Luke 23:44-45 (NIV)
44 It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour,
45 for the sun stopped shining…
On verses 44-45: It is only fitting that when Jesus, the light of the world, was fading, the sun also stopped shining and darkness came over the entire land.
Luke 23:45b (NIV)
45 …And the curtain of the temple was torn in two.
On verse 45b: In the temple in Jerusalem, there was a curtain that separated the most holy part of the temple, called the Most Holy Place, from the rest of the temple. The Most Holy Place was regarded as the place where God’s presence resided. Only the high priest could enter that Most Holy Place and no more frequently than once a year. Yet when Jesus died, the curtain separating the Most Holy Place from the rest of the temple was torn in two. This signified that because of Jesus’ death we now have full access to God’s most holy presence.
Luke 23:46 (NIV)
46 Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.
On verse 46: Jesus’ very last words were a conversation with his Father, committing his spirit to Him and trusting Him to the very end. I bet the heart of God the Father was never more wrenched, never more devastated, never more touched, and never more proud of His Son than on this day when His Son died.
Luke 23:47-53 (NIV)
47 The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.”
48 When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away.
49 But all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.
50 Now there was a man named Joseph, a member of the Council, a good and upright man,
51 who had not consented to their decision and action. He came from the Judean town of Arimathea and he was waiting for the kingdom of God.
52 Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body.
53 Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock, one in which no one had yet been laid.
On verses 47-53: In these verses we see the way different people responded to the death of Jesus. Somehow after watching the way Jesus died, a centurion, one of the soldiers who oversaw Jesus’ execution, concludes, “Surely this was a righteous man.” (v47) Spectators who were just curious to see Jesus executed basically just walked away (v48). Those who loved Jesus the most stood at a distance, continuing to watch (v49). Then there’s Joseph of Arimathea who takes action, asks Pilate for Jesus’ body, takes it down, wraps it in linen cloth and places it in an empty tomb (v50-53).
What can we learn from this? It’s one thing to see and acknowledge Jesus’ death, but true life change happens when we do what Joseph of Arimathea did, when we do something with Jesus on the cross. At the risk of sounding overly allegorical, I find that the dark, empty tomb in which Joseph placed Jesus’ body is a good picture of our hearts, which too can be very dark and empty. When we receive Jesus into our dark, empty hearts, we give God room to do something miraculous that only He can do.
Luke 23:54-56 (NIV)
54 It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin.
55 The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it.
56 Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.
On verses 54-56: Jesus’ female followers from Galilee saw the tomb where Jesus’ body was laid. They wanted to go back to his tomb to anoint his body with spices and perfumes, but in accordance with Jewish custom they waited for the Sabbath day to pass before going. Little did they expect that they were about to see the greatest miracle in history.
Lord Jesus, by Your death You made real life for us possible. Because of You the curtain is torn and now we have full access to life and God’s presence forever. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. Come and fill every empty space in my heart and life. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!