From Heaven With Love


Chapter 80—Jesus Rests in Joseph's Tomb

At last the long day of shame and torture was ended. As the setting sun ushered in the Sabbath, the Son of God rested in Joseph's tomb, His work completed. HLv 512.1

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 contemplation of 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, the result to flow from Christ's completed work. HLv 512.2

When there shall be a “restitution 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 shall bow in joyful worship to God and the Lamb. HLv 512.3

In the closing events of the crucifixion day, new witness was borne to Christ's divinity. When the Saviour's dying cry had been uttered, another voice was heard, saying, “Truly this was the Son of God.” Matthew 27:54. HLv 512.4

These words were said in no whispered tones. Who had spoken? It was the centurion, the Roman soldier. The divine patience of the Saviour, 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—he who commanded the Roman guard, he who bore His cross, and he who died at His side. HLv 512.5

As evening drew on, 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 malefactor. Under unnatural excitement they had united in railing against Him. But when the earth was wrapped in blackness, they felt guilty of a great wrong. When it was 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. HLv 513.1

But the Jewish leaders were unchanged; their hatred had not abated. The darkness at the crucifixion was not more dense than that which still enveloped their minds. Inanimate nature had known Christ and borne witness to His divinity. But the priests and rulers of Israel knew not the Son of God. They had put Christ to death; but even in the hour of their apparent triumph, they were harassed with doubts. What would next take place? 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 attending His crucifixion. Not on any account would they have His body remain on the cross during the Sabbath. It would be a violation of its sanctity for the bodies to hang on the cross. So, using this as a pretext, leading Jews requested Pilate that the death of the victims might be hastened, and their bodies be removed before the setting of the sun. HLv 513.2

His consent obtained, the legs of the two thieves were broken to hasten their death; but Jesus was already dead. The rude soldiers, softened by what they had heard and seen of Christ, were restrained from breaking His limbs. Thus was fulfilled the law of the Passover, “They shall leave none of it until the morning, nor break any bone of it.” Numbers 9:12. HLv 513.3

The priests and rulers were amazed to find that Christ was dead. It was unheard of for one to die within six hours of crucifixion. The priests wished to make sure of the death of Jesus, and at their suggestion a soldier thrust a spear into the Saviour's side. From the wound flowed two distinct streams, one of blood, the other of water. HLv 514.1

John states: “One of the soldiers with a spear pierced His side, and forthwith there came out blood and water. And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true... . These things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of Him shall not be broken. And again another scripture saith, They shall look on Him whom they pierced.” John 19:34-37. HLv 514.2

After the resurrection the priests circulated the report that Christ did not die on the cross, that He merely fainted and was afterward revived. The action of the Roman soldiers proves that He was already dead. Had not life been already extinct, this wound would have caused instant death. HLv 514.3

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, slain by the sin of the world. HLv 514.4