Monthly Archives: March 2013

The Vibe of the Resurrection

The Resurrection is where the vibe gets completely supernatural and a leap of faith is needed to believe that such things can happen in a world governed by science and natural laws. Jesus has been dead and in a tomb for three days. He has been given a special burial place by a rich supporter and the tomb has been guarded by Roman soldiers to prevent anyone removing the body. The vibe is gloomy and dark and everyone who loved Jesus is moping around feeling sorry for themselves. Then a female follower of Jesus, Mary Magdalene finds the tomb open and empty and, moments later, has an emotional encounter with Jesus. Not a ghostly, waif-like Jesus but a living, breathing, physical, living Jesus.

News spreads fast and soon Jesus appears to the Disciples who are hiding upstairs in a safe house in Jerusalem. The vibe lightens dramatically – bad news has become good. Jesus gives his Disciples the power to heal and opens their minds to the meaning of the Old Testament, explaining how so many of its promises have led to this moment. Jesus singles out Peter to take care of business when he has gone, then vanishes, leaving his spirit behind to look after everyone.

General vibe: He’s back!

Factvibe: According to the Gospels, Jesus spent nearly six weeks on Earth after coming back from the dead.

Choccy eggs represent the stone rolled away from Jesus'  tomb

Choccy eggs represent the stone rolled away from Jesus’ tomb

The Vibe of the Crucifixion

The crucifixion of Jesus is where the vibe of the New Testament is at its darkest. Everyone’s hopes deflate as the person they believe was the Messiah is nailed to a cross in between two robbers.

The vibe begins to go wrong when Judas gives the authorities the nod in exchange for some silver and Jesus is arrested. Despite not being wholly with the vibe himself, Jesus goes along with it as he knows it’s what God wants – he is the final sacrifice that wipes the slate clean for people for ever. The Jews have had a problem with Jesus ever since he began teaching and the final straw is when he calls himself their king. Pontius Pilate, the local Roman who runs Jerusalem has no problem with Jesus and passes him over to the official King of the Jews, Herod. Herod pokes ridicule at Jesus before packing him off back to Pilate whose thugs give Jesus a good bashing, dress him up in robes and force a crown made of thorns on his head. In the end, Pilate hands Jesus over to be killed as the crowd is restless and he needs to keep the peace.

The crucifixion is a public affair and Jesus is nailed to a cross in front of a mainly hostile crowd, though a few of his supporters are there too. Jesus dies relatively quickly and as he does, there is an earthquake and it gets dark in the middle of the day. The vibe is terrible – the sense of loss and ‘it’s over’ coupled with a vibe of utter disbelief among the followers of Jesus make it all the more gloomy. Triumph for the Jews, business as usual for the Romans and complete despair for the first Christians.

General vibe: Jesus died to make things better.

Factvibe: Victims of crucifixion usually died from suffocation.

The crucifixion vibe lives on in mass produced modern jewellery

The crucifixion vibe lives on in mass produced modern jewellery

The Vibe of Pontius Pilate

Pilate has a ‘nothing to do with me’ vibe. He gives the impression of a man with better things to do and the trial of Jesus is just interfering with his day. Pilate has been put in Jerusalem by his Roman bosses and he really just wants to keep the peace. The locals are an unruly bunch and the last thing Pilate wants is for the vibe to boil over. Still, he can’t see what the fuss is over Jesus as he hasn’t broken any laws in the Roman rulebook.

Despite his wife having a dream in which bad things happen to them if they let Jesus be killed, Pilate shunts Jesus on to King Herod in the hope that the Jews will deal with their own people. When Herod passes the buck back, Pilate is left with a tricky decision, to have Jesus executed or to let him live and face some ugly vibes from the mob who are seriously riled about the things the self-proclaimed ‘King of the Jews’ has been saying.

In the end, Pilate famously washes his hands of the situation which is ironic: instead of history forgetting his bad day, he has become an immortal part of the most famous story ever told. Possibly to appease the crowd, he arranges for Jesus to be executed in full Roman fashion, nailed to a cross on a prominent hill on the outskirts of the city.

General vibe: It wasn’t my idea.

Factvibe: Despite coming across as quite reasonable in the Bible, other accounts describe Pilate’s vibe as ‘spiteful, violent and wrathful.’

Pilate: the hand washing vibe is strong

Pilate: the hand washing vibe is strong

The Vibe of King Herod

Herod has the vibe of a pantomime baddie. There were probably quite a few Herods; the Herod who rebuilt the Temple in Jerusalem might not have been the Herod whose daughter wanted John the Baptist’s head on a plate and he might not have been the one who wanted to kill Jesus soon after he was born.Who knows who the Herod was who had Jesus dressed up in a purple robe and a crown of thorns shortly before his death?

All we can be sure of is that, despite the heavy Roman vibe in the region where Jesus lived and died, the Romans allow the Jews to have a leader with no power. This puppet king, his father, his sons, his brothers and everyone else in his family who rule all seem to be called Herod. And they are generally bad.

General vibe: King of the Jews.

Factvibe: A small part of the western wall of the Temple built by Herod is still in use and is known as the Wailing Wall.

Boooo! The pantomime baddie vibe of King Herod

Boooo! The pantomime baddie vibe of King Herod

The Vibe of Peter’s Denial

Peter’s abject refusal to acknowledge that he has been Jesus’ right hand man for three years comes as a bit of a shock – no more so than to Peter himself. At the last meal Jesus shares with his Disciples, he announces that Peter will deny knowing him three times before the cock crows the next morning. Peter is appalled at the vibe and lets it be known that no such thing could possibly come to pass.

Fast forward a few hours and Peter is dawdling around in a courtyard in the Jerusalem Temple while Jesus is being questioned somewhere inside. It’s chilly and Peter is keeping the vibe warm by a fire. Lots of other people are warming themselves too and a servant girl thinks she recognises him as a friend of Jesus. Peter flatly denies the accusation. Another girl gives him the once over and suggests he might be one of Jesus’ cronies. Peter tells her he’s nothing to do with Jesus. By now, the crowd are all convinced they know who he is but Peter is on a denial roller coaster and just can’t stop himself telling them that they are all wrong, even if it means swearing on oath. Cue a crowing cockerel and tears of remorse-a-plenty from our less than shining hero. A depressingly low ebb for Jesus’ second in command, but a human one nonetheless.

General vibe: you’ve got the wrong person.

Factvibe: Peter was eventually crucified and asked to be hung upside down as he was not worthy of the same death as Jesus.

It's not all over till the fat bird sings

It’s not all over till the fat bird sings

The Vibe of the Garden of Gethsemene

Gethesemene is an olive orchard at the foot of the Mount of Olives, one of several ‘safe spaces’ used by Jesus and his Disciples when they want to get away from the crowds.

Jesus knows that he is about to die but this doesn’t mean that he is happy with the vibe. He has to undergo a brutal physical execution during which he will be cut off from God. He tells his Disciples to keep a lookout while he prays, and then lets God know that if he wants to change his mind, it is really not a problem.

Having just filled up at the Last Supper, the three Disciples Jesus has brought along with him nod off. Jesus ticks them off, prays again and they nod off again. This pattern continues until Judas arrives at the head of an angry mob carrying swords and clubs. He gives Jesus a kiss – the sign to the vigilantes that this is the man they are after, and the peaceful vibe of the garden is shattered. Peter grabs his own sword and fights back, slicing off the ear of one of the Jewish officials. Jesus attempts to calm the vibe down by putting the ear back on but his followers scatter into the night leaving him to be marched away for a showdown with the Jewish leaders.

General vibe: Defeat.

Factvibe: The vibe “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” comes from the telling-off Jesus gives his Disciples in Gethsemene.

The Garden of Gethsemene - a tough place to say awake in

The Garden of Gethsemene – a tough place to say awake in


 

The Vibe of Judas

Judas has a ‘someone had to do it vibe’. It’s easy to forget the three years he spends with Jesus, supporting him and helping spread the word around the towns near the Sea of Galilee. The trouble is Judas completely misses the vibe of Jesus. Convinced that his team leader will one day overthrow the Roman invaders and set up his own government, Judas no doubt assumes he will be given a powerful job in the new world order. Given that he is keeper of the Disciples’ communal kitty, he’s probably expecting to be Chief Financial Officer. When Jesus’ friend Mary pours a year’s salary worth of perfume over his feet, Judas looks on in horror, more so because Jesus seems really touched by the woman’s vibe. It is now that Judas realises that his boss will never be the leader he hoped for. Feeling betrayed himself, he cuts his losses and, to get back in favour with the honchos who run Judea, decides to shop Jesus in exchange for cash.

Judas deserves a bad rap: while acting as treasurer for the Disciples, he lines his own pockets, and when Jesus announces to his team at their last meal together that one of them will turn informer, Judas’ faux surprise jars a little with the jangling of silver in his pockets.

However, there’s no happy ending for Judas’ political game playing. No sooner has he led the authorities to one of the Disciples ‘safe spaces’ – the garden of Gethsemene – vibes of remorse and self-loathing kick in. These prove so unbearable that he uses the payolla he received for turning in Jesus to buy a field where he hangs himself. A bleak vibe of broken friendship, broken promises, greed and loss.

General vibe: Betrayal.

Factvibe: The thirty pieces of silver Judas received for betraying Jesus would have been about three months’ wages for a skilled worker.

Cash value of Jesus at the time of his arrest in today's money? Around $5000

Cash value of Jesus at the time of his arrest in today’s money? Around $5000

The Vibe of Holy Communion

Holy Communion, aka the Eucharist, aka the Lord’s Supper, aka Mass is a symbolic meal of bread and wine eaten by believers to remember that Jesus died to make their lives better. The ‘meal’ commemorates the last meal that Jesus shared with his Disciples and consists traditionally of bread and wine. However, many churches use round wafers instead of bread and some tee-total churches use grape juice instead of wine.

In many churches, only people who have made a public commitment to Jesus are allowed to share in the vibe of Communion. By eating the bread and drinking the wine, they are ‘communing’ with God and the worldwide family of believers. Some Christians believe that the bread and wine actually turn into the body and blood of Jesus – this vibe is known as transubstantiation.

For a picnic, add cheese, to remember Jesus, no cheese required.

For a picnic, add cheese; to remember Jesus, no cheese required.

Despite the importance of Holy Communion to Christian worship, the Bible doesn’t specify how to carry it out. Still, the vibe can be enjoyed in most active Christian churches at least one Sunday a month. Nourishing vibes with a poignant aftertaste.

            General vibe: bread and wine

Factvibe: The word ‘Eucharist’ comes from the Greek for thanksgiving.

 

The Vibe of the Last Supper

The Last Supper is an evening meal shared by Jesus and his twelve Disciples in a safe house on the night before he is arrested. Despite it’s sombre vibe, the meal is a celebration to remember the Passover, the night when the Jewish slaves in Egypt made a sign on their door to let the Angel of Death know he should pass over their homes and not kill them or their children.

Before the meal, Jesus grabs a towel and begins washing the Disciples’ feet. Completely missing the point of  his leader’s ‘the fist shall be last’ vibe, Peter refuses to be cleaned up by Jesus – he thinks Jesus is way too important to do the work of a servant. However, when Jesus explains the vibe that no one can be his follower unless he allows him to wash his feet, Peter asks to be scrubbed all over.

Once the eating is done, Jesus drops a bombshell and announces that one of the men will betray him. Eleven of the Disciples recoil in horror that they have a rat in their midst while Judas no doubt squirms a little and looks at the floor. Jesus elaborates further and tells Peter that he will deny ever knowing him. Peter is outraged and swears he will stick with Jesus until the bitter end. However, words are cheap: hours later, Jesus is arrested, the Disciples scatter and the vibes of self-preservation get the better of Peter. When asked by several people if he is one of Jesus’ followers, he tells them he’s never met the man.

The Last Supper closes with Jesus breaking bread and drinking wine, explaining that the bread and wine symbolise his body and blood. He tells his Disciples to eat bread and drink wine to remember him after he has gone. An epic vibe and one which hangs in many galleries throughout the world.

General vibe: Do this in memory of me

Factvibe: Nowhere in the Bible is Jesus’ meal with his Disciples referred to as ‘the Last Supper’.

The Last Supper:  the conversation was more interesting than the food

The Last Supper: the conversation was more interesting than the food

The Vibe of the Cleansing of the Temple

Jesus has just arrived in Jerusalem for the grand finale of his three years of teaching and decides to pop in on the Temple. What he sees makes him foam at the mouth with righteous rage. Part of the Temple has been reserved for Jews coming from abroad who need to buy a small animal or bird to offer as a sacrifice and the courtyard is filled with exchange bureaux and market stalls selling livestock.

However, Jesus seems to think that the stallholders are trading dishonestly and using the exchange of coins and the selling of animals to make a fast buck. Jesus kicks over tables and lashes out with a whip made from ropes while shouting. Animals scatter, small coins go flying and grown men run for cover and the vibe is as angry as Jesus gets.

When questioned about his outburst by the Jewish cartel who run Jerusalem, his vibe is that the Temple is the house of God, he is the Son of God and he has the right to clean up his dad’s house if he wants to. It’s a dynamite vibe and Jesus has effectively signed his death warrant as the Jews swear that he will never leave the city alive. A furious, indignant, ‘not in my house’ kind of vibe with history changing results.

General vibe: Jesus, angry

Factvibe: Jesus was against injustice, not trade; he was a carpenter and several of his parables involve buying, selling and investing. 

The Cleansing of the Temple: not a Not a great day for the Forex industry

The Cleansing of the Temple: Not a great day for the Forex industry