Lesson 31: After Three

Suffered under Pontius Pilate, Was crucified, dead, and buried.

Our Lord died at three on Good Friday afternoon (St. Matthew 27, 45 to 50: “ninth hour” means nine hours after six in the morning, when people then said each day began). He died of his own free will (St. John 19, 30, “gave up his life”); as he had said that he would (St. John 10, 17 and 18).

At death soul and body are separated. The body dies, and is buried. The soul, which can never die, leaves it, and goes into life in the next world. The two whom I love more than any one else have died. When I go to the grave in which their bodies lie, to see if it is clean and tidy, and if the daffodils planted in its earth have blossomed, I know that they are not there under the ground; their real selves, their souls, never were and never could be “dead, and buried.” They are to-day as alive on the other side of death as ever they were on this side.

This was so with our Lord; as you would expect, since he came to share all our life. At three on that afternoon his soul left his crucified body, and went into the next world. (St. John 19, 38 to 42) tells us about the funeral. In the evening, before six o’clock, two men who were his friends climbed ladders resting against the arms of the cross, pulled out the nails, lowered his dead body to the ground. It was washed and “embalmed” (St. John 19, 40).

Then it was carried down Golgotha (the crucifixion-hill) to a nearby garden. There it was laidin a new tomb, which belonged to Joseph his friend and was cut out of the rock. The door of the tomb was a large heavy round stone, which moved in a groove made for it. When all possible had been done, his friends rolled the stone door shut.

The holy human body of Jesus, Saviour of the World, was dead and buried. In the tomb itlay, still, cold, lifeless, alone; through Friday night, through the next day and night (Holy Saturday), until an unknown moment early in the following morning (Easter Sunday).

Be sure to read (St. Matthew 27, 62 to 66): very important.