Sabbath School Today
With the 1888 Message Dynamic
The Book of Matthew
Lesson 13. Crucified and Risen
Jesus did no work on that last Sabbath as He lay in Joseph's new tomb. Now He rested from His long, hard work, as Savior of the world. It had been an extremely busy week.
The anointing at Bethany; the ride on a donkey into Jerusalem at the beginning of this busy last week; meeting the contentions of the Jewish leaders who opposed Him; preaching His sermon on last-day events of Matthew 24; His last meeting with His disciples when He organized the Lord's Supper on Thursday night; the agony in the Garden of Gethsemane when He nearly died and would have had not an angel come to strengthen Him to endure more suffering; His disappointment at His disciples sleeping through His period of agony; the betrayal by Judas and the cruel arrest by the police; the forced march to the high priest's house, then the all-night (illegal) trial when He was mocked, spat upon, beaten, ridiculed and despised; the terrible sorrow at hearing Peter deny Him three times with cursing and swearing; the trial before Pilate; the forced march again to Herod, and his sneering contempt that Jesus had to endure; the march back to Pilate; having to listen to the people shout "Crucify Him! Crucify Him!"; the last visit with Pilate when the governor almost yielded to his wife's pleading not to condemn Jesus; the sentence of death; the mocking of the soldiers; the crown of thorns on His head; the jeering of the mob; being forsaken by all of His disciples; the forced march this time to the hill called Calvary when they forced Him to carry His heavy cross; His fainting beneath the burden; hearing the women weep and wail because of Him and His last sermon to them when He said, "Weep not for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children!" (Luke 23:27-31); the actual crucifixion with its physical pain; the exertion of His soul to say words to the penitent thief, "Thou shalt be with Me in paradise!"; the taunting of the priests and rulers and the cruel crowd as He hung on His cross in pain and shame; the terror of the great darkness that came at noon that Friday when He cried from his broken heart, "My God! My God! Why hast Thou forsaken Me?"; His refusal to taste the intoxicating drink they offered Him to help to deaden His pain; His mental agony as He fought in His mind against despair (such a struggle would exhaust anyone!); His choice with His last ounce of strength to believe that His Father would not abandon Him, that His sacrifice would be accepted, that--yes! He had saved the world!
And then He bowed His head and prayed, "Father, into Thy hands I commend My Spirit," and He died.
He was tired, oh, so tired! But He had finished His hard week of work and now He was resting in the tomb on the holy Sabbath day.
The 1888 message shows us the special kind of death which Jesus, the Son of God, died (Gal. 2:20). He "tasted death for every man" (Heb. 2:9), not the ordinary kind of death which we call "sleep." No, Jesus did not "go to sleep for our sins," He died for our sins! He died the equivalent of what the Bible calls "the second death," the real thing (Rev. 2:11). He went all the way to hell in order to find us and to save us. Since the world began, He is the only person who has ever truly died; all the others have gone to sleep!
On the cross Christ felt the horror of eternal separation from the Father. This was due to infinite guilt, but not the self-righteous, self-justifying pain of a sinless person who feels his innocence; it was the total self-condemnation felt by One who was "made to be sin for us, who knew no sin" (2 Cor. 5:21). The "us" is the entire human race. Combine the guilt of all the sin of the world: that is what He bore "in His own body," in His nervous system, in His soul, feeling as if the guilt were His own (1 Peter 2:24). He died for the human race and He died as the human race, for He became our second Adam. In dying the equivalent of our second death, He delivered the human race from that death ("perish," John 3:16).
One need only ask two questions: "What is the punishment for sin?" and the answer has to be, "death" (Rom. 6:23; Eze. 18:4; Gen. 2:17; Rev. 2:11; 20:14). The first death, which the Bible calls "sleep," can never be the punishment for sin. The Bible does not say that "Christ went to sleep for our sins," but "Christ died for our sins" (1 Cor. 15:3). "Did He suffer the true punishment for our sin?" The answer had better be "yes," or we are lost for eternity. Thus Christ died every man's second death (Heb. 2:9).
But how then could He be resurrected the third day? The second death is not the mere degrees of heat and physical pain of the lake of fire (Rev. 20:14). On the cross, Christ hardly felt the physical pain, so terrible was His spiritual anguish, being "made ... sin for us."  Likewise, the lost will hardly feel the physical pain, so great will be the spiritual anguish sensed because of their true guilt--which now at last they fully realize. The anguish of despair which Jesus endured on the cross was itself the precise experience the lost will have at last--the second death (Rev. 2:11). Isaiah describes it clearly: "He poured out His soul unto death." "Therefore" the Father honors Him supremely, to "divide Him a portion with the great." "He shall see the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied" (Isa. 53:11, 12).
It had to be that "God raised [Him] up, having loosed the pains of death; because it was not possible that He should be [held by] it" (Acts 2:24). Those were not the "pains" of mere sleep! Not only did He make the total commitment of His "soul" unto eternal death--not seeing "through the portals of the tomb,"  He actually did experience the total agony of the real second death. Those who deny this do not understand why His agape made it "not possible" that He should be held in the tomb. Christ's resurrection is an eternal principle. All who choose to be "crucified with Christ," motivated by this agape of Christ to die with Him the second death, says Paul, cannot "possibly" be held in its grasp: "If we have been planted [united] together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection" (Rom. 6:5).
But that awful second death could not hold Him. Satan wanted to keep Him a captive there, but it was impossible. The Son of God had lived and died triumphant over sin and Satan; He had "condemned sin in the flesh," our fallen, sinful flesh, and had gained the victory for the entire human race; He had single-handedly wrested from Satan the control and rulership of this world. He had conquered sin. Now He must be resurrected as triumphant over death as well!
The voice of the Father called, "Jesus! Come forth from that prison house of death!" It was so real!
He carefully folded the grave-clothes they had wrapped about Him, and laid them down neatly. Then He stepped out of the dark tomb into the everlasting light of His resurrection life.
Yes, in Him you and I are resurrected also. "He that hath the Son hath eternal life," says John (1 John 5:11, 12). Jesus had said, "Because I live, ye shall live also" (John 14:19).
That is why when Jesus was resurrected, you were resurrected "also"! Now, be happy forever; and demonstrate your thankfulness by following Him "whithersoever He goeth" (Rev. 14:4).
--Paul E. Penno
 Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 753.
Pastor Paul Penno's video of this lesson is on the Internet at:
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