The aftermath of Good Friday
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, just as he said…”
Matthew 28: 5-6 (NIV)
I’m sure that you remember vividly the Easter story – how Jesus the Messiah suffered and died for all of us. He was despised and rejected by the people who lived in Jerusalem or were visiting to keep the annual Passover Feast. ‘Crucify him!’ they yelled. And when asked by Pilate the Procurator, the representative of the Roman government in Jerusalem, who he should release as a favour, the people called for Barabbas, a violent robber (Matthew 27: 15-22).
Jesus was abused, scourged, and crucified on what is called Good Friday. That evening he was buried by Joseph of Arimathea in Joseph’s own tomb (verses 57-61). On the Saturday morning the chief priests and the Pharisees contacted Pilate and reminded him that Jesus said that he would rise again after three days, so Pilate ordered the tomb to be sealed and a guard posted to make sure that nothing happened. Quite frankly, no one was expecting anything to happen at all. After all, Jesus was dead. Pilate made sure of that. He was entombed by a friend, and the tomb was made secure.
No one expected anything in the aftermath of the Friday crucifixion – not even his disciples! Peter and others went back to their nets to fish (John 21:1-3), and perhaps Matthew went back to collecting taxes. That Saturday in Jerusalem was quiet. I imagine that the chief priests, the Scribes, and the Pharisees were relieved and pleased that they had disposed of this ‘trouble-maker’ Jesus. They had all been involved in the kangaroo court in order to kill him, and they were not expecting anything to happen. Also, the Roman garrison commander was probably thanking his soldiers for a job well done.
But as we know, on the first day of the week, Sunday, everything explodes! The tomb was empty, everyone was afraid and confused. His disciples were hiding from the authorities fearing that they would now come for them, but the only one to arrive was Jesus. Suddenly, he appeared in the room where they were tucked away, and said, ‘Peace be with you’ (John 20:19). They were startled and frightened. And boy, were the others going to be surprised too.
The crucifiers must have been dumbfounded at this turn of events; all of their plans to dispose of Jesus had failed and now he was back – Jesus had risen, isn’t that great news!
For Easter, thank you Father; for forgiveness and for love, thank you Father. Amen
Study by Cliff Neill
About the writer:
Cliff Neill is an Minister in Grace Communion International Hemel Hempstead, where he is on the Leadership Team.
GCI Hemel Hempstead
Adeyfield Free Church Centre
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