Laid In The Tomb
Years ago I visited Frances, in the Intensive Care unit and then a few days later conducted her funeral service. Her three kids, Gary Jr., Monica, and Michael, grew up in our church. Their mom was in her early sixties and they were looking forward to spending time with her as adults. Suddenly, she was gone.
Ten years later, Gary, their father, went to bed. He had finally stepped out of his railroad job into retirement and was enjoying the change. He never woke up.
Who can give comfort and hope?
In the Texas culture, where I live, the usual answer is “Jesus, of course.” Words like “I am the resurrection and the life” and “Let not your heart be troubled. You believe in God. Believe also in me” are heard so often at funerals that I’m concerned that they are taken only as sweet, religious talk –only words, not factual truth about life and death and destinations after death.
When a Jew visiting one of the synagogues in Antioch of Pisidia (located in what is now modern Turkey) was asked to speak, holidays like Good Friday and Easter were not on the calendar. Friday we listened as Paul reviewed Israel’s history from Egypt to King David, and then pointed out that Jesus was from David’s seed. Now let’s listen as he takes the story from John the Baptist to the crucifixion.
“From David’s seed, based upon the promise, God brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus. Before Jesus’ public introduction, John proclaimed the baptism of repentance to the people of Israel. As John was completing his mission, he said, ‘Who do you think I am? I am not the One you’re looking for. Look, after me there is One coming who I’m not even worthy to untie his sandals.’
Men, brothers, sons of Abraham, and those of you who reverence God, this message of salvation has been sent for us. For those living in Jerusalem and their rulers did not recognize this One though the voice of the prophets is read every Sabbath, yet in condemning Him they fulfilled the prophets’ words.
They didn’t find any grounds for condemning Him, yet they asked Pilate to execute Him. When they completed all that was written about Him, they took Him down from the cross and placed Him in the grave. Acts 13:23-29
What were the things written about the Messiah in the Jewish Scriptures? Carefully read Isaiah 52:13-53:12. It’s a fact that this entire passage was in the Jewish Scripture hundreds of years before Jesus was placed in the tomb. According to Isaiah’s prophecy of the Servant, how would the people evaluate his suffering? What was the true reason the Servant had to die, and did the Servant’s story end in the grave?
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