March 30, 2013



March 30

Cross Events


Welcome back to our Easter 2013 series, AGOG – A Glimpse of God. We are on Day 29 of our adventure, looking together at the life of the most amazing person in human history - Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Today we look briefly at events surrounding Jesus' death.


1. Mockers and scoffers - Matthew 27:38-40

Two rebels were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, ‘You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!’


Alongside Jesus, two robbers where placed. They had committed crimes against the Roman authorities and were justly crucified, as opposed to Jesus who was innocently crucified. This sees Jesus fulfilling the words of Isaiah 53:12 “he (Jesus) was numbered with other sinners.” The on looking Romans and Jews also mocked Jesus. Jesus could have come down if he had desired to do so. He could have ordered legions of angels to rescue him. But he didn’t. The two robbers, the two rebels, also mocked and jeered him. However, one of them repented and asks Jesus to save him as well. Jesus acknowledges his request and says they will indeed meet in Paradise. One robber repents and is saved and the other robber refuses and dies a lonely death.~


2. Testimony and tearing - Matthew 27:50-54

And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people. When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, ‘Surely he was the Son of God!’~

Jesus gave up his life and could have stopped at any moment! He could have called down legions of angels to protect himself. But he didn’t. Not He gave his spirit up – nobody took it from him. When that happened amazing scenes took place! Tombs broke open and righteous people raised to life again. Romans and those guarding Jesus at the cross exclaimed that Jesus was indeed the Son of God! The curtain in the temple tore from top to bottom! Top to bottom signifies that God did the tearing! A human hand would have torn it from bottom to top! An amazing scene to behold! The curtain was the entrance to the most sacred place in the temple! The high priest was the only person allowed to enter to offer a sacrifice for the sins of Israel! It was considered sacred space because they considered that God dwelt in that room! Now the curtain was gone! This meant that no more sacrifices for sin needed to be made and access to God was available to all! This meant that what Jesus had said about being made a sacrifice for sin was true indeed! What Jesus had said about destroying the Temple came true! WOW! ~


3. Dead and Buried - John 19:38-40

Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jews. With Pilate's permission, he came and took the body away. He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. Taking Jesus' body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs.


Jesus has died and Pilate is surprised Jesus had died so quickly and has to check with his guard to verify the death! Joseph of Arimithea and Nicodemus ask permission from Pilate to bury Jesus. Joseph was a member of the Sanhedrin. He did not agree with the decision taken to condemn Jesus to death. So they take Jesus’ body and prepared his body in accordance with Jesus customs. Some women also came and added spices and perfumes as a token of their love and adoration of Jesus. Then Jesus’ body is placed in an unused tomb and sealed it with a large stone. Jesus had no place to call home when he was alive and had no tomb of his own in which to be laid down. He was laid in an unused tomb belong to somebody else, possibly Joseph himself. The significance of “in which no-one had ever been laid” (John 19:41) is to demonstrate that the body of Jesus at no point came into contact with the decay of a dead body. But his burial is not the end of the story. Even his enemies, the religious authorities had remembered that Jesus said he would come back to life three days after his death! What would they do about that?~



4. On Guard - Matthew 27:62-66

The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. ‘Sir,’ they said, ‘we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, “After three days I will rise again.” So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.’ ‘Take a guard,’ Pilate answered. ‘Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.’ So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.


The day after Jesus was buried, the religious authorities go to the governor, Pilate, and ask for a guard to be placed on the tomb. They had of course remembered that Jesus had said he would rise three days after His death. They considered Jesus a deceiver and by default considered His disciples also as deceivers. They wanted to make sure the disciples didn’t steal the body and then say “Look everyone! The tomb is empty! Nobody in there! Jesus must be raised from the dead!” So to stop that happening, they request guards to be placed at the tomb. Pilate’s answer can also be translated as saying that your temple guards are already there but have an extra guard of Roman solders as well. With a sealed tomb, the Roman guards and Temple guards in place, Jesus’ body is safe from theft!

So it is Saturday. Jesus has died. His body is prepared according to Jewish burial customs. His body is buried and laying in the unused tomb of a stranger. What happens in this time of Saturday silence? We don’t know but we do know something extraordinary happens later on! ~


Come back tomorrow for Day 31 of our series AGOG, as we continue to look together at that extraordinary man, Jesus Christ, through the Gospel accounts! We shall see together some of the events surrounding Jesus’ death! See you soon at Partakers!

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