Humble Hero


Jesus Rests in Joseph’s Tomb

At last the long day of shame and torture was over. As the setting sun ushered in the Sabbath, the Son of God rested in Joseph’s tomb, His work completed. HH 354.1

In the beginning, the Father and the Son had rested on the Sabbath after their work of Creation. See Genesis 2:1. All heavenly beings rejoiced in looking at the glorious scene. Now Jesus rested from the work of redemption, and though there was grief among those who loved Him on earth, there was joy in heaven. God and angels saw a redeemed race that, having conquered sin, could never fall—this was the result to flow from Christ’s completed work. HH 354.2

When there will be a “restoration of all things” (Acts 3:21), the creation Sabbath, the day on which Jesus lay at rest in Joseph’s tomb, will still be a day of rest and rejoicing. “From one Sabbath to another” (Isaiah 66:23) the nations of the saved will bow in joyful worship to God and the Lamb. HH 354.3

The closing events of the Crucifixion day saw a new witness to Christ’s divinity. When the Savior had uttered His dying cry, another voice spoke up, saying, “Truly this was the Son of God!” Matthew 27:54. HH 354.4

These words came in no whispered tones. Who had spoken? It was the centurion, the Roman soldier. The divine patience of the Savior, His sudden death, the cry of victory on His lips, had impressed this heathen. In the broken body hanging on the cross, the centurion recognized the Son of God. On the very day of the Redeemer’s death, three men had declared their faith—the one who commanded the Roman guard, the one who carried Jesus’ cross, and the one who died by His side. HH 354.5

As evening approached, an unearthly stillness hung over Calvary. Many had flocked to the crucifixion from curiosity, not from hatred toward Christ. Still, they looked on Christ as a criminal. Under unnatural excitement they had united in shouting abuse against Him. But when the earth was wrapped in blackness, they felt guilty of a great wrong. When the darkness lifted, they made their way home in solemn silence, convinced that the charges of the priests were false, that Jesus was no pretender. A few weeks later, when Peter preached on the day of Pentecost, they were among the thousands who became converts to Christ. HH 354.6

But the Jewish leaders were unchanged; their hatred had not subsided. The darkness at the Crucifixion was not more dense than the darkness that still shrouded their minds. Inanimate nature had known Christ and borne witness to His divinity. But the priests and rulers of Israel did not recognize the Son of God. They had put Christ to death, but even in the hour of their apparent triumph, doubts troubled them. What would take place next? They had heard the cry, “It is finished!” John 19:30. They had felt the mighty earthquake, and they were uneasy. They dreaded the dead Christ far more than they had feared the living Christ. They dreaded any further attention to the events surrounding His crucifixion. They would not allow His body to remain on the cross during the Sabbath for any reason. It would violate the Sabbath’s sanctity for the bodies to hang on the cross. So, using this as an excuse, leading Jews requested Pilate to speed up the death of the victims and to remove their bodies before the sun set. HH 354.7

Pilate agreed, and the soldiers broke the legs of the two thieves to hurry their death. But Jesus was already dead. The coarse soldiers, softened by what they had heard and seen of Christ, were restrained from breaking His legs. This fulfilled the law of the Passover, “‘They shall leave none of it until morning, nor break one of its bones.’” Numbers 9:12. HH 355.1

The priests and rulers were amazed to find that Christ was dead. It was unheard of for anyone to die within six hours of crucifixion. The priests wanted to make sure of Jesus’ death, and at their suggestion a soldier thrust a spear into the Savior’s side. From the wound flowed two distinct streams, one of blood, the other of water. HH 355.2

John states, “One of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true. ... These things were done that the Scripture should be fulfilled, ‘Not one of His bones shall be broken.’ And again another Scripture says, ‘They shall look on Him whom they pierced.’” John 19:34-37. HH 355.3

After the Resurrection, the priests circulated the report that Christ did not die on the cross, that He merely fainted and later revived. The action of the Roman soldiers proves that He was already dead. If His life had not been already extinct, this wound would have caused instant death. HH 355.4

But it was not the spear thrust nor the pain of the cross that caused the death of Jesus. That cry, uttered “with a loud voice” (Matthew 27:50; Luke 23:46) at the moment of death, and the stream of blood and water declared that He died of a broken heart—broken by mental anguish, killed by the sin of the world. HH 355.5