It is Saturday of Passion Week…

The followers of Jesus were devastated. All their hopes and dreams were gone. Jesus’ body lay wrapped in the grave clothes soaked with the spices and preserving materials. But Jesus was not in the grave. He was very busy on this important day.

1 Peter 3:18-22

For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit, through whom also he went and preached to the spirits in prison who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also’ not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.

What does this mean? It means that right after Christ died, between the Cross and His Resurrection, He went before the spirits in prison, that is Hell, and proclaimed that God’s promise of salvation was fulfilled in Him, the Savior of the world. But who are the spirits to whom He preached? Scripture says that they were the disobedient toward God who were living upon earth while Noah was preparing the Ark and who were not saved during the flood.

Does this mean that Christ gave them a second chance to be saved? No! It means that Jesus Christ went before them and proclaimed His triumph; He went to vindicate the way of faith, to proclaim that the faith of Noah was victorious. Noah’s life and his proclamation of faith in God were never vindicated in his day; therefore, Christ Himself went before the spirits of unbelievers and personally proclaimed the victory.

Jesus also was collecting keys. He picked up the keys to death, hell, and the grave.

This was a busy day for the Savior. His followers were in despair and did not have a clue as to what He was doing . They were in the dark and they wondered where was God. All the time God was moving in the most triumphant way, in the dark, to work the greatest miracle of all time. Wow, were they surprised the following morning. . . . Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5)

Remember when you are in your dark times . . . God did His best work in the dark!!!!!

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It is Friday of Passion Week…

Jesus was in Gethsemane between 9 pm and midnight on Thursday night. The arrest took place after this. Then the trial was between 3 am and 6 am Friday morning.

The death of Jesus on the Cross is the most crucial focal point in history. Eternal salvation was secured for man in the death of Jesus upon the Cross. Because Jesus died, man can live forevermore. Therefore, the events of the Cross are all important. They hold lesson after lesson for the person who seeks the truth of God’s Son.

Jesus was crucified at 9 am (the third hour), and darkness swept the land from 12 noon until 3 pm (the sixth hour to the ninth hour). During the course of events Jesus uttered seven sayings from the cross:

Father, forgive them . . . (Luke 23:34)

This day you will be with me in paradise (Luke 23:43)

Woman, behold your son . . (John 19:26-27)

My God, my God . . . (Matthew 27:46, Mark 15:34)

I thirst. (John 19:28)

It is finished! (John 19:30)

Father into your hands . . . (Luke 23:46)

Around 2 pm God the Father could not stand to look upon the hideous sight of Jesus on the Cross, bearing all the sins of the world. The Father turned from His only Son . . . the first and only time that ever occurred. Jesus felt the agony of separation from His Father and responded, ‘My God, why hast thou forsaken me?’

Around 3 pm He said, ‘It is finished!’ Notice that He did not say, ‘I am finished.’ It was His mission that was finished as He took on Himself the wrath and judgment of all men’s sins. Jesus said, ‘Father into thy hands I commend my spirit’ and the ordeal was over. The world had a Savior .

Why did all this happen? Every step Jesus took in His earthly life was leading Him to the place the Hebrews called ‘Golgotha’ and the Romans called ‘Calvary’. It was known to all as ‘The Place of the Skull’. All through the Gospels, Jesus had said this was His destiny (Matt. 16:21; 17:22-23; 20:28; 26:2). The very morning of His death, He told Pontius Pilate that Calvary was the place He was going, ‘To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world . . .’ John 18:37. He came to set men free from the penalty of sin. Jesus secured a choice for us. We can live with the penalty of sin and be forever separated from God the Father . . . or we can choose to accept what Jesus did on the cross as full payment for our sin debt and experience an eternal relationship with the Creator of the universe.

So what was going on with the disciples during all of this? All their hopes and dreams were gone. Hope deferred makes the heart sick (Proverbs 13:12). When all is failing and every ounce of hope is gone, there is an empty, sick feeling that takes over. The emotional well being of every person runs on an adequate amount of hope.

The disciples waited through the night hours and watched during the day. They thought that Jesus would do something. Hope was being depleted with every waiting minute as they saw the very life drain out of Jesus. They sought to understand and they invented a thousand ways this was going to be answered and rectified. They just knew that some great thing was going to happen to stop all this. But eventually all hope was gone.

This sounds a lot like when we are asked to wait, wait, and wait. Hope diminishes, despair sets in, and ultimately, we utter these words, ‘God where are you?’ Just as the disciples didn’t believe that Sunday was coming and all would be rectified, we fail to factor in God’s plan that He is working all things for our good in His time. ‘But these things I plan won’t happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed.’ (Habakkuk 2:3)

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