“Well, What did you expect?”
The quietness and stillness of the pre-dawn darkness at the tomb that held Jesus was a welcome respite to the hellish scene that had unfolded in Jerusalem and nearby at Golgotha just 3 days prior.
What should have been a time of thankful praise in the celebration of the High Jewish Festival of the Passover had instead spun into a new out of control and volatile situation.
A well know and recognized Jew had been publicly arrested on the grounds of blasphemy by the Jewish High Court of the Sanhedrin. He was found guilty.
They did not have the authority to condemn him to death, so they took Jesus of Nazareth on trumped up charges before the one person that could. Pontius Pilate the Roman governor and voice of the Emperor.
Pilate feared the possibility of a riot by the mob, so he bent to their will and condemned the teacher and prophet to death by the execution style of crucifixion.
Jesus was beaten, spit upon, his body ripped to shreds by the scourging of the Roman Cat of nine tails.
As he stumbled under the 300-pound weight of the cross member of the cross down the uneven road to Golgotha called the Via Del Rosa, a man names Simone the Cyrenian was forced to help carry it to the execution ground.
Barely alive Jesus was impaled upon the cross, blood and sweat and human waste and the smell of death hung heavy in the air.
Thus, in the 6th hour or noon the nearly surreal time of the condemner’s final suffering began. It all come to a thunderous crescendo at the 9th hour or 3pm. When Jesus cried out the last two of his seven utterances from the cross.
“It is finished” and “Father into thy hands I commend my spirit.
Two real criminals were crucified on either side of hi. One cam to confess his belief that Jesus of Nazareth really was the Messiah the true Son of God.
His sins were forgiven, and he was promised eternal life.
The confession of repentance by a savior and the promise of God “Today thou shall be with me in Paradise.”
Jesus died and a soldier drove a spear through his side into his heart to be sure.
The two others would have had their legs broken to quicken death, because death by crucifixion came about by affixation. They couldn’t push up their bodies and their lungs collapsed.
It truly was a scene of carnage.
Christ limp, lifeless body was taken down. His body wrapped in a death shroud and carried to a nearby tom, donated by his friend a Pharisee named Joseph of Arimathea.
It had to be done in a hurry because the Jewish Sabbath was set to begin at 6pm. In which a Jew could not touch a corpse in the 24-hour Sabbath.
Three hours on the cross, three hours to temporarily prepare the body and seal the tomb.
Several of the Lord’s family members and friends had made arrangements to return in predawn hours of the first day of the week to properly prepare Christs corpse for its resting place.
Three days must have seemed like three years for the followers of Jesus.
A Jewish Day was considered as such due to the fact that when anything happened in their 24-hr. cycle from 6am to 6am it was considered a part of the day.
Friday – The crucifixion and placement of the body in the tomb. (Day 1) Saturday the body laid in state (Day 2)Sunday after 6am (Day 3)
When Jesus’ body was lying in quiet state his spirit was very active.
In that time frame his Spirit descended into the bowels of the earth to introduce himself to the souls of the righteous who were being held captive by Satan in a part of Hades called Paradise.
This is where the souls of the righteous were held before the resurrected and ascension.
It was but a temporary place until the Messiah set them free to their reward in Heaven.
Psalm 16:10 bears the authors understanding of this and his understanding that the Messiahs body would not see corruption.
“For thou will not leave my soul in hell, or wilt thou suffer the Holy One to see corruption.”
At your leisure take the time to read Isaiah 53.
It is a spot-on explanation of the Passion of the Christ.
Christ’s passion was not the end of anything, in fact it was but the beginning of Christ’s eternal story and ours too.
The most tell Old Testament on the resurrection is Daniel 12:2
“And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.”
In the new testament 1 Thessalonians 4:16
“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:”
“Now we know from the scripture that the dead will be resurrected someday, we know chronologically when. Jesus prophesied his resurrection to the day.
Jesus answered and said unto them, destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”
His referral was not in regard to Solomon’s temple albeit in AD 70 the Romans did destroy it; he was referring to his death and his resurrection.
It happened just like he said it would.
Jewish burial tradition called for the body to be washed and cleansed, oils and spices to help preserve and to quell down the stench of corruption, then the body would be wrapped in a clean shroud.
The women of our text were going to exactly that, but when they arrived the soldiers on guard were no where in sight. Yet, two individuals sent from Heaven were there.
They asked the women, who had entered the tomb and found it empty “Why seek ye the Living among the dead” (Well what did you expect?)
“He is not here. Don’t you remember what he told you in Galilee? He told he would be handed over to sinful men, they crucified him, and he would rise from the grave in resurrection.”
That was a real aha moment for they remembered.
The women needed to tell somebody, so they went back to Jerusalem to the upper room and told all the disciples what had happened.
The disciples thought the women had lost their minds.
That they were making the whole thing up.
Peter and John needed to see this with their own eyes.
John 20 says that they ran to the sepulcher and that they young John out ran the old fellow Peter.
They peered into the tomb and the only thing they saw was the death shroud and face covering.
My question to Peter and John would have been: Well what did you expect?
For three years the Master told you that this would all happen.
They had to see it before they would believe it.
Here is the significance of what they saw.
First, the heavy stone was rolled away from the tomb entrance.
It was moved by the power of the Father not for Jesus to come forth, but rather for man to see the empty tomb.
Second, the folded clothing and especially the folded napkin away by itself.
Explain the Servant and the Master.
Someday and perhaps soon 1st Thessalonians 4 and 1st Corinthians 15:51-58 are going to happen.
The graves of the righteous will be opened and those Christians alive will be called to Heaven as we are caught up in the rapture.
My question to all of my brothers and sisters in Christ will be “Well, what did you expect?”
And to the world who will be trying to figure out what happened. I would like to ask them.
“Why seek ye the living among the dead, they are not here, they are all risen, just like God’s word said.
If you are saved by God’s grace when I see you in the air and in heaven by ready because I’m going to ask “Well, what did you expect.”
If you are not a Christian, save by God’s grace. I’m going to give you a chance to do so. Because if you don’t and you die, you will have a resurrection day too, but it will be in preparation for your eternal judgement.