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With Christ's death fear and depression now engulfed those who had thought that Jesus would bring in the Kingdom of God, defeat the Romans, and enable the Jewish people to rise again to greatness.
At the foot of the cross Christ’s disciple John, his mother Mary, Mary Magdalene and a few other women followers were there for His final words.
Because the Sabbath was soon to be upon them, the Jewish leaders insisted that the bodies be off the crosses. To hurry along death the legs of both the thieves on either side of Jesus were broken. But when they came to Jesus, they could see he had already died and didn’t break his legs. Without knowing it they had fulfilled a prophecy that not one of his bones would be broken. Instead, one of the soldiers plunged a spear upward through his side, piercing the lining around his heart and lungs. Out poured a mixture of blood and water. This separated mixture of serum and blood would medically prove beyond doubt that Jesus had really died on that cross.
An executioner certified Christ’s death to Pilate who was governor of the province. If he had gotten it wrong his life would have been on the line. If Pilate had gotten it wrong his job would have been on the line. But they both got it right. Jesus was dead.
Joseph of Arimathea – a prominent member of the Sanhedrin – had been a secret follower of Jesus and had not agreed with the plan to kill him. Nevertheless he had kept his commitment to Jesus a secret. Now, as darkness fell over the land he stepped out into the light. He went to Pilate and asked for Christ’s body. He would bury him in his own new tomb and spare Jesus from being thrown into the common grave. Pilate agreed.
Somewhere along the way Nicodemus joined up with Joseph. He was another secret disciple of Jesus from the Sanhedrin. It was time for him as well to step into the light and be counted at this terrible time. Together they wrapped Jesus in fine linen cloth along with around 75 pounds of myrrh and aloes – all according to Jewish custom and then they laid him carefully in Joseph’s own tomb.Finally --- A huge stone was rolled over the entrance.
The women watched and made mental notes as to where this tomb was ---already anticipating coming back to anoint his body as soon as the Sabbath was over. The Jewish leaders then asked Pilate if the tomb could be guarded. These guards would prevent the tomb from being tampered with. The Jewish Leaders may have already suspected Joseph and Nicodemus to be at the center of a plot by Christ’s disciples to steal the body and proclaim that he had risen – something Jesus had said he would do.
And so began some of the darkest hours for those who had really believed that Jesus was the Son of God – the Messiah. Fear and depression now engulfed those who had thought that Jesus would bring in the Kingdom of God, defeat the Romans and enable the Jewish people to rise again to greatness. It was truly a dark hour for Christ’s little band of followers.