Three dark and despairing days…
from the time of Jesus’ death until He appeared to those who loved Him.
At the moment of His death, Jesus’ soul went into the heart of the earth for three days and three nights.
Matthew 12:40 “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”
A few hours after His death, and before nightfall, Jesus’ body was laid in a tomb
Matthew 27:57 -60 Now when evening had come, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus. This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be given to him. When Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his new tomb which he had hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the door of the tomb, and departed.
Jesus is Dead
Take time to consider how the disciples felt during this time. Jesus had been crucified and He died on that Roman cross. Some had witnessed it. Others had fled, but they heard of it. All the followers of Jesus knew it was true that Jesus lay dead in the grave.
Think of the sadness that would have overwhelmed all who knew and loved Jesus, especially His faithful 11 apostles. They must have been exceedingly sad with overwhelming sorrow. Despair and disillusionment must have filled their hearts and minds. Their Lord was gone. He had left them. And they felt alone and confused.
What was to become of them? What was to become of the mission that Jesus had given them? Jesus had commissioned them to preach and to heal (Matthew 10), but they must have wondered, could they carry on without His presence? The questions were likely overwhelming for them and without Jesus’ words of comfort, their grief likely disabled them. Those days until Sunday must have been the darkest days they had ever experienced.
But everything was about to change. Just as Jesus had told them that He would be “three days and three nights in the heart of the earth,” He also said that on the third day he would rise from death:
Matthew 16:21 From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.
On Sunday morning, the darkness gave way to the dawning of a new day and with it a new hope and new life. Death was defeated and Jesus opened the way to eternal life with Him.
Remember and Reflect
May the day before Easter Sunday be a day of somber reflection on what it cost God to redeem you from your sins. The cost was His Son.
When God created the world, He spoke it into existence. But, when He redeemed the world, it was with the shedding of blood– the precious blood of Jesus.
The whole of the Bible is about Jesus. From “in the beginning” to “I make all things new,” Jesus is there (read: Jesus on Every Page). Jesus is the only One who can redeem and restore man to right relationship with God.
- It was by the Father’s will that Jesus came to earth, to live among us.
- It was by the Father’s will that Jesus offered Himself on a Roman cross to pay for our sins.
- It was by the power of God that Jesus was raised from death in victory.
- And it is according to the will of the Lord that all should come to repentance and be saved (2 Peter 3:9).
Roman 10:9-10 …if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Take time today to give thanks to the Father for His great sacrifice of sending Jesus to rescue us, and give thanks to Jesus for His sacrificial death, His forgiveness of your sins and the gift of eternal life that He has given you.
The disciples experienced three days of darkness and despair. We reflect on those days with the remembrance that it was all according to God’s purpose and plan. We see them through the light of Jesus as days of thanksgiving.
Let Easter Sunday be a day of jubilant celebration…because He lives. And rejoice, remembering:
For in him we live, and move, and have our being… (Acts 17:28)
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