We call it Good Friday today. However, for the first followers of Jesus it was the darkest day they had ever experienced. Their Lord had been taken from them and had been crucified on a Roman cross, and buried before sundown. For them it was Black Friday, the darkest day they had ever known.
Black Friday turned into gloomy Saturday. They were literally overwhelmed with grief beyond words. They were completely disillusioned for they had hoped that Jesus had been the Messiah. Now he was dead. That they were certain of. Some of them had seen Jesus die. They had seen the soldier pierce his side and the blood and water rush out. They saw Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus take the lifeless body of Jesus down from the cross, hastily anoint the body, wrap in in linen cloths, and place it in Joseph’s tomb which he had prepared for himself and his family. All their hope was gone.
But then came Sunday, and everything changed. They began that Sunday just as dreary as they had been on Saturday. By Sunday evening they were rejoicing in the presence of the risen Lord.
But we are getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s look at what really happened on that day of resurrection. No single Gospel account gives us the full account of the resurrection, but if we look carefully at all of them then we might be able to harmonize the events of Resurrection Day. Let’s see how those first Christians came to meet the risen Lord.
Jesus had been crucified and buried on Friday. The followers of Jesus had faithfully observed the Sabbath which began around 6:00 PM on Friday. But at 6:00 PM on Saturday, the Sabbath had ended. The women who had followed Jesus made a brief visit to the tomb, and then had gone out to purchase spices so they could finish the task of anointing the body of Jesus the next morning. They had no doubt wanted to give their Lord a proper funeral the next day.
But something happened during the night while it was still dark. There was an earthquake. An angel descended and rolled away the stone from the tomb. The guards were terrified, fainting at the sight of the angel, or was it something else that frightened them? Was there a movement from within the tomb? Jesus rose from the dead. We are not told how the resurrection took place, but wouldn’t you like to have an instant replay of the event? We must add, that the stone was rolled away, not to let Jesus out of the tomb, but to let the disciples in.
Early in the morning, the women started for the tomb. Mary Magdalene had apparently gone on ahead of them, intending to meet the other women at the tomb. When she arrived she found the stone rolled away and the tomb empty. Immediately, she ran to tell Peter and John. The other women arrived shortly after sunrise. They were discussing who would roll away the stone so they could anoint the body of Jesus. Upon their arrival, they too saw that the stone had been rolled away and the