Summary: The empty tomb produces confusion, yet Jesus is still at work
I know today is Good Friday – the day we focus on the death of Jesus.
But we have been making our way through the Gospel of John and the part that we are up to is John 20:1-10 – the section which tells us that the body of Jesus has gone from the grave.
So there is a little confusion, isn’t there.
Which is actually a small taste of what was happening around the grave, as people tried to work out where the body of Jesus had disappeared to.
It is that aspect – the confusion which was going on around the grave – which is our focus today. Because there are a number of times when, in connection with the death of Jesus, there is confusion.
There is the confusion of the temple leaders, elders and teachers. They are looking into the face of the promised Messiah, but they have determined that He is a threat which needs to be killed.
There is the confusion of the crowd. Early in the week they were praising God as Jesus rode into the city. By the end of the week they were shouting, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him.”
There is the confusion of Pilate. On at least three occasions Pilate says that Jesus is innocent and that He is not worthy of death. Yet Jesus gets put to death.
There is the confusion of the disciples. On the night Jesus was betrayed all of them, not just Peter, said they would stand by Jesus. Less than 24 hours later they are running scared in confusion and fear.
In all that confusion however, there is even a more confusing issue. Where is the body of Jesus?
Let’s read John’s account John 20:1-10
The reason for the confusion comes from the events that happened on Good Friday.
Physically Jesus took a huge amount of punishment.
67 Then they spit in his face and struck him with their fists. Others slapped him 68 and said, “Prophesy to us, Messiah. Who hit you?” (Matthew 26:67-68)
26 Then Pilate released Barabbas to the crowd. But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified. (Matthew 27:26)
On top of this is the brutality of crucifixion itself. A physically painful event.
Emotionally Jesus took a huge amount of punishment
47 While he was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him,48 but Jesus asked him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” (Luke 22:47-48)
One of those closest to Him was the betrayer
60 Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. 61 The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter.
The one who was never going to leave and be ready to die with Him was the one couldn’t stand firm in the face of accusations.
12 “What shall I do, then, with the one you call the king of the Jews?” Pilate asked them.
13 “Crucify him!” they shouted. (Mark 15:12-13)
The whole nation has turn against Him.
41 The chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him.42 “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. (Matthew 27:41-42)
Those who should have welcomed Him and understood his agenda are now mocking Him.
The emotional toll this took would have been incredible. All around those who you would hope would be supportive are taking their support away. Jesus is progressively being abandoned.
Spiritually Jesus took a huge amount of punishment
45 From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land.46 About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lemasabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”). (Matt 27:45-46)
Being forsaken by God is no small matter. To have the full anger of God against the sin of the whole of world and to carry all of that in a moment is a punishment almost beyond endurance.
We call it Good Friday – but really there is nothing good about it for Jesus. No wonder it leads to death.
Jesus cries out and gives up His spirit.
Then He is buried.
Everyone is sure about what happened.
We like life to be about that which is sure and certain.
We like to be sure about the marriage partner God brings into our lives. All who are married stand before witnesses and say their vows.
They mean these vows … till death do us part. There is certainty and surety about the words.