Good Friday was a dark day, indeed… Jesus, sinless, innocent, God-in-the-flesh, scourged and then nailed to a cross. Even His death sentence proclaimed truth about Him!
37 Above his head they placed the written charge against him: this is jesus, the king of the jews.
38 Two rebels were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. 39 Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads 40 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!” 41 In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. 42 “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. 43 He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” 44 In the same way the rebels who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him.
The Death of Jesus
45 From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. 46 About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).
47 When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.”
48 Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. 49 The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.”
50 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.
Jesus chose to be beaten. The punishment that brought us peace was upon Him.
Jesus chose to be ridiculed and mocked. He was cursed so that we might be blessed.
Jesus chose to be scourged. By His stripes, we are healed.
Jesus chose to take on the cross. He was pierced for our transgressions.
Jesus chose to give up His life. He died so that we might live.
Jesus chose us over His own life.
Jesus did what we never could do on our own; live this life of trials and temptations without ever sinning.
Jesus then chose to pay the penalty for sin.
Since He didn’t owe that debt Himself, He can freely give away the forgiveness that He earned to anyone.
This is so significant, but it gets way, way better!
51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.
At the death of Jesus, the power of sin to separate mankind from God was destroyed! Now, His Presence could rest with us and bring to us life instead of death since the full penalty of sin was paid in full!
The earth shook, the rocks split 52 and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 53 They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people.
These two little verses don’t get anywhere enough exposure! The bodies of many dead holy people were raised to life and walked about Jerusalem appearing to many people! Can you imagine walking down the street and there is Elisha or Jeremiah or Moses or Isaiah and they’re like, “Hey, how’s it going?” Well, but in ancient Hebrew…
How could anyone alive at that time experience all of these events and still harden their hearts in doubt about who Jesus was and what He accomplished? We know that some certainly did turn their hearts and lives back to the Lord!
54 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!”
55 Many women were there, watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to care for his needs. 56 Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons.
The Burial of Jesus
57 As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. 58 Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him. 59 Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 60 and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away. 61 Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there opposite the tomb.
Then there are those in authority who are willing to do or to pay anything to ensure that their power and authority is not threatened in any way…
The Guard at the Tomb
62 The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. 63 “Sir,” they said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ 64 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.”
65 “Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.” 66 So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.
1 After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
The first and second days were dark and confusing days of grief and mourning. Oh, but today is the third day!!!!!
2 There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4 The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.
5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”
8 So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples.
If you’re excited and yet afraid to share the good news about Jesus, you’re far from the first! If you have an encounter with the Heavenly realm and can’t fully understand what you just experienced, you’re in good company!
What an awesome description of evangelism; afraid and yet filled with joy. Are you afraid for any reason to share with others that Jesus is alive? That’s OK, do it anyways! After all, you never know what might happen. Jesus might just show up!
9 Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”
Then there are still those in authority who are willing to do or to pay anything to ensure that their power and authority is not threatened in any way… They have only their own interests in mind and not at all the things of God…
The Guards’ Report
11 While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. 12 When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, 13 telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ 14 If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” 15 So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day.
Oh, but no matter who is in authority, nothing and no one can stop a genuine move of God!!! It only takes a few people and One great God to radically change the world forever!
The Great Commission
16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Whatever you may be going through this morning, there’s good news! It’s not over yet and God ALWAYS has the final word! AND, you never go through it alone! Jesus is surely right there with you. HE IS RISEN!!!
Because He lives, we have hope! All our sins can be forgiven as the price has been paid in full. Each and every day is an opportunity to start anew and afresh! Jesus defeated sin and death and then freely offers us His victory!
Romans 8 reminds us that the same Spirit of empowerment that rose Jesus from the grave dwells in all those who have put their faith in Him for their salvation. The Holy Spirit doesn’t make us slaves to fear. He reminds us that we are children of God who need not fear anything!
Sure, we may suffer from time to time as Jesus did, but if we share in His sufferings, we will also share in His glory! We are going from glory to glory! Any suffering that we may endure in this life is nothing in comparison to the glory that awaits us on the other side of it!
That’s why we go and we just keep on going! We’ve been commissioned to GO and make disciples. Jesus is with us and for us, who can possibly succeed in standing against us? They may have been able to knock Jesus down for a few days, but they couldn’t keep Him down! He’s alive!!!
Because He lives, even if life knocks us down, we can rise again and run the race that Jesus has set before us with endurance and perseverance. He has gone ahead of us to prepare a way where there was no other way! He is calling us to a victory from the ultimate victory!
Proverbs 24:16 (MSG)
Don’t interfere with good people’s lives;
don’t try to get the best of them.
No matter how many times you trip them up,
God-loyal people don’t stay down long;
Soon they’re up on their feet,
while the wicked end up flat on their faces.
This morning, Jesus is alive! HE IS RISEN!!!
This can change everything in our lives if we simply give our lives to Jesus.
HE IS RISEN! And… He’s calling out to you and I right now to rise up and to follow Him!