This post is from the Christ Fellowship Easter Devotion, "We Have Seen His Glory." To download the entire devotional, click here.
“Father into you hands I commit my spirit!” And at that saying Jesus breathed his final breath on the cross. The moment for which Jesus had been sent had now arrived. His life’s purpose was now being fulfilled. The earth trembled. The day was turned to night. It was as if all of creation knew what was happening to its Creator. And in that moment it happened- Jesus died.
At this point nearly all the followers of Jesus had jumped ship. Only the apostle John, a few women, and two unlikely characters remained. One was a man by the name of Joseph from the town of Arimathea. He was a rich man who was also a member of the Jewish Council. Unlike the rest of the bunch, he was deeply distressed over the events that had taken place that day in Jerusalem. And despite what ever ramifications he might face, in his courage he went to Pilate and asked that he might have the body of Jesus. Pilate, amazed that Jesus had died so quickly, granted Joseph’s request. The other man was someone we have seen before. It was Nicodemus, who was also a member of the Council. Bring a mixture of burial spices, he came to assist Joseph in burying the body of Jesus. The men took Jesus’ body, anointed it with the spices, wrapped it in a shroud, and put the body of their Maker in a grave cut in the rock of the ground.
On the dawn of the next morning some of the chief priests and members of the Council came to Pilate with another request concerning the body of Jesus. They told him how Jesus had told his followers that after he died he would rise again. For fear that the disciples would steal the body and claim that his resurrection had happened, they ask Pilate to guard the tomb. Pilate ordered that his men go and guard the tomb until the third day to ensure that no one stole the body. And so they did.
And this is where the story leaves us. On the Saturday between his death and his rising Day, we are left with a dead body, wrapped in grave clothes, buried deep in a tomb, sealed with a large stone, and guarded by the world’s best soldiers. We are left with a Savior who has died to save his people, but is still held by the power of darkness. A King who is under the reign of death. And a man of sorrows who is still feeling the sting of the grave. But we are not left without hope. For we have a God who calls light out of darkness. A God who gives life to those who are dead. And a God who brings joy when morning dawns – a morning that no grave could ever hold.