The Day Christ Died

The Day Christ Died

by Jim Bishop


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The Day Christ Died by Jim Bishop

"This is a book about the most dramatic day in the history of the world, the day on which Jesus of Nazareth died. It opens at 6 P.M.—the beginning of the Hebrew day—with Jesus and ten of the apostles coming through the pass between the Mount of Olives and the Mount of Offense en route to Jerusalem and the Last Supper. It closes at 4 P.M. the following afternoon, when Jesus was taken down from the cross. . . . The fundamental research was done a long time ago by four fine journalists: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The rest has been added in bits and pieces from many men whose names span the centuries."—from the Foreword

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060608163
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 03/01/1991
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 165,399
Product dimensions: 5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.65(d)

About the Author

Jim Bishop was a syndicated columnist and author of many bestselling books, including The Day Lincoln Was Shot, The Day Christ Died, and A Day in the Life of President Kennedy. Born in Jersey City, New Jersey, Bishop died in 1987.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

For The Record

This is a book about the most dramatic day in the history of the world, the day on which Jesus of Nazareth died. It opens at 6 p.m. -- the beginning of the Hebrew day -- with Jesus and ten of the apostles coming through the pass between the Mount of Olives and the Mount of Offense en route to Jerusalem and the Last Supper. It closes at 4 p.m. of the following afternoon, when Jesus was taken down from the cross.

This book, more than any other with which I have been associated, is the product of the intelligence of others. The fundamental research was done a long time ago by four fine journalists: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The rest has been added, in bits and pieces and slivers of knowledge from many men whose names span the centuries in the indelible challenge of the written word: Cyril of Jerusalem, Flavius Josephus, Edersheim, Gamaliel, Danby, William, Ricciotti, Lagrange, Kugelman, Hoenig, Benoit, Barber, Goodier, Prat. These and more added to the sum of knowledge between these covers.

It is, I hope, a practical approach to the events of that day; a journalistic historian's approach rather than that of a theologian. Most of all, I wanted to see Jesus, the man, during this time when he chose to suffer as a man. And I wanted to see him move among his people, among the many who loved him as the Son of God, and among the few in the temple who despised him as a faker. Along the way, I wanted to see, as close up as possible, the twelve whom Jesus selected to carry his word to the world; the thousands of disciples who followed him up and down the hillcountry; I wanted to understand why Annas, the old man, and Caiphas, the younger one, were desperate to kill the Galilean; if possible, I wanted to probe the self-imposed limitations of Jesus when he came here as man, and I wanted to understand his relationship with God the Father and God the Holy Ghost.

Each chapter of the book is an hour, and there are three background chapters: one is entitled "The Jewish World"; one is called "Jesus" and traces his background and that of his family; and one is called "The Roman World." Of these, the most important is "The Jewish World" because, unless the reader understands the land of Palestine two thousand years ago and gets to see the people, he will not understand this particular day. And it was precisely because so many of the Jewish people believed in Jesus that the elders of thekit impelled to plot against his life -- or else, as the high priests said: "He will lead the people astray."

This day bred love and bred rancor and both are still with us. It changed the course of history. In time, it brought nations to the surface, and then submerged them into everlasting limbo. It affected races of people for weal or woe and it affected the lives of billions of individuals. And yet, when friends took Jesus down from the cross, it was not considered by the world -- even the world of Palestine -- to be an event of importance.

Many of the people of Jerusalem and of Galilee and in the small villages around the land who believed that Jesus was the Messiah were disappointed. To their way of thinking, Jesus should have called legions of angels and struck down the Romans and the high priests who executed his death. He should have sat on a cloud flanked by his apostles and proclaimed a new rule of the world. The fact that he did not -- that he chose to die to redeem the sins of man -- was, to their minds, a token of failure. Crucifixion was considered to be such a shameful way to die that, for some time afterward, even his apostles did not want to discuss it.

Of paramount concern to me was to try to orient the facts of this day. My sole armament in this was, first, a lifelong belief that Jesus is God and the second person of the Trinity; second, an unquenchable curiosity to which I have become enslaved; and third, a feeling that Jesus truly loved everyone, and proved it.

In the research, I found split trails all along the road. At these points, I felt free to take the one to the left, or the one to the right. For example, was the Roman Procurator, Pontius Pilate, at the Fortress Antonia on this particular day or across town in Herod's palace? A small point, perhaps, but there is evidence favoring both conclusions. In all cases, I examined the evidence and selected what, to me, seemed to be the logical trail.

Nothing in this book controverts the teachings of the Bible. One who believes in the truth of the Gospels (as I have -- and do) must confess to a certain lack of objectivity. But I also claim to be a journalist; I felt that my job was, first of all, to proceed independently. While researching material for this book, I made a trip to Jerusalem accompanied by my twelve-year-old daughter, Gayle, to whom I am indebted for endless conversation, innocent questions, and the rich warmth of her feeling that all along the way she was taking care of me.

In Jerusalem -- the ancient walled city, not the beautiful new one to the west -- one can still walk the way of the cross, kneel in Gethsemane,stand on top of the Mount of Olives and visualize the Holy City as it was, touch the spot where the cross stood, and 120 feet northwest walk into the holy sepulcher. The writer can also meet archeologists of the several faiths, and this one did. These dedicated men -- Catholics, Jews, Episcopalians, Baptists, Methodists, Lutherans -- are all eager to help, and each one adds a brush stroke to a portrait.

The Day Christ Died. Copyright © by Jim Bishop. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Day Christ Died 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have suggested this Great Book to all of my friends. I decieded to read it for Lent,but have continued to do so,each day. It is so easy to read,it is the Bible in story form.It moves very quickly.It also gives great backround and information, about the times the Crufixations took place,that I was not aware of before. I have started to read the Bible so many times,but never got to far.Iam sure this will take me all the way through with great understanding and enjoyment. I never realized The Day Christ Died was just that,A Day!
McQuigg More than 1 year ago
This hour-by-hour telling of Jesus's last days helped me to put the last day of Christ into perspective. The book is straightforward, reminding me a bit of the television series "Dragnet", with a "Just the fact's ma'am" attitude and timeline. It is also similar in many ways to the movie "The Passion of the Christ", giving another view into day-to-day life at the time of Christ.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The death of Christ is uniquely set as if contemporary reporters were there at the scene. Very similar to Bishop's narrative of JFK's death, this book seems more compelling because of the contrast between modern reporting and the chaos of the last day of Jesus' life in ancient times. It is probably the most interesting approach that I have ever read concerning Christ's crucifixion. Another book that is hard to put down.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It is a wonderful book, espcially to be read around Easter time. It truly brought the crucifixtion story to life for me. I grew up in the church and have always known the story. Read it for yourself and see if you don't come away with a fresh appreciation for what Jesus did for us.
6740mes More than 1 year ago
An excellent and most inspiring book. It did not preach or attempt to convert. As one reader said, "IT'S THE FACTS AND ONLY THE FACTS" as in Dragnet the TV show. Excentally written. A great tribute to the author.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I found this book to be very inspirational. It was one of the best books I have read. There was lots of information about Jesus and the period he lived (customs,living conditions, etc.)It told in great detail how crucifictions were carried out and what Christ suffered. The book was done in a style that anyone could read. I read it in two days.....couldn't put it down!
FrancescaFB More than 1 year ago
The execution--we all know this had to happen, it was the way it was supposed to happen. But reading Mansfield's details of these events, the grusome details, made it so much more unbearable to hear. What Jesus endured is explained in intricate detail, from the prophecy, the betrayals, the conspiracy to be rid of this rebel, this so-called rabbi, and of his teachings of peace. Even after 2013 years, Mansfield reminds us of what we still need to hear, that this brutal execution is our enduring proof of Jesus' love for all of us, and this will live on forever.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was very little when I first scanned this book. I remember only the clear English and the pages regarding the final hour. This book is so much better than what that little girl retained ! It is clear and informative but Bishop goes out on a limb time after time to insert his own conclusions. He is rarely wrong even in the face of recent archeological findings. If the reader seeks to put faces and places on the four Gospels, this book is an absolute must. If the reade just wants a truly human look at that fateful day, this is a very good place to start. I don't agree with every detail but I bow to Bishop's masterful retelling of the most important day in the Christian calendar.
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coalminerswife More than 1 year ago
Reading this historic account of the death of Jesus was possibly the next thing to being an actual witness - - - it was that real. For those who are of this faith, the book will strengthen that faith; for those who just want a riveting historic story, this book meets the test. I have never read a Jim Bishop book that I didn't read more than once.
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