Summary: This message focuses on the Resurrection and the hope we through it.
A Slave For Christ Part 7
When I closed my message last week, Joseph of Arimathea had claimed Jesus’ body and buried it in an unused tomb. He died around 3:00 p.m. on Friday and was buried before 6:00 p.m. the start of the preparation for the Sabbath. Jesus body stayed in the tomb until early Sunday morning (3 days and 2 nights). Remember, in the New Testament times, days and nights were counted in 12 hour time increments. Six a.m. to 6:00 p.m. was a day and 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. was a night. If something happened within a short period of time on a given day, the whole day was counted. Jesus was in the grave on Friday (before 6 p.m.), Saturday (all day) and Sunday (rose after 6 a.m.). So Jesus was in the grave for three days as He stated He would be in Matthew 12:40. Some have questioned the accuracy of the time based on Matthew 12:40 but the focused on was the fact that as Jonah came out of the belly of the large fish after three days, He would come out of the grave. Because of the witnesses, we know for a fact that He died around 3 p.m. and was buried before 6 p.m. We also know that He had risen early Sunday morning before the other witnesses arrived at the grave sight (I will discuss this more later).
On Friday evening, the disciples and everyone else’s understanding was that Jesus was dead and would stay dead. He was the one who empowered them to do miracles and now He was gone. On Friday afternoon their Savior was taken from them and they had no hope. Who could raise Him from the dead after everything He had experienced? Who would now lead them and empower them to go forth? They did not understand what would happen on Sunday morning. All they knew was that the person who had changed their lives was dead. There was mourning taking place on Friday evening. There was fear running rampant on Friday evening. People who once stood boldly before the crowds and worked miracles were now in hiding fearing their lives. A mother had lost her Son. Siblings had lost a brother. The disciples had lost their teacher. Those healed by Jesus had lost their doctor. People were in shock and questioned how this could be.
When the nation watched on TV as John F. Kennedy was assassinated, people were shocked, in tears, angry, and sad. When we learned of the assassination of Dr. Martin L. King, people once again were shocked, in tears, angry, sad, and now fueled with hatred. When Sen. Robert Kennedy was assassinated a few months after Dr. King, the same emotions were experienced and many lost hope that America would ever reach its potential, especially as race was concerned. Some black Americans lost all hope that one day all men would be treated equally in United States. Many blacks felt that this was the end. Hope took a terrible hit when President Kennedy was assassinated; was crushed when Dr. King was assassinated and was terminated when Sen. Robert Kennedy was assassinated. But let me tell you something, President Kennedy; Dr. King; nor Sen. Kennedy was Jesus Christ. Although they were good men who fought for what they believed in, they did not perform any miracles; raise the dead; cast out demons; nor healed the sick. They were men and we mourned and experienced many emotions upon their passing. If you can understand how Americans felt when these men died, you can begin to understand the hopelessness that the followers of Jesus felt upon His crucifixion. They did not know about Sunday. They did not know they would see Him again real soon. The two Marys expected to see Him dead in His tomb on Sunday morning, but no one expected anything else. All hope was lost. But Jesus death offered us the greatest hope that we would ever experience!
I. All Hell Breaks Loose
Just as there were some people who rejoiced when The Kennedys and Dr. King were assassinated, there were people rejoicing when Jesus was crucified. I want you to use your imagination and picture all hell breaking loose when Jesus died because that is exactly what happened. Let me walk you through Rodney’s version of this based on how I understand Scripture.
We know that Satan was at the root of this because as soon as Jesus came on the scene He tempted Jesus to get Him to serve him (Matthew 4:1-11). When that did not work, He set his goal on destroying Jesus. Had Satan known what would happen when he succeeded he would have left Jesus alone! Luke 22:3 records “And Satan entered into Judas who was called Iscariot, belonging to the number of the twelve.” Satan was busy plotting and now he had a vessel to use. Through Judas betrayal, Satan organized the death of Jesus. When Jesus hung on the cross (before) He actually died, there was rejoicing in hell. Can you see Satan throwing a party for all of His leadership as they watched Jesus hanging on the cross and waiting with great anticipation for Him to take His last breath? He was celebrating his victory. He was celebrating the fact that he could now once again rule over the earth and set things back in order according to his desires. Jesus had temporarily disrupted things but he was now back in charge. The party lasted from the time Jesus was nailed to the cross until the time He died. Now here is where it gets interesting. I am sure that Satan was happy that he no longer had to deal with Jesus. Jesus was with His Father again in heaven and he once again had the rule over the earth. Fear reigned and he was in a very good place. I am sure he was planning how he would finish off the disciples and other followers of Jesus and get things back on track. Jesus had been such a pain in his plan that just knowing He was dead was a great cause to celebrate. Imagine if you please the following as I describe what took place between Friday night and Sunday morning.