Everything they had placed their belief in, a new bright future was gone – hope was buried in that tomb!
On the night Jesus was betrayed by Judas, and handed over to the local authorities, he had celebrated the Passover Meal with His Disciples, in the Upper Room.
Passover is the time of beginnings for Israel.This festival ushers in the coming of spring on the Jewish calendar. It was the time when the people of Israel remembered what God had done for them, freeing them from slavery in Egypt, and setting them on the road to a new life in the Promised Land.
There were (and still are) absolutes – which must be followed to the letter of the Law by practising Jews for this great celebration. It is the Sacrifice of the Lamb that gives this feast its meaning – the Lamb without blemish! (Exodus 12) This sacrifice to The Lord had to be as perfect as it could be.
We can be assured that Jesus and His Disciples, as true Israelites, would have followed precisely the custom set down for this celebration. After which, Jesus went down to The Garden of Gethsemane to pray.
At some point, Jesus took three of them—Peter, James and John— to a place separated from the rest. Here Jesus asked them to watch with Him and pray so they would not fall into temptation (Matthew 26:41), but they fell asleep. Twice Jesus had to wake them and remind them to pray so that they would not fall into temptation. This was especially poignant because Peter did indeed fall into temptation later that very night when three times he denied even knowing Jesus. Jesus moved a little way from the three men to pray, and twice he asked His Father to remove the cup of wrath He was about to drink, but each time He submitted to the Father’s will. He was “exceedingly sorrowful unto death,” but God sent an angel from heaven to strengthen Him (Luke 22:43).
After this, Judas Iscariot, the betrayer, arrived with a “multitude” of soldiers, high priests, Pharisees, and servants to arrest Jesus. Judas identified Him by the prearranged signal of a kiss which he gave to Jesus.
Of course, the most important impact of this night was the willingness of our Saviour to die on the cross in our place in order to pay the penalty for our sins. God “made Him who knew no sin, to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
At the time of the death of Jesus Christ on the humiliating cross at Calvary, none of His Disciples and followers could possibly understand – even though He had tried to explain it to them, all this had to take place.
It had been prophesied by the Old Testament writers. There are, according to some scholars, nearly 2000 prophecies in the Bible, many of which are about the death of Jesus Christ – Messiah – at the appointed time.
But they were feeling let down, abandoned and most of all (I expect) lost and fearful without their Master. The time had arrived for them to run home, hide and cry. Being good practising Jews, they would follow the Laws and Rituals associated with the feast. We know that Pilate set a guard on the tomb of Jesus the day after His death, and we know also that the Jewish Sabbath occurred, so that all Jesus’ followers would have been observing that.
I can only try to imagine what would have been happening behind the closed doors where Disciples were resting. The conversations, the questions, the denials, the anger possibly, the tears definitely, it must have been terribly distressing. How let down and hurt they all must have felt.
I myself like many others have felt the loss of a loved one. I too have felt terrible shock and sadness when hearing of the cruel death of famous and much loved people in history. How much more must have Jesus’ family and friends suffered over those few days?
Till the Sabbath was over, none could go to the tomb to attend to the rituals required. But when the morning after the Sabbath arrived, and the women went to ‘anoint Jesus’ body’, they found the tomb empty. The stone had been rolled away – Jesus was not there. “We don’t know where they have put him!” (Jn 20:2).
Luke tells us: On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’” Then they remembered his words.
What a simplified way of putting things:
Then they remembered His words.
How would I have reacted I wonder – with fear – with disbelief – with pure joy? I hope it would have been pure joy…..
My Master is Risen from the Dead. Jesus is not in the tomb, He is alive.
Yes HE IS ALIVE – even the grave could not hold Him. That’s My King!
That is the message you and I have this Easter Sunday Morning – the pure joy we can tell to all who will listen.
“Jesus Christ – murdered on Friday is NOT dead. The tomb is empty, He is Risen. That my Dear Friend is just the beginning of my story……”
Will you share this message too? I hope so.
And also: Sunday Is Coming (video)
Have a Happy and Blessed Easter, and a wonderful New Life in the Risen Christ.