Inspiration and Preparation
Can we rescue at least part of this day to prepare the altars of our hearts as well as the chancels of our churches? As we make last minute adjustments on new suits and dresses and hats, is it possible to adorn our souls and spirits in new beauty?
In many churches Easter services begin shortly after sundown today; some continue all night long and the drama of the first Easter is re-enacted. Dark since Good Friday, the churches spring to light as the candles are lit again and worshipers recall how new life spaked back into the lifeless Form in the borrowed tomb.
HEARING GOD'S VOICE
"So they (Joseph and Nicodemus) took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews" (John 19:40).
Good Friday is drawing to its close. With the Passover quickly approaching, Pilate orders the legs of the crucified men to be broken so they will die quickly. The legs of the two criminals hanging at Jesus' side are broken. But since Jesus is already dead His side is pierced with a spear instead and out flows blood and water-proof that the King of the Jews is truly dead.
That's when a secret disciple of Jesus steps forward. Joseph of Arimathea is a prominent member of the Jewish high court who did not agree with their decision to put Jesus to death. He boldly steps out of the darkness and asks Pilate for permission to bury Jesus' body. Pilate grants it.
Another secret disciple joins him. The Pharisee Nicodemus who had snuck through the darkness of night to talk to Jesus now steps into the light and helps Joseph lay our Lord's body to rest in Joseph's new tomb.
But it is only a rest. Death has no hold over Jesus' body. It cannot even touch His body with the stain of decay. On the third day He will rise to life and live forever.
One day you and I will be laid in our own graves. But for all of us who trust in Jesus Christ as our Savior, our future will be the same as His. Our bodies will rest in the grave until He returns; then Jesus will raise us to share paradise with Him forever.
Today is the "quiet day" of Holy Week. Jesus' body lay lifeless in the ground that holy Saturday. But the ground gave up the body of this King, who stood His ground for us.
When Jesus saw that He had done all His Father had asked of Him, He willingly gave up His life with a shout of victory. The world around Him responded to the awful truth that the Son of God was dead. The earth trembled and shook at the news. The curtain that had long separated the holy of holies from the holy place in the temple was torn in two, signifying that we now have direct access to the throne of our heavenly Father. Saints walked out of their tombs into Jerusalem, proving that Jesus' death had given final victory over death once and for all.
Having been an eye witness to the power of God manifested in this man Jesus, the Gentile centurion spoke words of faith: "Surely He was the Son of God!"
Death could not conquer the Son of God, as the empty tomb on Easter morning proved.
God willing, this Easter morning, you will see through the shame and humiliation, the weakness and suffering to behold Him as He really is, the victorious Son of God! We will praise our priceless King tomorrow, throughout life, in death, and for all eternity.
Here we rest in wonder, viewing all our sins on Jesus laid, and a full redemption flowing from the sacrifice He made.
PRAY - O sanctifying Spirit, prepare me on this sacred,"Quiet" day for the grace of Easter through heartfelt repentance and renewed loyalty to Jesus, self-giving Savior of my soul in His name I pray. Amen