Summary: From the tragedy of the Cross to the Triumph of the Resurrection. Jesus has paid the price for all to receive salvation.
Tragedy to Triumph
Pastor Jim May
As the sun began to rise on the first day of the week, there was a somber mood in the city of Jerusalem. The Passover was now over and it was time for the Jews to leave the city and return to their homes and villages across Israel. This had been a week of high excitement that had ended in stark terror.
Only 1 week before, the hope of Israel for deliverance from the Roman Occupation was at its peak but that hope had been dashed by the crucifixion of the one man who most considered to be the leader who could begin the rebellion against Rome, Jesus of Nazareth.
No one, not the High Priest of Israel, the Sanhedrin Council, Herod, Pilate, the Roman Soldiers who nailed Jesus to the cross right down to the ordinary citizen of Jerusalem would ever forget the events of just a few days ago.
While the soldiers that mocked Jesus shouted at him to come down from the cross if he was really the Son of God as He had claimed to be, and while Mary, his mother, and a few of his disciples stood watching, Jesus had paid the ultimate price for man’s sin upon that cross.
They watched as Jesus hung there in great suffering as the nails in his feet and hands sent shudders of pain as raw exposed nerves rubbed against the nails each time Jesus attempted to breath or move. They had heard Jesus’ last words on that cross as He said in
Luke 23:34, "… Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do."
There were two thieves who were crucified at the same time. Everyone there could hear the words of the thieves as one mocked Jesus while the other begged for Jesus to remember him in his kingdom.
Luke 23:43, "And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise."
Then, as Jesus looked toward Heaven, He drew his last breath …Luke 23:46, "And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost."
At the last hours before Jesus died it seemed that the whole world had turned upside down. Darkness filled Jerusalem because the sun was hidden for the space of 3 hours in the middle of the day. The thick curtain that had hung for many years in the temple that separated the Holy of Holies where the presence of God dwelled was suddenly ripped in two from top to bottom like a giant pair of hands had torn it easier than you rip a piece of paper. The very ground beneath their feet had quaked and brought fear upon all who stood around.
Even battle hardened Roman Centurions were heard to confess that surely Jesus was the Son of God for no one had ever seen these things before.
Finally, the Roman soldiers came by and pierced the side of Jesus and water mixed with blood came from the wound. Jesus was dead so they took him down from the cross for burial in a common grave like any other criminal.
John 19:38-42, "And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus. And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight. Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury. Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid. There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews’ preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand."
That was three days ago and now it was the First day of the new week. Jerusalem was just beginning to awaken from a long dark night when a strong aftershock from an earthquake struck the city adding to the feeling of dread and fear that already filled the city.
The time had finally come for the body of Jesus to properly prepared and wrapped for burial. Three of his most devout followers, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome went to the tomb where Jesus was buried but they were concerned about moving the huge boulder that had been rolled in place to seal the tomb because they were not able to move it.