From the New Testament, on the darkest day in history:
As evening approached, there came a man from Arimathea, named Joseph … he asked for Jesus body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him. Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance … and went away. Matt. 27:57-60
End of the story…or so they thought.
For Herod and Pilate, a troublesome leader was dead;
For Caiaphas, Annas and the Chief Priests, the One claiming to be Messiah, the One who challenged their control of temple activities, had been eliminated;
For Joseph of Arimathea, it marked an end to his hopes of recovering from his cowardice during Jesus’ trial by the Sanhedrin;
For the disciples and Peter, it was an unbelievable disaster. Their hopes for the promised Kingdom, their dreams and their faith, all of which had been strengthened by their Messiah and Best Friend, were a thing of the past;
For the women, the one Man who had treated them with dignity and respect was no longer available;
For the guards, it was a gravy assignment, but one at which their failure to secure the tomb would doom them to death.
But not so fast guys. You’re dealing with God here, and you are about to learn the rest of the story!
After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week … the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here, he has risen. Matt. 28:5-6
For the guards, their gravy assignment had just turned into a nightmare as the stone began to move;
For Herod and Pilate, it was not the end but the beginning — of a setback from which they would never recover;
For the temple hierarchy, an aggressive, new church would soon emerge…and in their heart of hearts they would have to acknowledge they had crucified their Messiah, and that to their own damnation;
For Joseph of Arimathea, it anticipated a new opportunity to serve the One he had grown to love and admire;
For the disciples, it renewed their faith and gave them new hope, new direction, and a new mission to which they could dedicate their lives;
And for the women, unbelievably, “He’s back! Happy days are here again!”
But it was not for them alone! For me too, and I note with great thanksgiving:
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish … kept in heaven for you. I Peter 1:3-4
He has risen! Thank God Almighty, Jesus Christ has arisen from the dead!