The Story of Jesus


After the crucifixion a rich man named Joseph came boldly to Pilate and asked to take the body of Jesus and bury it. Joseph loved Jesus. With Pilate's permission Joseph and Nicodemus went to Calvary, took Jesus' body down from the cross, and wrapped it in fine linen with the sweet spices and perfumes that Nicodemus had brought. Then they laid it in a new grave 

that Joseph had bought for himself. The grave was cut out of a large rock and opened into a garden.

Jesus' enemies were afraid that his grave might be disturbed by his friends. Hurrying to Pilate they said, "Sir, we remember that Jesus said, 'After three days I will rise again.' Order the grave made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come at night, steal him away, and say to the people, 'He is risen from the dead.' "

Pilate answered, "You have a guard. Go and make the grave as secure as you can."

They went and made the grave sure by sealing the stone and setting a guard.

The women who had watched Joseph and Nicodemus lay Jesus' body away longed to show their love for him. After sunset the next day, when the Sabbath was ended, the women prepared sweet perfumes and planned to go early in the morning to anoint the body of Jesus. But the eleven sorrowing disciples hid themselves. They had forgotten that Jesus had said he would rise again on the third day. Nothing seemed left for them now.

The hours dragged slowly for the Roman soldiers who guarded Jesus' grave. No one had come. Perhaps they laughed at the Jews for being afraid.

As dawn came the ground began to tremble. Another earthquake had come. The frightened soldiers saw a mighty angel come down, roll the stone from the grave and sit on it. The angel's face was like lightning, and his garments were as white as snow. The soldiers fell to the ground, trembling and helpless, and lay there as if they were dead. As soon as they were able they fled into the city to report to Jesus' enemies.

When the women came to the garden, they found the grave empty. At first they did not see the angel, and they wondered who had stolen the body of their Lord. Mary Magdalene ran to tell Peter and John that Jesus' body had been taken away.

After Mary had gone, the other women saw an angel in the tomb. They were afraid and bowed themselves to the ground.

The angel said, "Do not be afraid. Why are you seeking the living among the dead? Jesus is not here; he is risen as he said. Go quickly and tell his disciples and Peter that he is alive and will meet them in Galilee."

The women ran from the place, filled with joy, yet trembling with excitement and fear. The good news seemed too wonderful to be true. Still, they believed and hurried to tell the disciples and other friends.

The disciples could not believe the glad message. Peter and John ran to see for themselves. When they came to the tomb, they found no one, but they saw the grave clothes that Joseph had wrapped around Jesus' body. Peter and John were sure now that Jesus was alive once more. Mary Magdalene had not stayed in the garden long enough to hear the angel's message. Now she returned, longing to find where her Lord had been taken. Entering the garden again, she stood by the empty grave and wept. Then she stooped down, looked into the grave, and saw two angels. One was sitting at the head and another at the foot where Jesus' body had been.

They said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?"

She replied, "Because they have taken away my Lord and I do not know where they have laid him." Then turning around she saw Jesus himself standing near. But tears blinded her eyes, and she did not know him.

He, too, asked, "Why do you weep?"

Supposing him to be the gardener, she said, "Sir, if you have carried away my Lord, tell me where you have laid him."

Then Jesus said, "Mary!" and she knew his voice. What glad joy filled Mary's heart! She fell at his feet and cried, "Master!"

Jesus said, "Go at once and tell my friends that I will ascend to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God."

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