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The body of Jesus had been removed from the cross and properly buried in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea.  This had been done as the time of Preparation came to end.

This was the time to prepare for the Sabbath Day, which followed.  By law, no work was to be done on the Sabbath, so preparations for a were done the day before.  The Sabbath began at sundown the night before and went until sundown of the Sabbath Day.  In current times, this would be from sundown on Friday night to sundown on Saturday night.  Consequently, the first day of the Jewish week began on Sunday, which is where we resume the Easter story.

Now after Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices that they might come and anoint Him (body of Jesus).  After being told that Jesus said He would rise on the third day, Roman soldiers stood guard of the tomb to make sure that no one would remove Jesus’ body, then claim that He had risen.  As the women approached the tomb, they wondered how they would manage to open the tomb entrance, but when they arrived, they found the stone had been rolled away. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man clothed in a long white robe sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed.  But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed.  You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified.  He is risen! He is not here.  See the place where they laid HIm.  But go, tell His disciples – and Peter – that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you.”   “Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, saying, ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.’ ” And they remembered His words. 

Then they returned from the tomb and told all these things to the eleven and all the rest…Peter arose and ran to the tomb; and stooping down, he saw the linen cloths lying by themselves; and he departed, marveling to himself at what had happened.  He saw the linen cloths lying there and the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself.  Then the other disciple… went in also; and he saw and believed.  (Matthew 28:1-8, Mark 16:1-8, Luke 24:1-12, John 20:1-13)

But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she topped down and looked into the tomb.  And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.  Then they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?”  She said to them, because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.”  Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know it was Jesus.  Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?  Whom are you seeking?”  She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, “Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away.”  Jesus said to her, “Mary!”  She turned and said Him, “Rabboni! (Teacher!)”  Jesus said to her, do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and Your Father, and to My God and your God.'”

Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that He had spoken these things to her.   (Matthew 28:9-15, Mark 16:9-11, John 14-18)

Christ, the Lord, is risen indeed!  Today we celebrate our resurrected Savior, who died as a sacrifice for our sins, that we could be redeemed from the death of sin, and find life everlasting in Him.  Praise be to God!      To read the Easter story online, go to http://www.BibleGateway.com .

Happy Easter!

 

Jesus had been crucified, hung on a cross to die.  That evening, in the time of Preparation before the Sabbath Day, a righteous man named Joseph, from Arirmathea, received permission from Pilate to take the body of Jesus for a proper burial.  In that day, families who were financially able to do so, purchased “tombs” that had been hewn in rocks to bury their own.  Joseph from Arimathea generously offered a space in his tomb for the body of Jesus.  He removed Jesus’ body from the cross.  Nicodemus came with a generous amount of myrrh and aloes.  Strips of linen were dipped in the spices, wrapped around Jesus’ body, and then they laid Him in the tomb.   (Luke 23:50-54 and John 19:38-42).  

It was important that these things be done quickly before the end of the time of Preparation.  That was the time preceding the start of the Sabbath, at which time all Jews observed a day of rest.  No work was to be done.  Had the preparation of Jesus’ body not been complete before the start of Sabbath (sundown on what is now called Friday evening), the men would have been in violation of the Sabbath. 

Consequently, the Sabbath Day took place on what we now call Saturday.  Can you imagine what a difficult day this must have been for  those who loved and followed Jesus?  Especially those closest to Him?  On this day of rest, they had only their grief to keep them company. 

Did Mary (Jesus’ mother) know what was happening and what it all meant?  Had the Holy Spirit given her special knowledge and understanding of the sacrifice her precious Son had made?  Or was she as bewildered as everyone else? 

What were the disciples thinking?  Were they having second thoughts about following a man who was put to death like a criminal instead of leading the Jews as the valiant King they had anticipated?  Or were they recalling the events of the night before saying “if only” we had done this or that, perhaps we could have saved Jesus?   Perhaps they were remembering all they had witnessed and learned from Jesus, replaying conversations in their head, and starting to make sense of it all.  Did they remember that He had foretold of His death?  In retrospect, were they gaining deeper insights into who this man Jesus really was? 

And what about the crowd who witnessed Jesus’ death?  Some became believers after He died.  What were they now thinking? 

We don’t know the answers to these questions, but one thing that seems safe to assume is that most were left in a state of grief, mourning and sadness.  The Son of God, King of Jews, the fulfillment of the Savior, Messiah, was dead.  What would happen now? 

 

“It is finished!” Jesus said.  (John 19:30)

Jesus was hung on a cross to die.  At the sixth hour (noon), the land became dark.  The sun remained darkened until the ninth hour (3:00) when the earth trembled and shook, the veil (curtain) in the temple ripped in two, from top to bottom, Jesus, knowing that ll things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled…He said, “It is finished!”  And bowing His head, He gave up his spirit. (John 19:28,30)  He breathed his last breath, and died. 

Having witnessed these events as Jesus died, one of the centurions glorified God when he said, “Truly this Man was the Son of God!” (Mark 15:39)

Personal thought: Though the physical darkness of earth was lifted at the ninth hour (3:00), with Jesus’ death there must have been a great “darkness” of heart for all who loved and followed Jesus.  Their time of grieving began. 

Good Friday, friends!  How did you sleep last night?  For Jesus, there was no rest.  After dining one last time with his disciples, Jesus asked them to join Him in the Garden of Gethsemane to pray.  Three times He told them about the fate that awaited Him, but they did not understand.  Gathering the twelve disciples around him, Jesus told them, “As you know we are going to Jerusalem.  And when we get there, all the predictions of the ancient prophets concerning the Son of Man will come true.  He will be handed over to the Romans to be mocked, treated shamefully, and spit upon.  They will whip him and kill him, but on the third day he will rise again.”  (Luke 18:31-33)  There in the Garden with the disciples, where Jesus went to pray to God one more time as He agonized about the events which were about to take place on this fateful night, Roman soldiers came to arrest Jesus.  He spent the night enduring a secret trial in which He was found guilty and condemned to death, then treated terribly as He had foretold. There was no sleep for Jesus last night, just the physical torture of the men who kept Him captive, and the emotional pain from the sins of the people He came to save. They stripped him of His clothes, beat Jesus with lead-tipped whips, then mocked Him by dressing Him in a purple cloak and placing a crown of thorns upon His head.   The morning found Jesus bearing the weight of His own cross, being led through town up to the hill where He was nailed to a cross and hung to die with two other men who were known criminals.

This was not a quick death, but an agonizing time. In His agony, Jesus cried out to God, not to curse the actions of those who crucified Him, but to say, “Father, forgive these people, because they don’t know what they are doing.”  One of the criminals acknowledged Jesus as an innocent man who didn’t deserve to die like a criminal.  Showing compassion for this man, Jesus said to him, “today you will be with me in paradise.”  (Luke 23:43) 

At noon, the hour it is as I write, darkness fell on the entire land until three o’clock.

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