Just the day before, Jesus had been tried illegally on trumped up charges by those who feared and hated Him. He was then beaten mercilessly, most of His skin stripped off by the instruments of torture wielded by the Roman soldiers.
And if that wasn't enough, He was crucified like a common criminal. And then He died. Strange things began to happen. A deep darkness covered the earth for several hours in the middle of the day. Evil thought it had triumphed and it blanketed the land. The curtain of the Temple was torn in two. The earth shook and the rocks split. Tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. (Matthew 27:51,52) Can you imagine being a citizen of Jerusalem and experiencing these strange things? Would you be terrified? Would you be like the Roman centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus and immediately know that Jesus was in fact who He said He was, the Son of God?
Can you imagine being a follower of Jesus, a friend who saw Him on a daily basis? Can you imagine standing under the cross looking up at your beloved Jesus? What they must have been feeling! Can you feel their despair? Their anxiety? The raw grief that gripped their hearts? Life as they had known it had forever changed. How could they go on without Him?They couldn't fully understand. It was beyond human comprehension.
That evening, Joseph of Arimathea, who had become a disciple of Jesus, asked Pilate for Jesus' body. He 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. Can you imagine how gently he treated Jesus' precious, broken body as he prepared it for burial. Then he rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away. (Matthew 27:57-60). But this was not the end. Stay tuned.