Last week, we talked about how it was part of God’s amazing plan for Jesus to die as a final perfect sacrifice for sin. How that yearly sacrifices would no longer be necessary

The Hebrew writer says,

He (Jesus) did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves;but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption. (Heb 9:12)

For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with human hands that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence. (Heb 9:24)

So, Jesus paid the price for our sins.

Now what?

The disciples should have known what was coming, because Jesus told them. Probably more than once. Last week, I shared verses where Jesus told them he would die and be resurrected three days later. I also mentioned John 14. Here are just a few verses from that chapter, that should have given the disciples some inkling of what was going to happen.

Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. (John 14: 1-4)

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” John 14:16-21

“All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid (John 14:25-27)

I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe. I will not say much more to you, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold over me, but he comes so that the world may learn that I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me. Come now; let us leave.(John 14:28-31)

Twenty four hours later, they didn’t remember any of that. All they knew was that Jesus was dead. They were heart broken and scared to death. They were also afraid they would be next, so they were hiding out.

However, two men who had been following Jesus secretly for “fear of the Jews” laid their fear aside to care for His body.

Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jewish leaders. With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away. He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs. At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid. Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there. (John 19:38-42)

Other gospels say it was Joseph’s own tomb that he laid Jesus in.rMat2760Dore_TheBurialOfChrist

I have to wonder if their boldness at this point was caused by guilt. Maybe if they had spoken up, Jesus would not be dead. Not that it matters. The whole thing was just another part of God’s plan.

On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb.They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’Then they remembered his words. (Luke 20: 1-8)

The writers of the gospels don’t tell us exactly when Jesus came back to life. They only say that he did. Matthew writes that there was an earth quake and an angel appeared. The guards became like dead men and the angel rolled away the stone and sat on it.(Matt 28). Mark says that when the sabbath was over, the women came to finish preparing the body, concerned that they would not be able to move the stone. The stone was already moved and Jesus was not there (Mark 16). John records only Mary Magdalene going to the tomb and then running for the disciples (John 20). Both John and Luke records Peter going to the tomb to look for himself. John says that John went too. (Luke 24 and John 20)

I believe Jesus was gone before the stone was moved. That was done for the people there…and for us.

Why seek the living among the dead? (Luke 24:5)

He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. (Matt 28:6)rMat2805Dore_TheResurrection

Jesus did make himself known after he was resurrected. The gospels record several different “appearances”, but not all of them. Paul later says,

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, he was buried,that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles,and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born. (I Cor 15:3-8)

Just in case you don’t know, “Cephas” is Peter. People saw Jesus.  A lot of people. They knew he was alive. The scriptures say they were overjoyed, but still, now what? Luke records in his gospel and in the book of Acts

He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continually at the temple,praising God. Luke 24:46-52

After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”

sMar1619Dore_TheAscension

Jesus had a job for them to do, but it wasn’t time to do it yet.

They had to wait in Jerusalem until the promise came. Then they were to go to all the world and tell them what Jesus had done. Jesus said he would be with them always, and then they saw him leave. You know they must have been staring up with their mouths open, when the angels told them that Jesus would come back they same way they saw him go.

So they went back to Jerusalem to wait. They knew they needed to wait a few days,  and they weren’t exactly sure what they were waiting for, but they believed Jesus and they were full of great joy.

They still didn’t quite understand, but they would soon. They wouldn’t have to to wait long.

Until next week,

Connie

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