God Knows…When Things Look Hopeless – Part 1
The worst had happened. The disciples of Jesus were sure of it (It would be some time before they understand that the crucifixion was actually the best thing that ever happened to them). Until the very end, they hadn’t believed Jesus would die. Now their hopes died as well.
Standing near the cross, some of the disciples talked about how to give Jesus a decent burial, but how? Even that looked hopeless. But God brings help in unexpected ways. Two secret admirers of Jesus decided to openly support Him. Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea were rich. They could do for Jesus what the poor disciples couldn’t. Joseph obtained permission from Pilate to bury Jesus. Nicodemus brought an expensive mixture of myrrh and aloes for His embalming.
Gently the men removed Jesus’ body from the cross. Joseph had a tomb nearby, a small cave. Carefully the body of Jesus was wrapped in a linen sheet and carried to the cave. A heavy stone was rolled across the entrance to the tomb, and everyone went home to rest.
Happy Heaven – Upset Earth
In heaven there was great joy. Jesus had won! But there was no joy on earth. The disciples were so upset and sad that they completely forgot Christ’s promise that He would rise again.
There were individuals who remembered Christ’s promise, though, and were scared. The priests had a feeling of real dread. Suppose Jesus did rise again? They decided to go visit Pilate. “Sir,” they said, “we remember, while He was still alive, how that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise.’ Therefore command that the tomb be made secure until the third day, lest His disciples come by night and steal Him away, and say to the people, ‘He has risen from the dead.’” Pilate agreed.
They placed ropes across the large stone at the mouth of the tomb that held Jesus’ body. The ends of the ropes were fastened into the solid rock and sealed with the Roman seal. A company of soldiers was sent over from the Roman garrison to stand guard. “Jesus rise again? Not a chance,” thought the enemies of Jesus.
The day of rest passed. Then another night. Just before daybreak there came another earthquake. An angel from heaven appeared, and brightness filled the sky. The angel rolled away the great stone as if it were a pebble. “Son of God, arise; Your Father calls You,” the angel called out. The Roman soldiers saw Jesus exit the tomb. The glory of heaven shone on His face. “I am the resurrection, and the life,” He declared.
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