THROUGH THE BIBLE IN THREE YEARS

This program of daily Scripture studies is designed to help you in daily honoring God with adoration.

Each day, Monday through Friday, a Scripture with commentary is posted.

We have a great friend in Gary Godard. He has set up an archive page. To view ALL the prior Scripture studies by book and chapter, just clik


HERE.

Bro. Bruce's commentaries for the books of Genesis through Malachi are
now available in hard copy for $17.50. (Smaller books are only $9:50) Just mail your request for COMMENTARY ON (BOOK NAME) to:

Bruce McGee
P.O. Box 1627
Columbia, LA 71418

TODAY'S SCRIPTURE STUDY

MATTHEW

CHAPTER 27

1 When the morning was come, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death: 2 And when they had bound him, they led him away, and delivered him to Pontius Pilate the governor.

They had conducted their "trial" of Jesus by NIGHT! Under the cover of darkness, while normal people slept, they performed SIN! Jesus had talked about this once.

19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
John 3:19-21

People try to cover up their sinful deeds.

Now, these people wanted to try and penetrate light with darkness! They took Jesus to Pilate and utilized their sinful acts (darkness) to influence daylight judgment. But Pilate showed the futility of such a thing. He said, "what evil hath he done?" (Vs 23), and "I am innocent of the blood of this just person.." (vs 24).

It is LIGHT that penetrates darkness!! Pilate SAW the purity of Jesus and the guiltiness of the Sanhedrin!

They had already condemned Jesus to death! There were only two reasons to take Him to Pilate. The first reason was because the Sanhedrin had no authority, under the Roman Government, to exact the death penalty. The second reason was that they wanted Pilate's court to give credence to their conviction of the death penalty.

People try to USE tradition, government, and even religion to cover up their sinful acts. Peter, writing to Christians, tells us to live lives of purity so that those who "accuse us" would be like these men: ASHAMED (See 1Peter 3:15-16).

3 Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, 4 Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that. 5 And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself. 6 And the chief priests took the silver pieces, and said, It is not lawful for to put them into the treasury, because it is the price of blood. 7 And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter's field, to bury strangers in. 8 Wherefore that field was called, The field of blood, unto this day. 9 Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was valued, whom they of the children of Israel did value; 10 And gave them for the potter's field, as the Lord appointed me.

Judas "saw that he was condemned..." This does not mean that he was condemned to eternal hell! It means that he was condemned before the world as a guilty person. Judas realized that he could not deliver Christ (See discussion on Matthew 24:14-16 , you'll have to scroll down to verses 14-16). Therefore he knew that he would bear the burden of the betrayal of Christ. His admission, "I have SINNED," was because he knew that he had "betrayed innocent blood."
Judas had tried to deliver Christ as the Person of his own desires. He probably thought that, if Christ were confronted with death, He would escape as He had done before (See Luke 4:28-30). Then, Judas believed, that Jesus would take over the world and deliver rulership to the Jewish people. That was the popular belief about "Messiah" among most theologians of that day.

But when Judas saw Jesus bound and led away, he knew that Jesus would not deliver Himself. Filled with the consciousness of guilt, Judas went to the "chief priests and elders." He tried to get them to take the money back. But they would not. So he, in utter despair, THREW the money down in the temple. The Bible says here that Judas "repented himself." Because of the importance of this matter, we should discuss that further.

There are two Greek words translated "repented" in the New Testament. The first, and most prevalent, is metanoeo. It is said by many that this means to perceive sorrow and implies a change of one's mind and purpose or lifestyle. The second is metamelomai which means to perceive afterward with regret. It is this word that is used in our present text, Matthew 27:3. Metamelomai is used less frequently than metanoeo. However, in two instances (Matthew 21:29 and Matthew 21:32) we must realize that it IS used in reference to not only having sorrow, but also making definite change. (Clik here for those references.)

Repented from the Greek word Metanoeo is used several times in the New Testament (Matthew 11:21, Matthew 12:41, Luke 10:13, Luke 11:32, 2Corinthians 12:21, Revelation 2:21, Revelation 9:20&21, Revelation 16:9, and Revelation 16:11). In only 2 of those above stated, the meaning is "had sorrow and made change" (Matthew 12:41 and Luke 11:32). In all the other instances stated above, the sorrow is there, but NO CHANGE took place. Rather, in most instances a conscious decision NOT TO CHANGE was made.

Repented from the Greek word Metamelomai is used fewer times in the New Testament. It is not as prevalent as metanoeo, but nevertheless is used connecting sorrow with change in lifestyle (See Matthew 21:29-32 again).

So what does this mean? Did Judas genuinely repent from his sin of betraying Christ by trying to deliver Christ according to his own desires? Perhaps we should look further into the usage of these terms.

Paul says that "Godly sorrow worketh repentance (metanoia)" or, guilt/sorrow with CHANGE (2Corinthians 7:10). Paul also says "but the sorrow of the world worketh death." (2 Cor 7:10)

Now, I believe that the Bible is very plain about "judgment." We ARE to judge people according to their actions. We ARE to judge people and find them guilty of illegal activities. We ARE to judge people and exact punishments for crimes against society.

But we are NOT to judge people according to their ultimate destination after death! That's GOD'S job! Only GOD can acquit the guilty, through the blood of Jesus, and give them eternal life. Only GOD can determine if a person shall be consigned to an eternal hell.

We canot say that Judas was condemned to hell because his "worldly" sorrow led to death. King Saul also died of suicide (See 1Samuel 31:4). And we know where Saul went (See 1Samuel 28:19).

Neither can we say that Judas repented and was forgiven, because no indication of that is given in the Scripture. And we must take into account the prophecy in the book of Psalm concerning him (See Psalm 108:1-8).

Now, I said all that to say this:
You'll never hear me saying from the pulpit that Judas was condemned to hell. Now, I have heard that preached from pulpits! That's an awesome assumption, and NOT OUR PLACE! Even though the term "the son of perdition" is used in John 17:12, we can still not make that assumption. The word perdition there, is a word meaning apointed to destruction. I don't know how far that destruction goes. And neither does anyone else, because the context doesn't allow it.

Neither will you ever hear me saying from the pulpit that Judas was forgiven and saved. It's not my PLACE!

We must be careful about what assumptions we make from the Bible. We must study ALL the related passages before drawing conclusions.

As to where Judas went when he died, he went the same place everyone goes -- to the grave!
Where shall he appear at judgment day? Only GOD knows!

11 And Jesus stood before the governor: and the governor asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? And Jesus said unto him, Thou sayest. 12 And when he was accused of the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing. 13 Then said Pilate unto him, Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee? 14 And he answered him to never a word; insomuch that the governor marvelled greatly.

Again, let me say, the words "Thou sayest" was a term used in those days to indicate, "Yes!" When Pilate inquired about Jesus' position as LORD, Jesus answered affirmatively.

Jesus was also falsely accused before Pilate by "the chief priests and elders,..;" but Jesus did not answer those false charges. They charged Him with blasphemy because He was a man and called Himself God. He said he was the Messiah, and that indicated God to the Jews of that day.

Pilate was amazed that Jesus wouldn't answer the false accusations. And he asked Jesus about it. But Jesus STILL would not answer. The prophecy of Isaiah was fulfilled: "..he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth." (Isa 53:7)

15 Now at that feast the governor was wont to release unto the people a prisoner, whom they would. 16 And they had then a notable prisoner, called Barabbas. 17 Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ? 18 For he knew that for envy they had delivered him. 19 When he was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him. 20 But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus. 21 The governor answered and said unto them, Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you? They said, Barabbas. 22 Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified. 23 And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified. 24 When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it. 25 Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.

There was a tradition that the governor of the Jews held. At the Passover feast time, he would allow one prisoner to go free. Perhaps this tradition was used by the Roman government at that time to appease the Jewish people whom they ruled over. The Passover symbolized the freedom the Jewish people received when God delivered them from the Egyptians.

Nevertheless, Pilate wanted to be SURE that they wanted Jesus crucified. So he offered to let one prisoner go, and gave them a choice between Barabbas (a murderer) and Jesus. Notice verse 18. Pilate knew that it was "envy" which caused the Jews to deliver Jesus to him in the first place. Jesus was POPULAR with the common people, and Pilate saw that the leaders of the Jewish nation coveted that popularity.

As they all yelled for Jesus to be crucified and for Barabbas to be set free, Pilate asked a question: "WHY? What EVIL hath He done?" Even though they had brougth accusations against Jesus, Pilate could not find wrong in Him!!!

Finally, in order to keep down an uprising, Pilate let Barabbas go free, and kept Jesus. Then, ceremoniously, he "washed his hands" of the matter. Pilate publicly did this because he didn't want to be associated with bringing death to an innocent man. But no amount of "hand washing" can cleanse a sinner! Only Christ Himself can do that!

The people (mostly the chief priests and elders) said, "His blood be on us, and on our children." They were saying, in effect: "If He is innocent, then the cause of His death shall visited upon us and our children." And it HAS! For centuries, those belonging to the Jewish nation and not believing in Jesus have been persecuted relentlessly! Even in a few short years, they suffered a tremendous tragedy when the Romans came, under Titus, and literally DESTROYED Jerusalem. At that time, many of them were crucified on crosses!! In fact, historians say there weren't enough crosses for those being crucified!

My friends, it is an AWFUL thing to reject Christ. Not only in THIS world, but in that to come!!

26 Then released he Barabbas unto them: and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified. 27 Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto him the whole band of soldiers. 28 And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe. 29 And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! 30 And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head. 31 And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him. 31 And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him.

A murderer goes free, and the innocence of God Himself is crucified!

First, they took His clothes, and scourged Him. The whipping on the back was enough to kill most men. 39 lashes were allowed. Each lash took large pieces of meat from His back.

Then, they took Jesus away to "the common hall" or praetorium -- a PUBLIC place! There, they again disrobed Him, and placed a "scarlet" robe on Him to mock Him. The scarlet robe represented kingdom authority.

Then they "platted a crown of thorns" and pulled it harshly down upon His head! The thorns gouging deep into his head, causing the loss of much blood. The "reed" was a mockery of the ruler's staff, and was probably a long cane.

Next they gave the symbol of great scorn: they SPIT on Him! And they took the reed from Him and beat him across the head with it.

Next they took the scarlet robe off, and placed Jesus' own clothing back upon Him.
Then, they "led Him away to crucify Him!"

Imagine, The King of Glory; The Creator, mocked and scorned. WHY? Why did Jesus allow these things done to Him? Because, sin is a personal affront to Jesus! He came to suffer and die at the hands of men! The REASON is that through the physical suffering, Jesus epitomizes the spiritual suffering God has for our sins. And, as I have said before,
the One forgiving must be willing to accept the suffering, and to put it away without speaking of it again! THAT's forgiveness! Jesus came to PROVE that He can FORGIVE! (See Isaiah 53:5)

32 And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross. 33 And when they were come unto a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull, 34 They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink. 35 And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots.

As they headed toward out of the city with Jesus, He Himself carried the cross part of the way (See John 19:16-17). However, He was likely weakened tremendously. So they commissioned "Simon," a man from "Cyrene" (a city of Libya, North Africa) to carry the cross with Jesus. Some say that "Simon" was a convert to Judaism and perhaps a disciple of Christ. It is fitting that he should be chosen to carry the cross, since this is what Jesus said all who followed Him should do (See Luke 9:23). Indeed, let all christians go "outside the camp" (Hebrews 13:13), and bear the "reproach" of Christ. The "reproach" of Christ was innocence suffering for guiltiness, righteousness suffering for unrighteousness.

They led Jesus to the hill called "Golgotha," which means "place of a skull."

There, they gave him something to drink: "vinegar ...mingled with gall." This was probably a mixture which stupefied and deadened the senses. Notice that Jesus REFUSED it! Jesus would not let His death for others go without feeling! This was the "cup" which He had received of the "Father," and He would gladly drink it! God's love for us is not without feeling...so much so, in fact, that He DIED with great compassion for souls!

The crucifixion was a horrible way to die! The victim's hands were nailed to a cross beam, then the wrists were tied so as to not come loose. Then the feet were nailed to a portion of the upright beam. The cross looked like a giant "T". The weight of the body was supported by the feet which were gruesomely nailed, making it very hard to push upward. Yet the weight of the body caused "slumping," and the victim could hardly breathe. Thus it was necessary to push, painstakingly, with the feet. Soon, the muscles would tire to exhaustion. Then the ligaments would fail to work. Then the victim, after suffering excruciating pain, would suffocate - not being able to push up and breathe!

When they crucified Jesus, they gambled for His clothes at the foot of the cross!! This fulfilled prophecy of the disdain Jesus' tormentors had for Him (See Psalm 22:18).

One need go no further in Scripture than these two verses (Matthew 27:35 and Psalm 22:18) to show the immorality of gambling! There are many OTHER Scriptures which show the ignominy of this sin. But these two together show the depths to which man will sink when addicted to gambling. He will sell his home, his family, even his GOD!!

36 And sitting down they watched him there; 37 And set up over his head his accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.

The guards sat down to watch Jesus die, AND to make sure no one took Him down from the cross.

Usually, there was some kind of statement nailed to the upper portion of the upright beam. That statement was the crime which the person had committed. Above Jesus' head was the sign: "THIS IS JESUS KING OF THE JEWS."

According to John 19:21, the chief priests and elders asked that the inscription be changed. They wanted it to read "HE SAID HE WAS KING OF THE JEWS."

When Jesus was before the high priest (Matthew 26:63-64), He had been asked if He were the "Christ, the Son of God." He had answered, "Thou sayest...," which, as discussed earlier, meant: "You are speaking the truth."

When Jesus was before Pilate (Matthew 27:11), the govenor asked, "Art thou King of the Jews?" Again, Jesus answered, "Thou sayest." GOD CANNOT DENY TRUTH! Jesus IS King of kings, Lord of lords!

However, the accusation which the rulers had stated against Jesus when they were before Pilate, was not the same as the accusation they had made of Him when in the trial the night before. That night, they had accused him of blasphemy; a man calling Himself God! But when they went before Pilate, they accused Jesus of being a "King," Who perverted the nation and forbid to give tax money to Caesar (See Luke 23:2). In John 18:33-37 Jesus took time to explain to Pilate that His kingdom was "not of this world." He was not an insurrectionist. There was no need to crucify Him because of the law. He was not exacting taxes, and He was not forbidding that taxes be paid to Caesar.

Therefore, they who accused Jesus, and he who caused him to be crucified are as Judas: guilty of "innocent blood!"

38 Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left. 39 And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads, 40 And saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross. 41 Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said, 42 He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. 43 He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God. 44 The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth.

The two thieves were more than likely guilty of more than thievery. Men were not normally crucified for theft only. These were hardened criminals. Thus Isaiah 53:12 was fulfilled, "he was numbered among the transgressors."

Passersby came to witness the crucifixion of criminals. Some of them wagged their heads, indicating a shameful thing. Some of them "reviled" Jesus with words. They didn't believe He was God, because He didn't deliver Himself from the cross.

But one of the thieves believed Jesus (See Luke 23:39-43).

The chief priests also came by. They reviled Jesus by saying "If He be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross..." They indeed believed Jesus to be guilty of blasphemy because He did not deliver Himself.

These men professed to be speakers of truth. Yet, when they came face to face with absolute Truth, they could not comprehend it! They did not understand, along with millions today, that in order to forgive, God must pay God the atonement for their sins! Having lived so long under the sacrificial system, they did not comprehend its symbolic and prophetic meaning! Isaiah 53:7 says, in part, "He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter..."

Yet, it was for THEM, and for US, that Jesus STAYED on that cross! He was not a malefactor, He is our Benefactor! By His payment for our sins, He confers forgiveness to all those who surrender to Him!

Little did they know that, though He was not delivered from the cross, He would be delivered from the grave!

45 Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour. 46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? 47 Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This man calleth for Elias. 48 And straightway one of them ran, and took a spunge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink. 49 The rest said, Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to save him. 50 Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.

Both Luke 23:44 and Mark 15:33 speak of this "darkness" which was over the land of Judaea from "the sixth hour....unto the ninth hour." That would mean that darkness prevailed from noon until 3PM. Remember, this was the time of the full moon, for it was the time of the Passover. Therefore, it was not a "darkness" of an eclipse! It was a supernatural expression of God's sorrow!

It must be noted that some secular writers from around that era wrote of an "eclipse" which occured. However, none of them were present at the time. And all of their writings were taken from fact-finding conversations they had with others. It would have been easy for those writers to misconstrue statements concerning "darkness" with "eclipse."

The "Sun of Righteousness" was suspended in "darkness" when men's sin crucified the Savior! It was the ugliest, blackest moment in the history of mankind when the life of God in flesh was given freely for man's aberrations! In Luke 23:53
Jesus had said to those who came to take Him with swords, "..this is your hour, and the power of darkness."

Just before 3PM, Jesus cried loudly "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"
How can one ever explain?

How could God leave God? Can anyone ever imagine, even minutely, the awesome suffering of Jesus, as the Spirit of God LEFT His body to DIE? There had never been a time in Jesus' physical life that He did not know the fullness of the Spirit of God! He ALWAYS knew the closeness, unity, holiness, and fullness of God in Him! At that time, the Holy, Eternal, Almighty God LEFT His own body to die on the cross! At that time the Son, the body of God became the "kernel of wheat" (See John 12:24).

This was God's plan from "..before the world" (See John 17:5, 1Corinthians 2:7, 2Timothy 1:9, Titus 1:2).

The ONE "Son" of God, the ONE "body" of God must die to sin in order show the holiness of God. The body of Christ had never sinned. He died to sin, and lived perfect. He was "without spot" and "without blemish." Thus, His body was the PERFECT sacrifice!

And the ONE "Son" of God, the ONE "body" of God must die for sin to grant men the privilege of forgiveness. In all acts of harm against another, it is the FORGIVOR who must bear the COST of forgiveness! Jesus' body was given to pay the ransom price, to purchase atonement, to make propitiation for man's sins.

Matthew uses the word from Hebrew origin "Eli," meaning "My GOD."
Mark uses the word from Syriac "Eloi," still meaning "My GOD."
Both use the word from Hebrew origin "lema," which means "WHY."
And both use "sabachthani" (of Hebrew origin), which means "LEFT."

Some, who were standing by, misunderstood and thought Jesus was calling for Elijah. Then they lifted a sponge to His mouth, probably because He said, "I thirst" (John 19:28).

The very next thing recorded is that Jesus "yielded up the ghost," meaning life passed from His body and He DIED!

Without a real bodily death, God could not have paid for our sins!
Just as, without a real bodily resurrection, we have no hope!

51 And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; 52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, 53 And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.

This was Friday, at "the ninth hour," or 3PM (see verse 46 above). This was precisely the time that the high priest was to offer a lamb for the sins of the people. After he had offered that lamb, he was to enter the Holy Place of the tabernacle and place blood on the small altar in front of the veil. Then he was to enter beyond the veil into the Holy of Holies, and place blood on the mercy seat of the ark.

The high priest was allowed to enter that Holy of Holies only ONCE per year! The veil symbolized a separation of God from people and their sinful ways. The once-per-year atonement symbolized that God must ALLOW one to come within to plead for the people. To enter without permission would mean sure death!

The Bible plainly states that at this time, "..the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom.."!! Can you imagine the mind-boggling disturbance in the mind of the high priest as he entered the Holy Place and saw the veil RIPPED from top to bottom?!

When the Spirit of God left the body of Christ, His "Person" went directly through the veil!
He opened access to God permanently for all those who come to God by Him (See Hebrews 9:12). He purchased eternal redemption for those who come to God by Him!

And those who trust in Christ become sanctified by His bodily offering (See Hebrews 10:10).

Jesus is the "Great High Priest" Who has entered the Holy of Holies of God for our sakes (See Hebrews 4:14). And He is set on the "right hand," (or place of power) of God!! (See Hebrews 8:1)

Through surrender to Christ, we can come "boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:16)

At the same time (3PM) that the veil was ripped, an earthquake occured. The "rocks" of the tombs were broken. "Saints" (or true believers) arose - AFTER the resurrection of Christ. They did NOT arise before His resurrection, for He is the "firstfruits" of those who were dead (See 1Corinthians 15:20).

Those people rose from the dead as proof that Christ destroyed the "death" caused by sin, and gives LIFE to those who trust in Him.

54 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. 55 And many women were there beholding afar off, which followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him: 56 Among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee's children.

The "centurion" was a Roman guard, placed to witness the death of those crucified. A Roman, a man who probably worshipped many "gods." Even he said, "Truly this was the Son of God!"

This man was a witness to how Jesus willingly lay down to receive the nails in His hands and feet. He was a witness to how Jesus cried, "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do." He was a witness to the darkness that covered the earth. He was a witness to the earthquake when Jesus died. He KNEW this was "The Son of GOD!"

Countless others, by this man's witness, and by the reading of the Gospels, have come to know Jesus as the Eternal, Holy, Son of God, and Savior!

Many people stood by "beholding" the events of Christ's death. Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the less, and Mary the mother of John and James. Jesus' mother, Mary, and John the apostle were also there (See John 19:25-27).

They who witnessed Jesus dying to sin in His life, were there also to witness Him dying for sin at His death. They had been witnesses to His spotless life, and now witnessed His vicarious death.

"1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God." (Heb 12:1-2)

Remember Him Who died for you, that you may remember you died to Him!

57 When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus' disciple: 58 He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered. 59 And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 60 And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed. 61 And there was Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulchre.

Here was a "rich man" who was a devoted disciple and follower of Christ - Joseph of Arimathaea. He used his influence to "beg" Pilate for the body of Christ. Then, after he had seen to it that the Lord's body was wrapped appropriately for burial, buried Jesus in his OWN tomb!! He had purchased that tomb for his OWN burial!

At this, let me reiterate a statement made in the discussion on Matthew 19:16-26.
"But what Jesus was explaining is that only God can overrule a man's desire for worldly fame and fortune. It is IMPOSSIBLE for man to be saved by his own works, merit, or fortune! But with God it is POSSIBLE! God can and will forgive the poorest or the richest persons."

It has been said that Joseph didn't mind Jesus using his own tomb at all. After all, Jesus only wanted it for the weekend!

62 Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate, 63 Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again. 64 Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first. 65 Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can. 66 So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.

Early on Saturday morning, the chief priests and pharisees approached Pilate. They said they remembered that Jesus had said, "After three days I will rise again." Truly, as Jesus had said, these men were "of your father the devil" (See John 6:44). BEFORE, according to Matthew 26:61, these people accused Jesus of destruction when He had said He would "destroy the temple," and rebuild it in three days. NOW, they are saying Jesus meant the "temple" of His body!!

They wanted a "guard" set at the tomb to make sure that the disciples didn't come and "steal" Jesus' body. They KNEW that Jesus' claim rested upon the resurrection!!

So Pilate allowed them a "watch." This meant that they had temple guards, under the authority of Roman guards, to secure the tomb all night.

They put a great "seal" on the tomb and stayed to watch that it was not broken. They indeed made the tomb "as sure" as they could, but it didn't do them any good!!

I've read the rest of the story!
Jesus arose ANYWAY!!
My friend, not even the whole of the Roman army could have kept Him in that grave!

One can visit the tomb of Buddha, and his body is STILL THERE!
One can visit the tomb of Mohammed, and his body is STILL THERE!
One can visit the tomb of Confuscious, and his body is STILL THERE!
But when one visits the tomb of Jesus - it is EMPTY!! He is RISEN!

And, He - JESUS - can take a dead body and make it ALIVE again!!
Our hope of eternal life rests in JESUS CHRIST!

PLEASE CONTINUE WITH US IN BIBLE STUDY TOMORROW.