The Catholic Defender: Good Friday With St. John Chrysostom

April 20, 2019

The Power of Christ’s Blood, Homily for Good Friday, St. John Chrysostom (349-407) Feast day celebrated 13 September.

 

“If we wish to understand the power of Christ’s blood, we should go back to the ancient account of its prefiguration in Egypt. Sacrifice a lamb without blemish, commanded Moses, and sprinkle its blood on your doors. If we were to ask him what he meant, and how the blood of an irrational beast could possibly save men endowed with reason, his answer would be that the saving power lies not in the blood itself, but in the fact that it is a sign of the Lord’s blood. In those days, when the destroying angel saw the blood on the doors he did not dare to enter, so how much less will the devil approach now when he sees, not that figurative blood on the doors, but the true blood on the lips of believers, the doors of the temple of Christ.

 

If you desire further proof of the power of this blood, remember where it came from, how it ran down from the cross, flowing from the Master’s side. The gospel records that when Christ was dead, but still hung on the cross, a soldier came and pierced his side with a lance and immediately there poured out water and blood. Now the water was a symbol of baptism and the blood, of the holy Eucharist. The soldier pierced the Lord’s side, he breached the wall of the sacred temple, and I have found the treasure and made it my own. So also with the lamb: the Jews sacrificed the victim and I have been saved by it.

 

There flowed from his side water and blood. Beloved, do not pass over this mystery without thought; it has yet another hidden meaning, which I will explain to you. I said that water and blood symbolized baptism and the holy Eucharist. From these two sacraments the Church is born: from baptism, the cleansing water that gives rebirth and renewal through the Holy Spirit, and from the holy Eucharist. Since the symbols of baptism and the Eucharist flowed from his side, it was from his side that Christ fashioned the Church, as he had fashioned Eve from the side of Adam. Moses gives a hint of this when he tells the story of the first man and makes him exclaim: Bone from my bones and flesh from my flesh! As God then took a rib from Adam’s side to fashion a woman, so Christ has given us blood and water from his side to fashion the Church. God took the rib when Adam was in a deep sleep, and in the same way Christ gave us the blood and the water after his own death.

 

Do you understand, then, how Christ has united his bride to himself and what food he gives us all to eat? By one and the same food we are both brought into being and nourished. As a woman nourishes her child with her own blood and milk, so does Christ unceasingly nourish with his own blood those to whom he himself has given life.”

 

Source: The Liturgy of the Hours – Office of Readings For Good Friday

 

When you read the context of the Early Church Fathers, this sermon given by St John Chrysostom is very typical of a purely Catholic preacher.

 

St John Chrysostom clearly is connecting the New Testament with the Old Testament. Consider the line, “Now the water was a symbol of baptism and the blood, of the holy Eucharist.”

 

It is clear that St John Chrysostom is connecting the water and blood that flowed from the side of Christ with the Sacraments of Baptism and the Eucharist.

 

This is not a symbolic belief, but a very real foundation. Transubstantiation is not specifically named here, but it is being taught. I love the connection given between Adam and Jesus, no question that we are addressing St. Paul’s letter to the Romans chapter 5:12-21.

 

We believe the actual date of Jesus Christ’s death is April 3rd and in the year 33 AD.

 

Let’s look at the evidence.

 

First, The third chapter of Luke’s gospel tells us that Jesus was about 30 years old in the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar.

 

Although Tiberius actually took power in late 14 AD, the common ascension method of dating starts counting at the beginning of the Jewish Ecclesiastical calendar on 1 Nisan, 15 AD. This means that Jesus is about 30 in April of 30 AD.

 

However, what exactly does "about" 30 (years old) mean? 25-35? 28-32? 29-31? or closer?

 

John Chapter 2 tells us that at the start of Jesus ministry, the temple in Jerusalem had been under construction for forty six years. When the temple was destroyed in 70 AD, it was said that it had been under construction for 84 years. Subtract 84 years from 70 AD and you arrive at 16 BC. The project to rebuild the temple was commissioned about 19 BC and it would have taken at least three years to accumulate the builders and stone.  If the Temple had been started in 16 BC, Jesus would indeed have been about 30 years old 46 years into it’s construction in 30 AD.

 

Finally, if Jesus was born on December 25 of 2 BC, then Jesus was, indeed, about 30 years old in 30 AD (30 years and about 3 1/2 months to be exact)

 

Since there are 4 consecutive Passovers mentioned in the Gospels, with the first starting His earthly ministry and the last ending it, we know that his ministry lasted 3 years.

 

Now let’s look at what we know about the day Jesus died.

 

It was on a Friday that was the preparation day for the Sabbath. That is, we have to find a year when the Passover begins on Saturday.

 

It was a day approximately 3 years from the start of Tiberius 15th year, either by calendar method or direct ascension method (this could only be 32 or 33 AD).

 

It was a day where there was an eclipse.

 

The date would have to fit all 3 of these criteria.

 

Can such a date be found?

 

Yes. First there are only two dates during this time period when the Passover is immediately preceded by a Friday. One is 30 AD. There is no plausible way you can put Christ as 33 years old in 30 AD because, he would have been 30 in Tiberius’ 12th year. Secondly, there is no record of an eclipse on this date.

 

However, there was an eclipse on April 3rd, 33 AD, the Friday immediately preceding the Passover, when Jesus would indeed have been 33 years old.

 

There is one final piece. In the 9th chapter of the book of Daniel, there is a prophecy that stipulates 483 Jewish years from the decree of King Artaxerxes of Persia to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem until the Christ is cut down. This decree was issued approximately 444 BC which, converting the calendars, takes us to about late 32/ early 33 AD.

 

Along with the other clues, we believe the case is clear- April 3rd, 33 AD as the date of Our lord’s death and April 5th as the Resurrection.

 

"Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, "Eli, Eli, lama sabach-thani?" that is, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" And some of the bystanders hearing it said, "This man is calling Elijah." And one of them at once ran and took a sponge, filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave it to him to drink. But the others said, "Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him." And Jesus cried again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit. And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom; and the earth shook, and the rocks were split; the tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe, and said, "Truly this was the Son of God!"

 

It was the three o'clock hour when Jesus died, the exact time of the Jewish sacrifice.  Jesus truly is the "Lamb of God" who takes away the sin of the world through their repentance.  With the last breath of Our Lord, the earthquake shook the land causing great strife among the people who bore witness.  The Temple curtain was torn from top to bottom as observed by one Roman Soldier, St. Longinus who states, "Truly this man was the Son  of God!"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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