Ellen G. White® Estate
Sharing the Vision
Jesus - The Final Hours
Adapted from The
Story of Jesus
By: Ellen G. White
Editor: Darryl Thompson
Assistant Editor: Cindy Tutsch
Copyright by The Ellen G. White©
Estate, Inc. February 2004
| The Betrayal and Arrest
| Before Annas, Caiaphas, and the Sanhedrin | Judas
| Before Pilate | Before Herod |
| Condemned by Pilate | Calvary | Death of Christ | In Joseph's Tomb
| He Is Risen | Go Tell My Disciples
| Witnesses | The
to White Estate Website: whiteestate.org
Savior's life on earth was a life of prayer. He spent many hours alone with
God. After eating the Passover supper with His disciples, Jesus went with
them to the garden of Gethsemane, where He often went to pray. As He walked, He talked with them, and taught
them; but as they neared the garden, He grew strangely silent.
His life, Jesus had lived in the presence of His Father. The Spirit of God
had been His constant guide and support. He always gave God the glory for
His works on earth,
“I can do nothing alone.” John 5:30 ICB
terrible night of agony for the Savior began as they neared the garden. It
seemed that the presence of God, which had been His support, was no longer
with Him. He was beginning to feel what it was to be shut out from His Father.
Christ must bear the sins of the world. As they were now laid upon Him, they
seemed more than He could endure. The guilt of sin was so terrible,
He was tempted to fear that God could no longer love Him. As He felt the awful
displeasure of the Father against evil, words were forced from Him,
“My heart is full of sorrow and breaking with sadness.”
Mathew 26: 38 ICB
left all His disciples near the gate of the garden, except Peter, James, and
John. He had taken them into the garden for support, as they were His closest
companions. But He could not bear that even they should witness the suffering
He was to endure. He said to them:
“Stay here with me and watch.” Matthew 26:38 ICB
went a short distance from them, and fell on the ground. He felt that by sin
He was being separated from the Father. Christ was not suffering for his own
sins, but for the sins of the world. He was feeling God’s displeasure against
sin, just as the sinner will feel it in the great judgment day. In His agony,
Christ clung to the cold ground. From His pale lips came the bitter cry,
“My Father, if it is possible, do
not give me this cup of suffering. But do what you want, not what I want.”
Matthew 26:39 ICB
an hour Christ bore this terrible suffering alone. Then He came to the disciples,
hoping for some word of sympathy. But no comfort awaited Him, because they
were asleep. They woke with the sound of His voice, but they hardly recognized
Him, His face was so changed by anguish. Addressing Peter, He said:
“Simon, why are you sleeping? You could not stay awake
with me for one hour?”
Mark 14:37 ICB
before entering the garden, Christ had said to the disciples,
“You will all lose your faith in Me.”
Mark 14: 27 ICB
had given Him the strongest assurance that they would go with Him to prison
and to death. And poor, self-sufficient Peter had added,
“All the other followers may lose their faith. But I
will not.” Mark 14:29 ICB
the disciples trusted in themselves. They forgot to seek God as their Helper
as Christ counseled them to do. So when the Savior was most in need of their
sympathy and prayers, they were found asleep. The Redeemer had spent whole
nights praying for His disciples, that their faith might not fail in the hour
of trial. Yet they could not remain awake with Him even one hour.
Son of God was seized with superhuman agony. Fainting and exhausted, He staggered
to the ground and cried out to his Father:
“If it is possible, take this cup of suffering away
from me. But let what you want be done, not what I want.” Matthew 26:39
agony of this prayer forced drops of blood from His pores. Again He sought
the disciples for sympathy, and again He found them sleeping. His presence
aroused them. They looked upon His face with fear, for it was stained with
blood. They could not understand the anguish of mind which His face expressed.
third time He sought the place of prayer. A horror of great darkness overcame
Him. He had lost the presence of His Father. Without this, He feared that
in His human nature He could not endure the test. The third time He prays
the same prayer as before. Angels long to bring relief, but it may not be.
The Son of God must drink this cup, or the world will be lost forever. He
sees the helplessness of man. He sees the power of sin. The woes of a doomed
world pass in review before Him. He makes the final decision. He will save
man at any cost to Himself. He has left the courts of Heaven, where all is
purity, happiness, and glory, to save the one lost sheep, the one world that
has fallen by transgression, and He will not turn from His purpose. His prayer
now breathes only submission:
“My Father, is it possible for this cup to be taken
away? But if I must drink it, may what you want be done.” Matthew 26: 42 NIrV
mighty angel now comes to the side of Christ. He lifts the head of the divine
sufferer upon his chest, and points toward Heaven. He tells Him that He has
come off victor over Satan. As the result, millions will be victors in His
glorious kingdom. A heavenly peace rests upon the Savior's blood-stained face.
He has borne that which no human being can ever bear; for He has tasted the
sufferings of death for every man.
The Betrayal and Arrest → ↑
traces of His recent suffering were to be seen as the Savior stepped forward
to meet Judas His betrayer. Jesus stepped forward in front of His disciples,
and asked the mob:
“Who is it you are looking for?”
“Jesus from Nazareth.”
“I am Jesus.” John 18:5 ICB
Jesus spoke these words, the angel who had recently ministered to Him moved
between Him and the mob. A divine light illuminated the Savior's face. In
the presence of this divine glory the murderous throng could not stand for
a moment. They staggered back. The priests, elders, and soldiers dropped as
dead men to the ground. The angel withdrew, and the light faded away. Jesus
could have escaped, but He remained, calm and self-possessed. His disciples
were too amazed to utter a word. The Roman soldiers soon stirred and stood
up. With the priests and Judas, they again gathered around Christ. They seemed
ashamed of their weakness, and fearful that He would escape.
asked them again,
“Who is it you are looking for?”
“Jesus of Nazareth.”
“I told you that I am He. So if you are looking for
me, then let these other men go.”
John 18: 7, 8 ICB
this hour of trial, Christ's thoughts were for His beloved disciples. Judas,
the betrayer, however, did not forget the part he was to act. He came to Jesus,
and kissed Him. Jesus said to him,
“Friend, why have you come?” Matthew 26:50 NKJV
voice trembled as He added,
“Judas, are you using the kiss to give the Son of Man
to his enemies?” Luke 22:48 ICB
gentle words should have touched the heart of Judas; but all tenderness and
honor seemed to have left him. Judas had yielded himself to the control of
Satan. The murderous throng became bold as they saw Judas touch the form which
had so recently been glorified before their eyes. They now laid hold of the
Savior, and bound His hands that had ever been employed in doing good. The disciples did not think that Christ would allow Himself
to be taken. They knew that the power which could strike down the mob as dead
men could keep them helpless till Christ and His companions should escape.
They were disappointed and indignant as they saw the cords brought forward
to bind the hands of Him whom they loved. Peter, in his anger, rashly drew
his sword, and tried to defend his Master. But he only cut off an ear of the
high priest's servant. When Jesus saw what Peter had done, He released His
hands, though held firmly by the Roman soldiers.
“Jesus said, ‘Stop!’ Then he touched the servant’s ear
and healed him” Luke 22:51 ICB
said to Peter,
“Put your sword back in its place. All who use swords
will be killed with swords. Surely you know I could ask my Father, and he
would give me more than twelve armies of angels. But this thing must happen
this way so that it will be as the Scriptures say.” Matthew 26:52-54
ICB “Shall I not drink of the cup the Father has given me?” John 18:11 ICB
Before Annas, Caiaphas, and the Sanhedrin →
was followed from the garden of Gethsemane by the yelling
mob. He moved painfully, for His hands were tightly bound, and He was closely
guarded. He was taken first to the house of Annas, the former high priest,
but whose place was now filled by his son-in-law, Caiaphas. The wicked Annas
had requested that he might be the first to see Jesus of Nazareth a bound
captive. He hoped to draw from Him some evidence by which to secure His condemnation.
could have summoned legions of angels from heaven to His aid. But it was a
part of His mission to endure in His humanity all the taunts and insults that
men might heap upon Him. From the house of Annas, the Savior was taken to
the palace of Caiaphas. He was to be tried before the Sanhedrin, and while its members were being
called together, Annas and Caiaphas again questioned Him, but they gathered
no evidence. When the members of the Sanhedrin had assembled, Caiaphas took
his seat as the president. On each side were the judges; before them stood
the Roman soldiers guarding the Savior; back of these was the accusing mob.
then told Jesus to work one of His mighty miracles before them. But the Savior
gave no sign that He heard a word. Had He responded by even one soul-searching
look, such as He gave the buyers and sellers in the temple, the whole murderous
throng would have been compelled to flee from His presence.
accomplish their wicked purpose of killing Jesus, they must find something
that would be regarded as criminal by Pilate, the Roman governor. Many charges
were brought against Christ, but either the witnesses disagreed, or the evidence
was of such a nature that it would not be accepted by the Romans. They tried
to make Him speak in answer to their accusations, but He appeared as if He
had not heard them.
priests began to fear that they would fail to obtain any evidence which they
could bring against their prisoner before Pilate. They felt that one last
effort must be made. The high priest raised his right hand toward heaven,
and addressed Jesus in the form of a solemn oath:
“I command you by the power of the living God to tell
us the truth. Tell us, are you the Christ, the Son of God?” Matthew 26:63 ICB
Savior never denied His mission or His relation to the Father. He could remain
silent to personal insult, but He ever spoke plainly and decidedly when His
work or Sonship to God was called in question.
ear was bent to listen, and every eye was fixed upon Him as He answered:
“Yes, I am.”
heavenly light seemed to illuminate the pale countenance of the Savior as
“But I tell you, in the future
you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of God, the Powerful
One. And you will see him coming in the clouds in the sky.” Matthew 26:64 ICB
brought before His hearers a view of that day, when, instead of being surrounded
and abused by a riotous mob, He will come in the clouds of Heaven with power
and great glory. Then He will be escorted by legions of angels. Then He will
pronounce sentence upon His enemies, among whom will
be that same accusing throng.
Jesus spoke the words declaring Himself to be the
Son of God, and Judge of the world, the high priest tore his robe, as if to
show his horror. He lifted his hands toward Heaven, and said:
“This man has said things that are against God! We
don’t need any more witnesses. You all heard him say these things against
God. What do you think?” Matthew 26: 65, 66 ICB
“He is guilty, and he must die.” Matthew 26:66 ICB
day those degraded men who scorned and spat upon the calm, pale face of Christ
will look upon it in its glory, shining brighter than the sun.
Jewish rulers had been anxious to get Jesus into their power, but for fear
of raising a tumult among the people they had not dared to arrest Him openly.
So they had sought someone who would secretly betray Him, and had found in
Judas, one of the twelve disciples, the man who would do this traitorous act.
had a strong love for money, but he had not always been wicked and corrupt
enough to do such a deed as this. He had fostered the evil spirit of greed
until it had become the ruling motive of his life, and he could now sell his
Lord for thirty silver coins (about a month’s wages), the price of a slave.
(Exodus 21:28-32.) He could now betray the Savior with a kiss in Gethsemane.
he followed every step of the Son of God, as He went from the garden to the
trial before the Jewish rulers. He had no thought that the Savior would allow
the Jews to kill Him, as they had threatened to do. At every moment he expected
to see Him released and protected by divine power, as had been done in the
past. But as the hours went by, and Jesus quietly submitted to all the indignities
that were heaped upon Him, a terrible fear came to the traitor that he had
indeed betrayed his Master to His death. As the trial drew to a close, Judas
could endure the torture of his guilty conscience no longer. All at once there
rang through the hall a hoarse voice, which sent a thrill of terror to the
hearts of all present:
“I have sinned,”
“I handed over a man who is not guilty.” Matthew 27:
tall form of Judas was seen pressing through the startled crowd. His face
was pale and haggard, and large drops of sweat stood on his forehead. Rushing
to the throne of judgment, he threw down before the high priest the pieces
of silver that had been the price of his Lord's betrayal. He eagerly grasped
the robe of Caiaphas, and begged him to release Jesus, declaring that He had
done no wrong. Caiaphas angrily shook him off, and said with scorn:
“What do we care?”
“That’s your problem.” Matthew 27:4
then threw himself at the Savior's feet. He confessed that Jesus was the Son
of God, and begged Him to deliver Himself from His enemies. The Savior knew
that Judas did not really repent for what he had done. The false disciple
feared that punishment would come upon him for his terrible deed; but he felt
no real sorrow for betraying the spotless Son of God. Yet Christ spoke to
him no word of condemnation. He looked with pity upon Judas, and said:
“It was for this hour I came to this world.”
murmur of surprise ran through the assembly. With amazement they beheld the
self-restraint of Christ toward His betrayer. Judas saw that his entreaties
were in vain, and he rushed from the hall, crying:
“It is too late! It is too late!”
felt that He could not live to see Jesus crucified, and in despair went out
and hanged himself. Later that same day, on the road from Pilate's judgment
hall to Calvary, the wicked crowd, leading the Savior to the place of crucifixion
suddenly stopped their shouts and jeers as they passed a retired spot. They
saw at the foot of a lifeless tree the dead body of Judas. It appeared as
though retribution was already visiting those who were guilty of the blood
Before Pilate →
Christ had been condemned by the judges of the Sanhedrin, He was taken at
once to Pilate, the Roman governor. As Pilate looked at Jesus, he saw a man
of noble countenance and dignified bearing. No trace of crime was to be seen
in His face. Pilate turned to the priests and asked:
“What charges do you bring against this man?” John 18:29
accusers were not prepared for this question. They knew that they could bring
no truthful evidence on which the Roman governor would condemn Him. So the
priests called the false witnesses to their aid. And they began to accuse
“We caught this man telling things that were confusing
our people. He says that we should not pay taxes to Caesar. He calls himself
the Christ, a King.” Luke 23:2 ICB
was not deceived by the testimony of the false witnesses. He turned to the
Savior, and asked:
“Are you the King of the Jews?”
“Yes, I am.” Matthew 27:11 ICB
When they heard this answer, Caiaphas and those who
were with him called Pilate to witness that Jesus had admitted the crime of
which they accused Him. With noisy cries they demanded that He be sentenced
to death. Christ made no answer to His accusers. Pilate was perplexed. He
saw no evidence of crime in Jesus, and he had no confidence in those who were
accusing Him. The noble appearance and quiet manner of the Savior were in
direct contrast to the excitement and fury of His accusers. Pilate was impressed
with this, and was well satisfied of His innocence. Hoping to gain the truth
from Him, he took Jesus by Himself, and questioned Him:
“Are you really the King of the Jews?”
did not give a direct answer to this question, but asked:
“Are you saying this yourself? Or did others tell you?”
Spirit of God was striving with Pilate. By asking him
this question Jesus intended to lead Pilate to examine his own heart more
closely. Pilate understood the meaning of the question. His own heart was
opened before him, and he saw that his soul was stirred by conviction. But
pride arose in his heart and his golden opportunity passed.
had a desire to know the truth. His mind was confused. He eagerly grasped
the words of the Savior, and his heart was stirred with a great longing to
know what the truth really was, and how he could obtain it. He asked Jesus:
“What is truth?”
he did not wait to receive an answer. The tumult of the crowd outside the
hall of justice had increased to a roar. The priests demanded immediate action.
Going out to the people, Pilate declared:
“I can find no basis for any charge against Him.” John
the priests and elders heard this from Pilate, their disappointment and rage
knew no bounds. They had long plotted and waited for this opportunity. As
they saw the prospect of the release of Jesus, they seemed ready to tear Him
in pieces. They loudly denounced Pilate, and threatened him with the frown
of the Roman government. They accused Pilate of refusing to condemn Jesus,
who, they claim, had set Himself up against Caesar. Then they raised the cry:
“But Jesus is making trouble with the people! He teaches
all around Judea. He began in Galilee, and now he is here!” Luke 23:5 ICB
Pilate heard that Christ was from Galilee, he decided to send Him to Herod,
the ruler of that province, who was then in Jerusalem. By doing this Pilate
thought to shift the responsibility of the trial from himself to Herod.
Before Herod →
had never met Jesus, but he had long desired to see Him and to witness His
marvelous power. As the Savior was brought before him, the rabble surged and
pressed about, falsely accusing Jesus. Herod commanded silence, for he wished
to question the prisoner. He looked with curiosity and pity upon the pale
face of Christ. He saw there the marks of deep wisdom and purity. He was satisfied,
as Pilate had been that malice and envy alone had caused the Jews to accuse
Herod urged Christ to perform one of His wonderful miracles before him. He
promised to release Him if He would do so. By his direction, crippled and
deformed persons were brought in, and he commanded Jesus to heal them. But
the Savior stood before Herod as one who neither saw nor heard. The Son of
God had taken upon Himself man's nature. He must act as man would do in similar
circumstances. Therefore He would not work a miracle to gratify curiosity,
or to save Himself from the pain and humiliation that man must endure when
placed in a similar position. His accusers were terrified when Herod demanded
of Christ a miracle. Of all things, they dreaded most an exhibition of His
divine power. Such a display would be a death blow to their plans, and would
perhaps cost them their lives. So they set up the cry that Jesus worked miracles
through the power given Him by Beelzebub, the prince of the devils.
years before this, Herod had listened to the teaching of John the Baptist.
He had been deeply impressed, but he had not forsaken his life of intemperance
and sin. Now he had become still more hardened. He could not bear the silence
of Jesus. His face grew dark with passion, and he angrily threatened the Savior,
who still remained unmoved and silent. Christ had come into the world to heal
the broken-hearted. Could He have spoken any word to heal the bruises of sin-sick
souls, He would not have kept silent.
Savior might have spoken to Herod words that would have pierced the ears of
the hardened king. But Christ's silence was the severest rebuke that He could
have given. That ear which had ever been open to
the cry of human woe, had no place for the command of Herod. That heart, ever
touched by the plea of even the worst sinners, was closed to the haughty king
who felt no need of a Savior.
anger, Herod turned to the multitude and denounced Jesus as an imposter. But
the accusers of the Savior knew that He was no imposter. They had seen too
many of His mighty works to believe this charge. So the king began to shamefully
ridicule the Son of God.
“Then Herod and his soldiers made fun of Jesus. They
dressed him in a kingly robe and then sent him back to Pilate.” Luke 23:11 ICB
the wicked king saw Jesus accepting all this indignity in silence, he was
moved with a sudden fear that this was no common man before him. He was perplexed
with the thought that this prisoner might be a heavenly being come down to
the earth. Herod dared not ratify the condemnation of Jesus. He wished to
relieve himself of the terrible responsibility, and so he sent the Savior
back to Pilate.
Condemned by Pilate →
the Jews returned from Herod with Jesus again, Pilate was very upset. He said
to the Pharisees,
“What do you want me to do? I have already examined
Jesus, and found him not guilty of the false charges you brought against him.”
Pilate was hesitating as to what he should do, a letter was brought to him
from his wife, which read:
“Don’t do anything to that man. He is not guilty. Today
I had a dream about him, and it troubled me very much.” Matthew 27:19
turned pale at this message; but the mob became more urgent as they saw his
indecision. Pilate saw that something had to be done. It was customary at
the feast of the Passover to set at liberty one prisoner, chosen by the people.
So Pilate turned to the crowd, and said with great earnestness:
“Which man do you want me to free: Barabbas, or Jesus who is called the Christ?”
Matthew 27:17 ICB
the people shouted,
“Kill him! Let Barabbas go
free!” Luke 23:18 ICB
wanted to let Jesus go. So he made an appeal to the crowd again.
“Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?”
Matthew 27:22 NIrV
they kept shouting,
“Crucify Him! Crucify Him!”
spoke to them for the third time.
“What wrong has this man done? I have no reason to
have Him put to death. So I just have Him whipped
and let him go.” Luke 23:21, 22 NIrV
they shouted even louder,
“Crucify Him.” Matthew 27:23 NIrV
made one last effort to touch their sympathies. Jesus was taken, faint with
weariness and covered with wounds, and beaten with the Roman lash in the sight
of His accusers.
“The soldiers used some thorny branches to make a crown.
They put this crown on Jesus’ head and put a purple robe around Him.” John
spat on Him. Someone snatched a rod and struck the crown upon His head, forcing
the thorns into His forehead, sending the blood trickling down His face and
beard. Jesus, with legions of holy angels under his command, could have immediately
overpowered that cruel mob. Or He could have killed His persecutors instantly
by the flashing forth of His divine Majesty and power. Instead He submitted
with dignified composure to the coarsest insult and abuse.
was deeply moved by the uncomplaining patience of the Savior. He sent for
Barabbas to be brought into the court; then he presented the
two prisoners side by side. Pointing to the Savior, he said in a voice of
“Look! I am bringing Jesus out to you. I want you to
know that I find nothing I can charge against Him” John 19: 4
stood the Son of God, wearing the robe of mockery and the crown of thorns.
Stripped to the waist, His back showed the long, cruel stripes from which
the blood flowed freely. His face was stained with blood, and bore the marks
of exhaustion and pain; but never had it appeared more beautiful. Every feature
expressed gentleness and resignation, and tender pity for His cruel foes.
the people cried:
“Crucify Him, crucify Him!”
last, losing all patience with their unreasonable, vengeful cruelty, Pilate
“Take him and nail him to a cross yourselves. I find
nothing I can charge against Him.”
John 19:6 ICB
was hurried to Calvary amid the shouts and jeers of the crowd. As He passed
the gate of Pilate's court, the heavy cross which had been prepared for Barabbas was laid upon His bruised and bleeding shoulders.
Crosses were placed also upon two thieves, who were to suffer death along
load was too heavy for the Savior in His weary, suffering condition. He had
gone only a few paces when He fainted under the cross. When He revived, the
cross was again placed upon His shoulders. He staggered a few steps, and again
fell to the ground. His persecutors now realized that it was impossible for
Him to go farther with His burden, and they were puzzled to find someone who
would carry the humiliating load. Just then they were met by Simon, a Cyrenian,
coming from the opposite direction. They seized him, forcing
him to carry the cross to Calvary.
at the place of crucifixion, the condemned were bound to the instruments of
torture. The two thieves wrestled in the hands of those who stretched them
upon the cross; but the Savior made no resistance.
mother had followed Him on that awful journey to Calvary. She longed to help Him as He sank exhausted under His burden, but she
was not allowed. Would He who had given life to the dead permit Himself to
be crucified? Would the Son of God allow Himself to be cruelly slain? Must
she give up her faith in Him as the Messiah? She saw His hands stretched upon
the cross--those hands that had ever been reached out to bless the suffering.
The hammer and the nails were brought, and as the spikes were driven through
the tender flesh, the heart-broken disciples bore from the cruel scene the
fainting form of Mary, mother of Jesus.
Savior made no murmur or complaint; His face remained pale and serene, but
great drops of sweat stood on His brow. His disciples had fled already and
He was all alone. As the soldiers were doing their work, the mind of Jesus
passed from His own sufferings to the terrible retribution that His persecutors
must one day meet. He pitied them in their ignorance, and prayed:
“Father, forgive them. They don’t know what they are
doing.” Luke 23: 34 ICB
was earning the right to become our advocate in the Father's presence. That
prayer for His enemies embraced the world. It took in every sinner who had
lived or would live, from the beginning of the world to the end of time. Whenever
we sin, Christ is wounded afresh. For us He lifts His pierced hands before
the Father's throne, and says,
“Father, forgive them. They don’t know what they are
doing.” Luke 23: 34 ICB
As soon as Christ was nailed to the cross, it was lifted
by strong men, and with great violence thrust into the place prepared for
it. This caused intense suffering to the Son of God.
“The soldiers threw lots to decide who would get his
clothes. The people stood there watching. The leaders made fun of Jesus.
“If he is God’s Chosen One, the Christ, then let him
save himself. He saved other people, didn’t he?” Luke 23: 34, 35
soon as Jesus was lifted up on the cross, a terrible scene took place. Priests,
rulers, and scribes joined with the rabble in mocking and jeering the dying
Son of God, saying:
“If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself!” Luke
“He saved other people, but he can’t save himself!... If he is the King, then let him come down now from the
cross. Then we will believe in him. He trusts in God. So let God save him
now, if God really wants him. He himself said ‘I am the Son of God.’” Matthew
27:42, 43 ICB
could have come down from the cross. But if He had done this, we could never
have been saved. For us He was willing to die.
“But He was wounded for the wrong things we did. He
was crushed for the evil things we did. The punishment, which made us well,
was given to him. We are healed because of His wounds.” Isaiah 53:5
Death of Christ →
yielding up His precious life, Christ’s heart was rent with anguish and oppressed
with gloom. But it was not the fear or the pain of death that caused His suffering.
It was the crushing weight of the sin of the world, a sense of separation
from His Father's love. This was what broke the Savior's heart, and brought
His death so soon.
felt the woe that sinners will feel when they awake to realize the burden
of their guilt, to know that they have forever separated themselves from the
joy and peace of heaven. Angels beheld with amazement the agony of despair
borne by the Son of God. His anguish of mind was so intense that the pain
of the cross was hardly felt.
itself was in sympathy with the scene. The sun shone clearly until midday,
when suddenly it seemed to be blotted out. All about the cross was darkness
as deep as the blackest midnight. This supernatural darkness lasted fully
nameless terror took possession of the multitude. The cursing and reviling
ceased. Men, women, and children fell upon the earth in abject terror. Lightning
occasionally flashed forth from the cloud, and revealed the cross and the
crucified Redeemer. All thought that their time of punishment had come.
the ninth hour the darkness lifted from the people, but still wrapped the
Savior as with a mantle. The lightning seemed to be hurled at Him as He hung
upon the cross. It was then that He sent up the despairing cry:
“My God, My God, why have you left me alone?” Matthew
the meantime the darkness had settled over Jerusalem and the plains of Judea. As all eyes were turned in the direction of the fated city, they saw
the fierce lightning of God's wrath directed toward it.
the gloom was lifted from the cross, and in clear, trumpet-like tones, that
seemed to resound throughout creation, Jesus cried:
“It is finished.” John 19:30. “Father, I give you My life.” Luke 23:46 ICB
light encircled the cross, and the face of the Savior shone with a glory like
the sun. He then bowed His head upon His breast and died.
multitude about the cross stood paralyzed, and with bated breath gazed upon
the Savior. Again darkness settled upon the earth, and a hoarse rumbling like
heavy thunder was heard. This was accompanied with a violent earthquake. The
people were shaken into heaps by the earthquake. The wildest confusion and
terror followed. In the surrounding mountains, rocks were torn asunder, and
went crashing down into the plains below. Tombs were broken open, and many
of the dead were cast out. Creation seemed to be breaking into atoms. Priests,
rulers, soldiers, and people, mute with terror, were lying face down upon
the time of the death of Christ, some of the priests were ministering in the
temple at Jerusalem. They felt the shock of the earthquake, and at the same
moment the veil of the temple, which separated the holy from the most holy
place, was torn in two from top to bottom by the same bloodless hand that
wrote the words of doom upon the walls of Belshazzar's palace. The most holy
place of the earthly sanctuary was no longer sacred. The Lamb of God, in dying,
had become the sacrifice for the sins of the world.
Christ died upon the cross of Calvary, the new and living way was thrown open
to Jew and Gentile alike. Satan was defeated, and he knew that his kingdom
In Joseph's Tomb →
against the Roman government was the crime for which the Savior was condemned.
Persons put to death for this cause were buried in a place set apart for such
criminals. John shuddered at the thought of having the body of his beloved
Master handled by the unfeeling soldiers and buried in a dishonored grave.
But he saw no way to prevent it, as he had no influence with Pilate. At this
trying time, Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathaea came to the help of the disciples.
Both of these men were members of the Sanhedrin and were acquainted with Pilate.
Both were men of wealth and influence. They were determined that the Savior's
body should have an honorable burial.
went boldly to Pilate, and begged from him the body of Jesus. Pilate, after
learning that Christ was really dead, granted this request. While Joseph was
gone to Pilate for the Savior's body, Nicodemus was making ready for the burial.
It was the custom in those times to wrap the bodies of the dead in linen cloths,
with precious ointments and sweet spices. This was one method of embalming.
So Nicodemus brought a costly gift of about a hundred pounds' weight of myrrh
and aloes for the body of Jesus. The most honored in all Jerusalem could not
have been shown more respect in death. The humble followers of Jesus were
astonished to see these wealthy rulers taking such an interest in the burial
of their Master.
disciples were overwhelmed with sorrow at the death of Christ. They forgot
that He had told them it was to take place. They were without hope. Neither
Joseph nor Nicodemus had openly accepted the Savior while He was living. But
they had listened to His teachings and had closely watched every step of His
ministry. Although the disciples had forgotten the Savior's words foretelling
His death, Joseph and Nicodemus remembered them well. And the scenes connected
with the death of Jesus, which disheartened the disciples and shook their
faith, only proved to these rulers that He was the true Messiah and led them
to take their stand firmly as believers in Him.
help of these rich and honored men was greatly needed at this time. They could
do for their dead Master what it was impossible for the poor disciples to
do. Gently and reverently, with their own hands, they removed the body of
Christ from the cross. Their tears of sympathy fell fast, as they looked upon
His bruised and torn form. Joseph owned a new tomb cut from a rock. He had
built it for his own use, but he now prepared it for Jesus. The body, together
with the spices brought by Nicodemus, was wrapped in a linen sheet, and the
Redeemer was carried to the tomb.
the Jewish rulers had succeeded in putting Christ to death, they could not
rest easy. They well knew of His mighty power. Some of them had stood by the
grave of Lazarus and had seen the dead brought back to life, and they trembled
for fear that Christ would Himself rise from the dead and again appear before
them. They had heard Him say to the multitude that He had power to lay down
His life and to take it again. They remembered that He had said,
“Destroy this temple, and I will build it again in three
days.” John 2:19 ICB
They knew that He was speaking of His own body. They now remembered
many things he had spoken which foretold His resurrection. They could not
forget these things, however much they desired to do so. Like their father,
the devil, they believed and trembled.
declared to them that Jesus was the Son of God. They could not sleep, for
they were more troubled about Him in death than they had been during His life.
Bent on doing all they could to keep Him in the grave, they asked Pilate to
have the tomb sealed and guarded until the third day. Pilate placed a band
of soldiers at the command of the priests, and said:
“‘Take some soldiers and go guard the tomb the best
way you know.’ So they all went and made if safe from the thieves. They did
this by sealing the stone in the entrance and then putting soldiers there
to guard it.” Matthew 27:65, 66 ICB
He Is Risen →
greatest care had been taken to guard the Savior's tomb, and the entrance
had been closed with a great stone. Upon this stone the Roman seal had been
placed in such a way that the stone could not be moved without breaking the
seal. Around the tomb was the guard of Roman soldiers. They were to keep strict
watch, that the body of Jesus might not be molested. Some of them were constantly
pacing to and fro before the tomb, while the others rested on the ground near
there was another guard around that tomb. Mighty angels from heaven were there.
Any one of this angel guard, by putting forth his power, could have stricken
down the whole Roman army. The night of early Sunday morning wore slowly away.
At the darkest hour, just before daybreak, one of the most powerful angels
is sent from Heaven. His countenance is like lightning, and his garments white
as snow. He parts the darkness, and the whole heavens light with his glory.
sleeping soldiers awake and start to their feet. With awe and wonder they
gaze at the open heavens and the vision of brightness which is nearing them.
The earth trembles and heaves as the powerful being from another world approaches.
He is coming on a joyful errand, and the speed and power of his flight shake
the world like a mighty earthquake. Soldiers, officers, and sentinels fall
to the ground as dead men.
had been still another guard at the Savior's tomb. Evil angels were there.
Because the Son of God had fallen in death, His body was even then claimed
as the prey of him who has the power of death--the devil. The angels of Satan
were present to see that no power should take Jesus from their grasp. But
as the mighty being sent from the throne of God approached, they fled in terror
from the scene. The angel laid hold of the great stone at the mouth of the
tomb, and rolled it away, as if it had been only a pebble. Then with a voice
that caused the earth to tremble, he cried:
“Jesus, Son of God, come out, for Your Father calls
He who had earned the power over death and the grave came forth from the tomb.
Above the open grave He proclaimed,
“I am the resurrection, and the life.”
the angel host bowed low in adoration before the Redeemer and welcomed Him
with songs of praise. Jesus came forth with the tread of a conqueror. At His
presence the earth reeled, the lightning flashed, and the thunder rolled.
An earthquake marked the hour when Christ laid down His life. An earthquake
also witnessed the moment when He took it up in triumph.
was bitterly angry that his angels had fled at the approach of the heavenly
messengers. He had dared to hope that Christ would not take up His life again,
and that the plan of redemption would fail. But as he saw the Savior come
forth from the tomb in triumph, all hope was lost. Satan now knew that his
kingdom would have an end, and that he would finally be destroyed.
Go Tell My Disciples →
Savior was buried on Friday, the sixth day of the week. The women prepared
spices and ointments to embalm their Lord, and laid them aside, until the
Sabbath was past. Not even the work of embalming the body of Jesus would be
done on the Sabbath day.
“The day after the Sabbath day. . . Very early on that
day, the first day of the week, the
women were on their way to the tomb. It was soon after sunrise.”
Mark 16:1, 2 ICB
they neared the garden, they were surprised to see the heavens beautifully
lighted up, and to feel the earth trembling beneath their feet. They hastened
to the tomb, and were still more astonished to find that the stone was rolled
away, and that the Roman guard was not there. Mary Magdalene had been the
first to reach the place. Seeing that the stone was removed, she hurried away
to tell the disciples. When the other women came up, they noticed a light
shining about the tomb, and looking in, saw that it was empty. As they lingered
about the place, they suddenly saw a young man in shining garments sitting
by the tomb. It was the angel who had rolled away the stone. In fear they
turned to flee, but the angel said:
“Don’t be afraid. I know that you are looking for Jesus,
the one who was killed on the cross. But he is not here. He is risen
from death as he said he would. Come and see the place where his body was.
And go quickly and tell His followers. Say to them: ‘Jesus has risen from
death. He is going into Galilee. He will be there before you. You will see
him there.’” Matthew 28:5-7 ICB
the women looked again into the tomb, they saw another shining angel, who
“Why are you looking for a living person here? This
is a place for the dead. Jesus is not here. He has risen from death! Do you
remember what he said in Galilee? He said that the Son of Man must be given
to evil men, be killed on the cross, and rise from death on the third day.”
Luke 24:5-7 ICB
angels then explained the death and resurrection of Christ. They reminded
the women of the words that Christ Himself had spoken, in which He had predicted
His crucifixion and His resurrection. The words of Jesus were now plain to
them, and with fresh hope and courage they hastened away to tell the glad
had been absent during this scene, but now returned with Peter and John. When
they went back to Jerusalem, she stayed at the tomb. She could not bear to
leave until she should learn what had become of the body of her Lord. As she
stood weeping, she heard a voice which asked:
“Woman, why are you crying? Whom
are you looking for?” John 20:15 ICB
eyes were so blinded by tears that she did not notice who it was that spoke
to her. She thought it might be the gardener and said to him pleadingly:
“Did you take Him away, sir? Tell me where you put Him,
and I will get Him.”
John 20:15 ICB
thought that if this rich man's tomb was considered too honorable a place
for her Lord, she herself would provide a place for Him. But now the voice
of Christ Himself fell upon her ears. He said:
tears were quickly brushed away, and she beheld the Savior. Forgetting, in
her joy, that He had been crucified, she stretched forth her hands to Him,
said to her,
“Don’t hold me. I have not yet gone up to the Father.
But go to my brothers, and tell them this: ‘I am going back to My Father,
and your Father. I am going back to My God and your
God.” John 20:17 ICB
refused to receive the worship of His people until He should know that His
sacrifice had been accepted by the Father. He ascended to the heavenly courts,
and from God Himself heard the assurance that His atonement for the sins of
men had been ample, and through His blood all might gain eternal life. All
power in Heaven and on earth was given to the Prince of Life, and He returned
to His followers in a world of sin, that He might give to them His power and
Late in the afternoon of the day of the resurrection, two of the disciples
were on their way to Emmaus, discussing the events of Jesus’ crucifixion.
As they journeyed, a stranger came up and went with them; but they were so
busy with their conversation that they hardly noticed His presence. Disguised
as a stranger (as they were not allowed to recognize Jesus), He began to talk
“What are these things you are talking about while you
one named Cleopas answered,
“You must be the only one in Jerusalem who does not
know what just happened there.”
said to them,
“What are you talking about?
“It is about Jesus of Nazareth, He was a prophet from
God to all the people. He said and did many powerful things” Luke 24:16-19 ICB
then told Him what had taken place, and repeated the report brought by the
women who had been at the tomb early that same morning. Then He said:
“You are foolish and slow to realize what is true. You
should believe everything the prophets said… Christ must suffer these things
before he enters his glory... He started with Moses, and then he talked about
what all the prophets had said about him.” Luke 24:25-27
disciples were silent from amazement and delight. They did not venture to
ask the stranger who He was. They listened eagerly as He explained to them
Christ's mission. As the sun was setting, the disciples reached their home.
Jesus “made as though He would have gone further.” But the disciples could
not bear to part from the One who had brought them such joy and hope. So they
“Stay with us. It is late; it is almost night.
So He went in to stay with them.” Luke 24:29 ICB
simple evening meal was soon ready, and Christ took His place at the head
of the table, as His custom was. As He blessed the food, the eyes of the disciples
were opened. The sound of the now familiar voice, the prints of the nails
in His hands, all proclaimed Him their beloved Master. For a moment they sat
spellbound; then they arose to fall at His feet and worship Him; but He suddenly
their joy they forgot their hunger and weariness. They left the meal uneaten,
and hurried back to Jerusalem with the precious message of a risen Savior.
As they were relating these things to the disciples, Christ Himself stood
among them, and with hands uplifted in blessing, said:
“Peace be with you.” Luke 24:36 ICB
first they were frightened; but when He had shown them the prints of the nails
in His hands and feet, and had eaten before them, they believed and were comforted.
Faith and joy now took the place of unbelief, and with feelings which no words
could express, they acknowledged their risen Savior. In the upper chamber,
Christ again explained the Scriptures concerning Himself. Then He told His
disciples that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in His
name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. Before His ascension to Heaven,
He said to them,
will receive power. You will be my witnesses–in Jerusalem, in all Judea, in Samaria, and in every
part of the world… You can be sure that I will be with you always. I will
continue with you until the end of the world.” Acts 1:8; Matthew 28:20
The Ascension →
Savior's work on earth was finished. The time had now come for Him to return
to His Heavenly home. He had overcome, and was again to take His place by
the side of His Father upon His throne of light and glory.
chose the Mount of Olives as the place of His ascension. Accompanied by the
eleven, He made His way to the mountain. But the disciples did not know that
this was to be their last interview with their Master. As they walked, the
Savior gave them His parting instruction. Just before leaving them, He made
that precious promise, so dear to every one of His followers:
“I will be with you always. I will continue with you
until the end of the world.”
Matthew 28:20 ICB
crossed the summit, to the vicinity of Bethany. Here they paused, and the
disciples gathered about their Lord. Beams of light seemed to radiate from
His countenance as He looked with love upon them. Words of the deepest tenderness
were the last which fell upon their ears from the lips of the Savior.
hands outstretched in blessing, He slowly ascended from among them. As He
passed upward, the awe-stricken disciples looked with straining eyes for the
last glimpse of their ascending Lord. A cloud of glory received Him from their
sight. At the same time there floated down to them the sweetest and most joyous
music from the angel choir.
the disciples were still gazing upward, voices addressed them which sounded
like richest music. They turned, and saw two angels in the form of men, who
spoke to them, saying:
“Men of Galilee, why are you standing
here looking into the sky? You
saw Jesus taken away from you into heaven. He will come back in the same
way you saw him go.” Acts 1:11
angels belonged to the company that had come to escort the Savior to His heavenly
home. In sympathy and love for those left below, they had stayed to assure
them that this separation would not be forever.
the disciples returned to Jerusalem, the people looked upon
them with amazement. After the trial and crucifixion of their Master, it had
been thought that they would appear downcast and ashamed. Their enemies expected
to see upon their faces an expression of sorrow and defeat. Instead of this,
there was only gladness and triumph. Their faces were aglow with happiness.
They did not mourn over disappointed hopes, but were full of praise and thanksgiving
to God. With rejoicing they told the wonderful story of Christ's resurrection
and His ascension to heaven, and their testimony was received by many.
disciples no longer had any distrust of the future. They knew that the Savior
was in Heaven, and that His sympathies were with them still. He was showing
to the Father His wounded hands and feet, as an evidence of the price He had
paid for His redeemed. They knew that He would come again, with all the holy
angels with Him, and they looked for this event with great joy and longing
anticipation. When Jesus passed from the sight of His disciples on the Mount
of Olives, He was met by a heavenly host, who, with songs of joy and triumph,
escorted Him upward. At the portals of the city of God an innumerable company
of angels await His coming.
the avenues of the city of God are opened wide, and the angelic
throng sweep through the gates amid a burst of rapturous music. All the heavenly
host are waiting to honor their returned Commander.
Joyfully the leaders of the heavenly host adore the Redeemer. The innumerable
company of angels bow before Him, and the courts
of Heaven echo and re-echo with the glad shout:
“The Lamb who was killed is worthy to receive power,
wealth, wisdom, and, strength, honor, glory, and praise!” Revelation 5:12
followers are “accepted in the Beloved.” Where the Redeemer is, there the
redeemed shall be. The Son of God has triumphed over the prince of darkness,
and conquered death and sin. Heaven rings with voices in lofty strains proclaiming:
“All praise and honor, and glory,
and power forever and ever to the One who sits on the throne and to the Lamb!” Revelation 5:13 ICB
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Thought for the Day
The converted soul lives in Christ. His darkness passes away, and a new and heavenly light shines into his soul. - CE 97