Summary: An Easter teaching for seekers and those who may have questions about what happened on that Sunday when Jesus arose. http://www.sermonlist.com/2008.html
Every Easter Sunday, we find people sitting in churches that have no real understanding of just what went on at Easter, or why it happened. They come to church because they have a yearning to hear the story of Christ, but they leave with just as many questions as they had before they came in.
It is with this in mind that I chose to give an overview of the Easter scenario so we could all have a basic understanding of what happened; when it happened; and why it happened. I hope I am able to answer some of the questions you might have.
The Jewish leaders hated Jesus because He preached something they did not understand, and they were too comfortable with where they were to try and find out what it all meant. They hated Him, and they conspired to have Him killed. If they were able to get Jesus out of the way permanently, everything would go back to the way it was before and all would be fine.
We sure do like our comfort zones. Those religious leaders liked the esteem they got from those around them. They liked being the ones who told people how to worship. They were much like the Hollywood crowd today; they were all wrapped up in self-righteous adulation. They were so stuck on themselves they could not understand that their way might not be the best way. And so their wish came true – Jesus was arrested on false charges and sentenced to death. But three days after He was put into the tomb, their worse nightmare came true.
And it caught Jesus’ disciples by complete surprise. We are talking about the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. None of the disciples sat around waiting happily for Him to come out of the tomb. No, they hid from the general population because they feared they would be crucified, too. They sat in stunned silence, hearts wrenching because the One whom they loved and believed in was put to death on the cross, like a common criminal.
Was this the end? I am sure that one part of them thought it might be; yet another part kept waiting to see what was going to happen next. I believe they were stunned beyond feeling at this point.
After the Last Supper, they sang psalms and then went to the Mount of Olives. This is where Jesus told them that they would run away from Him that same night. Then Jesus asked the disciples to sit and wait for Him while He went and prayed. The Scripture tells us that Jesus was deeply sorrowed and stressed at this time.
We cannot even imagine what Jesus was going through. On one hand, He knew He was the living Christ, part of the Heavenly Godhead. On the other hand, He knew His capabilities as a mortal. And as He looked at the next morning, His body began to shudder at the thought of hanging on that cross. While this was going on, Judas was over at the chief priest’s home, getting paid to turn Jesus over to them. He then led a contingent of guards to the Garden so they could arrest Jesus.
I have always thought it funny how it took a whole contingent of armed soldiers to go get Jesus. That shows me two things. First, it shows me that the priests and leaders were afraid of Jesus, and it also shows me that they were determined to get Him without any slip-ups this time. Then Judas went to Jesus like a long trusted friend and kissed Him on the cheek. This was the sign that showed the captures which one to arrest.
They took Jesus to the high priest and the Sanhedrin. They looked for testimony that would convict Jesus so they could hurry and kill Him. Finding none, two men who were paid came forward and told lies. These lies are what convicted our Savior. If anyone has ever told lies about you, trying to get others to turn against you, you know how betrayed you felt. Now we start having a glimpse of how Jesus must have felt that night.
Now there was a crowd outside in the courtyard and Peter was in that crowd. Hate must have been so thick you could cut it that night. This is where Peter was asked if he knew Jesus, and three times he denied Jesus.
Early that morning, they tied Jesus up and handed Him over to Pilate, the governor. Now it was about this time that Judas became remorseful at the terrible thing he had done and went to return the money he was paid to betray Jesus. But the priests said it was blood money and could not be accepted into the temple. Judas didn’t want the money so he threw it at them. After he did this, he went out and killed himself because of what he had done. So the priests took the money and bought Potter’s Field as a place to bury foreigners. Those who have been to that area tell me that to this day, that field is barren and empty.