Summary: Easter - What were the first word’s Jesus says after his rez? ta da! The women at the tomb are filled with fear for they now understand who Jesus really is.
Did you see the TIME magazine this week? Cover – Why did Jesus have to die? Of all the topics that could have made the cover - Why Jesus?
To the American mind the whole story of Jesus life and death doesn’t completely seem to make sense. We can understand a good life, moral teachings, incredible insights into human life…But the whole story of Jesus death and resurrection....Why did it have to be that, why those events? Couldn’t there have been another way?
Some would say, Jesus was an example of a good life – that is what we are to follow. Don’t worry about understanding his death and resurrection. That is not only a big misunderstanding, but a big mistake. That saps all the power and spiritual renewal from our lives. I like what one contributor to the TIME article said - If it was all about a good life the Bible could have ended with Cain and Able. Hello…Able was a pretty good guy wasn’t he?
What we see in the crucifixion and resurrection of is this: The Physical meeting the Spiritual. Our material world, what we see, and touch, meeting the Spiritual world. It is hard for us to understand, for it may not be part of our everyday experience.
Let’s try to make sense of all this.
Pilate is surprised that Jesus is already dead (verse 44). Most victims took 3 days to die. He may be unaware of the severity of the beating Jesus received. So Pilate calls for the centurion – to check if Jesus is dead, calling the centurion on the carpet. Many times soldiers would leave area thinking the victim was dead and then it would happen: Family and friends would take down the victim (this was very common) telling the guards, if they came back, he was dead, and they took the body to burial.
Pilate is insuring against this. Jesus had family waiting, he is suspicious.
Jesus - Soma or Ptoma. Joseph of Arimathea asks for Jesus’ body. He asks for the body - soma. Pilate gave him the body – Ptoma. Soma – full personality. Ptoma – carcass. This is very purposeful language. When Jesus is resurrected. It is not just spiritual – like a ghost. It is not another being – taking the place of Jesus, like an angel or such. It is full body, soul, spirit, personality…everything….all of Jesus.
Notice: The women see where the body is laid. Later some would say they went to the wrong tomb.
Have you ever had this happen to you? Coming out of the Mall you cannot remember where you parked you car? It has happened to me a few times. One time for the life of me I could not find our light blue van. I searched for about 45 minutes. I finally realized I had driven the car, not the van.
They knew where Jesus was there was a reason it was women and not men at the tomb.
My question at this point is: Where is everyone? At one point in Jesus ministry he has thousands of people following him hanging on to his every word, promising to stay by Jesus. Where are they now? No one shows up except Mary - Mary and Joseph of Arimathea. We are not even sure Joseph believed, he only may have wanted to honor custom of decent burial.
Fact: Just because someone does something religious, that doesn’t mean they believe in Jesus, or that they are a follower of Christ.
Fear of Death.
I think some of what is happening here is the fear of death among Jesus’ followers. They fear that Jesus is dead….and gone. They fear they are next. Will they come after me next? Will they clean house. Some are not sure where Jesus is, but they aren’t out looking for him are they?
Most people in the city of Jerusalem have moved on. They had a moment with God and it was great. Jesus was quite a guy. He did great things. But now what? Jesus is gone. Well, I guess I’ll get back to what I was doing.
Again it is the women who venture out. It seems that they thought Jesus body needed more burial preparation. So they are bringing spices, an ancient way of embalming. As they walk, almost at the tomb, they talk about who is going to move the stone - seems like a lack of planning, don’t you thin? The stone would have been up to five feet in diameter, and very heavy. But they look up and the stone is rolled aside. The women enter the tomb and Jesus is gone and they are afraid.
Found in Nazareth its speaks of an ordinance about graves and tombs. Bottom line: if you move a body from a tomb capital punishment is the result.