Summary: UP FROM THE GRAVE HE AROSE (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Reading: Luke chapter 23 verse 47 to chapter 24 verse 12
• In many countries when someone important dies;
• The flags are lowered to half-mast.
• When we remember the people who died in two world wars we observe a silence.
• A mark of respect.
We are breaking into the narrative when Jesus is suspended on the cross,
• Hanging between heaven and earth,
• And has been hanging here for the past three hours.
• When Jesus died God did something in respect of him,
• He blotted out the sunlight for three hours.
• Luke chapter 23 verse 44:
• “It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour,”
• The sixth hour was noon, when the sun should have been at its highest,
• But instead darkness covered the entire area.
Question: What is its significance of the darkness?
Answer: The Gospel writers don’t tell us, but there are several possibilities.
• It may symbolize the reign of moral darkness.
• Darkness is a symbol in the Bible of ignorance, spiritual blindness, and evil.
• But it also may represent the Father’s anger;
• At the way his only begotten Son is being treated.
Chapter 23 verse 46:
46Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”
When he had said this, he breathed his last.
• With a deep sigh,
• And after a few final words Jesus released a final breath into the darkened sky.
• His head bowed forward. His body slumped. Jesus was dead.
• At least, that was what the people saw.
• To the enemies of Jesus’, the sight bore a measure of satisfaction;
• To His friends, the sight was one of total despair.
• Their hopes were gone, their spirits broken,
• They had nothing left.
Note: (I mentioned this morning):
• That the final words spoken by Jesus on the cross,
• Are a quote from Psalm 31 verse 5.
• These words were actually a bedtime prayer that Jewish children used.
• They show us how the Lord died:
• Safe in the care of his heavenly Father.
• “No-one takes my life from me…………lay it down”.
• And victoriously;
• “I commit” he was in total charge of his life and situation.
(a). Reactions to Jesus Death:
• In the final verses of chapter 23,
• Luke isolates four reactions to Jesus’ death.
(1). An experienced Soldier (verse 47):
47The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said,
“Surely this was a righteous man.”
• The person nearest to Jesus when He died,
• And the first to respond was a centurion.
• As the commander of the crucifixion detail,
• He had observed many men die on Skull Hill.
• If they ended up here, they were always the worst sort of men,
• Normally they would have been foaming and snarling with hate ill: tongue cut out.
But this man (Jesus) was different.
• Instead of curses, verse 43 tells us:
• His lips uttered an offer of forgiveness, he made a promise of paradise to a dying thief,
This tough hard experienced soldier:
• Must have thought he had seen it all as far as crucifixions are concerned;
• But he had never seen anyone die like this man!
• Watching the way Jesus died must have made the centurion wonder,