The merciless Roman soldiers had done their job well. They had done it so many times before that another crucifixion would not matter.
As the One called Jesus hung on the Cross, things had not gone as expected for the soldiers. In fact, they soon saw things they had never seen before:
- Darkness in the middle of the day for three hours (Matthew 27:45).
- An earthquake (Matthew 27:51).
- The dead coming out of the graves (Matthew 27:52,53).
- The curtain in the Temple ripped from top to bottom (Matthew 27:51).
- Jesus giving up His Spirit at will to the Father.
In between some of these events, they also heard things they probably never heard before. Things like:
- A man being crucified asking God to forgive them.
- A man being crucified without complaining.
- A man on a cross promising a criminal he'd be in paradise that very day.
- A man on a cross caring more for others (His mother) than for Himself.
- A man on a Cross having a sign over His head which read: "This is Jesus the King of the Jews" (Matthew 27:37).
- Jewish priests mocked Him but also gave powerful testimony to truth: "He saved others" (Mt. 27:42); "He trusted in God" (Mt. 27:43); and, "He said, I am the Son of God" (Mt. 27:43).
It was enough. They did not need any more evidence. Not only did the hardened centurion admit it, but so did those who were with him. Concerning this event, we are told that: "Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God" (Matthew 27:54).
The disciples were slow to believe the news that came three days later. They heard His tomb was empty. No guards were present, because they all fled at the appearance of the angel. His job was to roll back the stone (Matthew 28:2) so that the disciples could get in. Jesus was already gone.
Two angels gave a message to the women who went to the tomb first. The message was short and very plain. They said: "Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead" (Matthew 28:5-7).
After that many saw Him. An even larger number saw Him ascend back into Heaven.
Since that time, many have believed Him and have found His words to be truth, and His saving power to be very real. Do you know Him as your Lord and Savior? Let this Easter season be a time of regeneration of your heart in His forgiveness, mercy, and salvation. He will save all who are sincere and are sorry for their sin, and believing that Christ will save them when they ask.
For those who already know Him, Resurrection Day certainly is a time to rejoice. Christ’s tomb is empty! Praise His Name for His wonderful works toward us!
Photo: Unchanged; Erik Larsen
Keywords: Easter, Christ, He is risen, Resurrection Day, Son of God