Shortly after Peter professes that Jesus is the Messiah of God (Luke 9:18 – 20), Jesus again tells his followers that he must suffer, be rejected by the church leaders, be killed, and then be raised to life on the third day. He then explains that anyone who wants to be his disciple must take up his or her cross and follow him (Luke 9:21 – 23).
Jesus’ crucifixion begins with a brutal beating, wearing a crown of thorns, and carrying his own crossbeam through the city to the place of his execution. While Jesus
is dying, the land becomes supernaturally dark. Around three in the afternoon, Jesus cries out in Hebrew, quoting from Psalm 22: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:45 – 46, NIV). At this moment, Jesus is taking upon himself all of humanity’s sin, as well as all of God’s wrath, mysteriously experiencing complete separation from the Father.
In John’s account of the crucifixion, he records Jesus’ last words as “It is finished,” after which Jesus “bowed his head and gave up his spirit” (John 19:28 – 30, NIV). These words signify the accomplishment of the Father’s will in reconciling humanity to himself. The cross of Christ, the blood of the Lamb, now provides direct access to a holy and loving God.
When Jesus dies, the earth shakes, rocks split, tombs open, and the massive veil in the Holy of Holies in the Jerusalem temple is split from top to bottom (Matthew 27:51 – 52). Jesus is then placed inside of a cave-like tomb secured by a large boulder and guarded by two Roman soldiers (Mark 15:42 – 47; Matthew 27:62 – 66).
The Miracle of Easter
On the third day after Jesus’ death, an angel with an “appearance like lightning” and “clothes as white as snow” appears at the tomb. The guards are so afraid, they become “like dead men.” To the women at Jesus’ tomb who had come to tend to his body, the angel says, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said” (Matthew 28:5 – 6, NIV).
The angel then tells the women to go and tell the disciples the news: Jesus “has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him” (Matthew 28:7, NIV). As the women report this news to the disciples, Jesus appears to them. They fall at his feet and worship him (Matthew 28:9). Jesus, the Author of life, now holds the keys of death and hades (Revelation 1:18). For more on The Most Significant People, Places, and Events of the Bible, watch the 30 second video trailer here.