pilate wanted to release Jesus, so he brought him outside for the crowds to see. He sat on the judge’s bench in a place called Gabbatha (The Stone Pavement) and asked the crowds “Of the two of them, who do you want me to release to you, the man called Jesus Barabbas, or Jesus who is called the Messiah?”

“Barabbas!” they shouted, adding “If you release Jesus, you oppose Caesar! He said he was our king! Only Caesar is our king!”

Pilate then asked “Then what should I do with Jesus who is called the Messiah?”
With one voice they answered “Crucify him!”

Pilate asked “Why? What is his crime? Should I crucify your king?”

But the crowds and the chief priests shouted even louder “Caesar is our king! Take this man away! Crucify him!”
Pilate saw that he wasn’t making any progress with the crowds, and in fact a riot had started. He took a bowl of water and washed his hands before them, saying “I am innocent of any guilt concerning this righteous man. This is your concern now!”

The mob answered “His blood will be upon us and our children forever!”

Pilate yielded to their voices and released Barabbas to them. After having Jesus flogged, he released him to them, to be crucified as they demanded.

MT 27:15-26, MK 15:6-15, LK 23:13-25, JN 18:38b-40 and 19:6-16

Mocked by the military

Then the soldiers led Jesus into the courtyard of Pilate’s headquarters, summoning the entire regiment to join them. They put a royal purple robe on him and made a crown for him by twisting together thorny vines and put it on his head. They placed a reed in his right hand to serve as a scepter. They kept coming up to him and mocking him by kneeling down before him or saluting him and saying “Hail, King of the Jews!” Then they took the reed from his hand and began to repeatedly beat him on the head with it. They were also slapping his face and spitting on him. Then they stripped the purple robe off, put his own clothes back on him, and then led him out to be crucified.

MT 27:27-31, MK 15:16-20, JN 19:1-3

On the way to the cross

There was a Cyrenian man named Simon who was coming in from the country. He was the father of Rufus and Alexander. He was passing by as the soldiers were taking Jesus to the crucifixion site. They grabbed him and forced him to carry Jesus’ cross by laying it across him.

MT 27:32, MK 15:21, LK 23:26

There were many women wailing with grief in the large crowd that was following Jesus. He turned to them and said “Don’t weep for me, daughters of Jerusalem. Weep for yourselves and for your children. The days are coming when people will say that those who never bore children are fortunate. They will call out to the mountains, saying ‘Fall on us!’, and begging the hills to bury them. For if they do things like this when the tree is green, what will they do when it is dry?”

LK 23:27-31