Praise God. But let’s not forget that two thousand years ago very few people expected that miracle. Even His closest followers didn’t understand what was happening. Their hope, their Rabbi had been murdered. Their fears and doubts were allowed to grow in what had to be the longest weekend ever.
This Good Friday try to imagine what you would hear if you spoke to some of the witnesses. Jesus has been taken, but there has been no resurrection. What are they thinking? What are their concerns?
(Gazing at the curtain in shock, Holds out a hand to stop them from approaching.) Don’t come any closer. It’s death to enter the Holy of Holies, the dwelling place of the Lord Most High – or at least it was. I don’t know how to interpret this. The curtain rips during an earthquake, but nothing else in the Temple is disturbed? There’s a message here, a sign. I’ve never seen behind the curtain, only the high priest is given that honor, and he only once a year. So what does it mean that it is opened for anyone to approach?
I wasn’t here when the curtain tore. I was at Golgotha overseeing the due punishment of a blasphemer when it happened. Not a pleasant experience, but necessary.
It’s infuriating to have someone mock us, mock our religion, mock our God. We’ve been waiting for the Messiah, God’s Anointed One, for centuries and to have a carpenter from Galilee declare that he is here to take David’s throne….
True, a wise man turns away from wrath, but some outrages merit a strong response. He deserved the scorn we gave him. You saved others, but you cannot save yourself, we cried. Let the Christ, the King of Israel, descend now from the cross so that we may see and believe.”
Jesus of Nazareth was too dangerous to pardon, too influential to ignore. And yet during the mocking I found a part of me pleading, “Yes, if you are Messiah, come down. Please, come down and save us.”
But he didn’t. And whether the earthquake was God’s judgment on the one called Jesus or another sign that I cannot explain, it matters not. The veil has been torn—ripped from the top. And what are we to do? Are we to cover the Holy of Holies to shield it from the offenses of sinful men, or is it to remain open?
Joseph of Arimathea
You may be concerned when you smell the myrrh emanating off of me. Yes, preparing Jesus’ body for burial could get me kicked off the council. Once the priests learn of my activities tonight, they will no doubt hold a hearing on the crimes of Joseph of Arimathea. And they have every right. I know the law. According to it I am unclean, and yet this is the cleanest I’ve ever felt.
Before today I’d never touched a dead body, I’d never told anyone that I was listening to Jesus, and I’d certainly never gone to a Roman governor to ask for a prisoner’s remains before. What compelled me?
The scripture contains all godly knowledge and the law, but wisdom lies in discerning which law applies to which situation. As a council member I should be able to attest to that. The warnings about boastful false prophets didn’t seem to fit with this man. His teachings, even those that convicted me of guilt, contained a holy mixture of justice and mercy. Jesus was a law-giver after the manner of Moses…or maybe before…
Jesus is dead. Nicodemus and I prepared him for burial ourselves. There is no doubt about his present condition, and yet… yet there is no doubt that God Most High can restore life. Have I not seen this of my own eyes through his servant as he raised Lazarus, Jairus’s daughter, and the widow’s son?
I am not a holy man like Jesus, but I think… I believe that God would be pleased for me to pray that He would work His mighty power for this cause. If ever there was a man that the world needs resurrected, it is Jesus.
This will be my prayer. May God be gracious and answer.