Malankara World

Passion Week (Holy Week)


by Sindhu George

Jesus was on the cross, dying as a sacrifice for our sin - for all time. During the last three hours that He was on the cross, the world became dark. The sun should have been shining brightly, according to earthly standards, but Scripture says that from the sixth hour (noon) until the ninth hour (3pm) darkness came over all of the land. This is the time that Jesus became sin - taking on the sin of the world as a sacrifice for us. God the Father and God the Holy Spirit turned away from the Son as He carried our sins. Darkness reigned. Earlier, when the chief priests, the officers of the temple guard, and the elders came to arrest him, Jesus told them, "But this is your hour -- when darkness reigns." Luke 22:53

A very important curtain tore from top to bottom. This curtain hung in the temple separating the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place. The priests were probably surprised since they would have been conducting the Jewish evening sacrifice when this happened. Previously, according to the law, only the high priest could enter the Most Holy Place once a year to make sacrifices to God for the sins of the people. Now the Most Holy Place stood open, in full view. The priests serving that day may not have been aware, but they had just been downsized. Their job was now obsolete. God tore that curtain from top to bottom, showing the way of access into His presence was no longer restricted. It was now open to all of those who put their faith in their new High Priest, Jesus Christ. Hebrews 4:16 tells us to draw near to the throne of grace with confidence so that we may find mercy and grace in the time of need. Jesus' own sacrifice opened the way.

All of creation was affected by Jesus' death. It caused an earthquake. The earth shook and rocks split. Only in the book of Matthew are we told that tombs broke open and the bodies of many righteous people were raised to life and went into Jerusalem where they were seen and recognized by family and friends. Commentators differ in opinion about when this occurred. Some believe that this happened right away, while others say that they were resurrected only after Jesus' resurrection. The timing isn't important to me. I believe that they were a token - the First Fruits of the bodily resurrection we will all experience when Jesus returns. They show that death was defeated that day when Jesus became the perfect sacrifice to pay the price for all sin, for all time.

Read about these events in:

Matthew 27:45-55
Mark 15:38
Luke 23:44-46

See Also:

Making Sense of the Unlikely Easter Story
When you know the context of the New Testament texts—the world and cultures in and to which these stories were written—you quickly realize that sometimes the incongruities and unusual aspects in the story testify to their historical veracity and authenticity.

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