Jesus’ Death and Resurrection: Bible Survey for New Christians

March 19th, 2009

Luke 23:44—24:12

Summary:
His death.
His burial.
Christ's resurrection is declared by two angels to the women that come to the sepulchre.
These report it to others.

 23:44.  And it was about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour.
 23:45.  Then the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn in two.
 23:46.  And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, "Father, `into Your hands I commend My spirit.' '' And having said this, He breathed His last.
 23:47.  Now when the centurion saw what had happened, he glorified God, saying, "Certainly this was a righteous Man!''
 23:48.  And the whole crowd who came together to that sight, seeing what had been done, beat their breasts and returned.
 23:49.  But all His acquaintances, and the women who followed Him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.

 23:50.  And behold, there was a man named Joseph, a council member, a good and just man.
 23:51.  He had not consented to their counsel and deed. He was from Arimathea, a city of the Jews, who himself was also waiting for the kingdom of God.
 23:52.  This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.
 23:53.  Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a tomb that was hewn out of the rock, where no one had ever lain before.
 23:54.  That day was the Preparation, and the Sabbath drew near.
 23:55.  And the women who had come with Him from Galilee followed after, and they observed the tomb and how His body was laid.
 23:56.  Then they returned and prepared spices and fragrant oils. And they rested on the Sabbath according to the commandment.

 24:1.  Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared.
 24:2.  But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb.
 24:3.  Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.
 24:4.  And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments.
 24:5.  Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, "Why do you seek the living among the dead?
 24:6.  "He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee,
 24:7.  "saying, `The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.' ''
 24:8.  And they remembered His words.

 24:9.  Then they returned from the tomb and told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest.
 24:10.  It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them, who told these things to the apostles.
 24:11.  And their words seemed to them like idle tales, and they did not believe them.
 24:12.  But Peter arose and ran to the tomb; and stooping down, he saw the linen cloths lying by themselves; and he departed, marveling to himself at what had happened.

Comments:

This passage picks up after the injustice of the trial of Jesus, and most of the gory details of his agony that led up to his death. We are told of the time of his death. It is significant because it happened right in the middle of the day. During what would be the hottest and brightest part of the day. The sun darkened for around three hours. Jesus is said to have made one last statement and then passed away. Events that in no way are hidden. Even a non-religious man, a Roman centurian watched and knew it had God's involvement. Luke 23:47.  Now when the centurion saw what had happened, he glorified God, saying, "Certainly this was a righteous Man!''

The crowds that had been watching the public specticle had left beating their breasts, an act of sorrow. The close followers of Jesus mostly stood at a distance, helplessly watching. It took a member of the party of people who put Jesus to death to stand up and care for his body. Even in the midst of a misguided group as the Jewish leaders, there were still those who remained righteous, and not wanting any part of the injustice.

There are certain people who have criticized Joseph of Aramathea for being too much of a secret follower. Claiming that if he would have stood up for Jesus, the tragic events could have been avoided. Certainly, but these events had to be for salvation to take place. There is time to take action, and time to let God work, even if it seems counterproductive. Joseph stood up for Jesus when none of the other disciples could.

The acts of this Joseph plays a critical part. Without his caring, the unfolding events around the body of Jesus might have not been documented so well. His body was taken to a very prominent place, the rich man's own grave site. The women followers of Jesus watched and knew where it was. In Matt 27:66, we find that the Jewish leaders also knew where it was, and even placed a guard to make sure no grave robbing took place.

Because of the Sabbath, nobody did any work. The women had to wait until the next day to finish tending to preparing the body of Jesus for the funeral. This is also when the priests had their Roman guard standing watch. Romans, because they didn't have to observe resting on the Sabbath. Also because for a Roman to fail guarding was to sign his own death warrant should what he was protecting either be stolen or escape.

The women enter and find an empty tomb. Instead they find two men with a curious, and fearful message. Why do you seek the living among the dead?" What would you think? People just don't die and then get up and walk around. Bodies just don't disappear. Their minds were firmly stuck in natural mode. The men, angels, had to remind them of what Jesus had foretold. He had to be delivered, he had to die, but he would rise again. Once they remembered, they ran and told.

The disciples themselves experienced the same confusion. Every instinct they had told them this was nonsense. It can't be. Peter, who has the reputation of being first to follow Jesus, first to make bold claims, first to try to defend him, first to fly off the handle, was first to recognize the importance of the meaning of this strange message. He went. He saw. It still made little sense, but it was true.

God isn't limited to following the rules of nature. This life is God's game. He invented it. He programmed it. He knows all the game cheats. While we are bound to have to follow the natural rules, he plays his own game, by his own rules. No need to try to rationalize it, or explain it. If God wants it, he makes it happen. The fall of man was so widespread, and has become so far reaching, that it takes a miraculous event, by our standards, to pay for that shortcoming. Jesus on the cross is the payment. But the story isn't over until we see the power of that miraculous payment in the empty tomb.

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