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,
• Could He be the King they say He is?
• Then, when Jesus breathed His last, he made his declaration;
• N.I.V: “Surely this was a righteous man.” N.A.S. “Certainly this man was innocent.”
• The word used means much more than innocent of a crime,
• But is used to describe one who lives with high standards, "upright, just, fair."
(2). A diverse crowd (verse 48-49):
And all the people that came together to that sight, beholding the things which were done, smote their breasts, and returned. 49And all his acquaintance, and the women that followed him from Galilee, stood afar off, beholding these things.
Luke next draws our attention to the people scattered around the base of the hill:
• A crowd made up of sympathetic believers,
• And curious onlookers and outright hostile enemies!
• Some of the disciples gathered and looked on;
• Shattered by the events of Jesus’ crucifixion, they looked on, all their hopes now gone.
• They had expected Jesus to usher in his kingdom, to be God’s Messiah, a powerful king,
• But instead they stared at what seemed to be ‘a defeated criminal.’
• Scared that they too might be arrested and killed,
• The disciples watched the crucifixion from a distance (verse 49).
• Most of them kept their distance and did not get involved,