60: Dr. Chuck Quarles | What's So Special About Easter?

Dr. Chuck Quarles

Charles L. Quarles is Research Professor of New Testament and Biblical Theology and Charles Page Chair of Biblical Theology at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

He is an experienced pastor, missionary, and theological educator.

He is the author, coauthor, or editor of nine books including The Sermon on the Mount; A Theology of Matthew; The Exegetical Guide to the Greek New Testament volume on Matthew, and The Illustrated Life of Paul.

He and his wife Julie have three adult children, Rachael, Hannah, and Joshua, and three grandchildren.


Dr. Chuck Quarles and I chat about the significance of Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey colt, the atmosphere during Jesus final week, the passover meal, the brutality of the crucifixion, and more.

4:56 Will you share a little of your faith journey with us?  How did you come to know Jesus?

“What would your answer be? And my sad response was, well, I’ve been baptized. I tried to keep the commandments. I try to fulfill the golden rule and he [pastor] gently but firmly said, ‘And who is the subject of each of those statements? I. So who are you really trusting for your salvation and forgiveness of sin, Jesus Christ, or yourself? And that began the process of exploring what Scripture talks about the way of salvation and coming to an understanding of salvation by grace, rather than through our efforts.”

7:18 Let’s start simple, what is Holy Week and what events does it entail?

8:47 In Matthew 20, Jesus was going up to Jerusalem when He predicts His death to His disciples.  In Matthew 21, He instructs two disciples to find and bring back a donkey with her colt. The disciples place their cloaks on the colt and Jesus rides it into the city while the crowds gather waving palm branches and saying, Hosanna to the Song of David! Hosanna in the highest!  These verses are packed with prophecy and details we so often miss.  When you are teaching your students about this portion of Matt. 20 and 21, what are you teaching as key truths and minute details that help us better understand the full story?

“The prophecy that’s at the forefront of Jesus triumphal entry is Zechariah 9, where the daughter of Zion is told that her king will come riding on a donkey, on the colt of a donkey. The ancient Jews widely recognized this as a messianic prophecy….If you look at Zechariah 9 in context, you’ll see that the king who’s coming as foretold, is actually Yahweh himself, Jehovah.”

Psalm 48, where Yahweh is praised as the King of Zion. And remember its Daughter Zion, who was told your king is coming to you riding on the goal to the donkey.”

Psalm 149 identifies the key of the children of Zion as, “Israel’s maker, the creator who has founded the people of Israel.”

Isaiah 24:23 says that the Lord of hosts a reference to Yahweh, using the Hebrew Divine Name, will reign as King on Mount Zion.

Jeremiah 8:19…. the Lord is the king and her is Zion in the parallel

14:33 As the week progressed we see Jesus clearing the temple and teaching several parables in the temple courts.  Describe the overall atmosphere during this time? And the significance of Jesus teachings during his final week?

“When Jesus moves from Galilee to Judea, and particularly to this brief season (his ministry in Jerusalem), he is moving from a group of people that have respected him and his ministry and viewed him at the very least as the Prophet….But when he begins to engage the chief priest,  the scribes, and the Pharisees, he encounters increasing hostility. They adamantly reject the claims that he makes about himself. And Christ goes through a series of teachings and events that warn these leaders and the nation of Israel, of the consequences of its rejection.”

Luke 20: 9-19 Parable of the Wicked Tenants

21:52 As we move on through Holy Week, Jesus has now gone into the upper room to have Passover meal, his last meal with his disciples. Again, there are so many details there we could jump into, but what’s one or two of the details there that are just so significant to proving that this Jesus truly is the Messiah?

Isaiah 53

Jeremiah 31

“It’s a lifelong process, but it’s one that begins in a very dramatic way at conversion. When we repent of our sins, and we believe in Christ as our God, Savior and King. We experience what Christ described in the Gospel of John, as the new birth or what the Apostle Paul and the Gospel of Matthew described as the miracle of new creation. At that very moment, we cease to be the people we used to be. That’s why Paul can say, if any person is in Christ, he is a new creation. All things are passed away. Behold, the new has come. Now, we need to clarify that. In the King James, it says, All things have passed away, behold, all things have become new. That verse used to really really bother me as a young Christian because I thought, I’ve experienced newness, but not everything is new. There’s still some oldness that I’m wrestling with. The fact is, though, our oldest and best Greek manuscripts say it the way I quoted it first. If any person is in Christ, he is a new creation. All things have passed away, behold, the new has come. So the new has arrived. But Paul doesn’t go so far as to say everything is new in us. He makes it clear in many statements in his letter that everything isn’t new….we’ve got this battle between flesh and spirit, and that battle won’t be over until resurrection and glorification.”

“Paul gives us the good news in 1 Corinthians 15, that our resurrection bodies will be what he describes as spiritual bodies, and spiritual there doesn’t mean ghosts like or immaterial. It means perfectly adapted to the spirits control, so that the battle between flesh and spirit is over and our flesh doesn’t long for anything that the spirit doesn’t want.”

30:52 What do we need to know about the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus?

“Josephus, the first century Jew who was actually a contemporary to the apostle Paul, had witnessed a number of crucifixions. In his history, he describes crucifixion as, quote, the most wretched of all ways of dying.”

Sometimes in Christian art you see a little seat for the crucified victim to sit on? Well, no, that wasn’t to comfort them and their suffering. It wasn’t to enable them to rest as they had to raise and lower their body to breathe. It was actually called the sedile in Latin, and it’s an instrument of torture. Some of the early church fathers like Justin Martyr actually describe it as a horn like projection. Like a steak that was sharpened and protruding from the cross, so that as you raised and lowered your body attempting to breathe on the cross, if you didn’t arch your back in a very awkward position, you were going to constantly be tearing your flesh against that sharpened steak.”

42:11 What is your view of what happened to Jesus after He died, but before He resurrected?

“This idea that he descended into hell is based on a misinterpretation of a statement that the Apostle Peter makes in his letters. But what Peter is actually describing is Christ’s ascension, in which he declares his authority and victory over demonic spirits, not a decent into Gehenna, the realm of the dead. If we mean by that where the wicked are kept and where Satan and his demons are. One of the reasons I would say that Jesus is in the presence of the Father in Heaven is because when Jesus appears before his disciples in Matthew 28, after his resurrection, he says, ‘All authority has been given me in heaven and on earth’ and so heavenly exaltation has occurred. That fulfills what is described in Daniel 7, where the Son of Man appears before the Ancient of Days, and He’s given power and authority and dominion, so that people of every nation, tribe and tongue should worship Him which, incidentally, is exactly what the disciples do in that event.”

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