It’s Friday afternoon. Jesus’ body hangs limply upon a Roman cross which stands center-stage in a gruesome scene. Jesus has been beaten and scourged and spat upon. His nail-punctured wrists and feet still hold him securely to the cruel device of the cross. A crown of thorns impales his bloodied brow, and a just-for-good-measure side-piercing spear sits idly by.
Things are quiet now, with the exception of the thunder that rumbles in the distance and the sobs of those who have stuck around. As an angry sky spits upon the scene, the small drops of rainfall mix with the tears of on-lookers. The themes for today are darkness and despair, defined by the crucifixion of an innocent man. Make no mistake. Jesus is dead.
Jesus’ body is hurriedly taken from the cross due to the impending Sabbath Day of rest. Preparations of the body must be made quickly as sundown approaches. Jesus’ body is placed in a borrowed tomb sealed with a huge boulder. Roman soldiers are stationed at the entrance assigned with the task of guarding a lifeless corpse.
For the men and women who followed Jesus, this has been an all-too-real nightmare. Their Lord, their leader, their hope for a meaningful tomorrow, their friend lay silently in a grave. Even Jesus could not defeat death. Apparently, they had misunderstood him in a major way. He couldn’t save himself. So, how was he supposed to save them?