Faith Lessons By Ray Vander Laan: Roll Away the Stone

No one knows exactly where Jesus was buried, but if the Garden Tomb is not that place, it’s very much like the genuine tomb.

Jesus’ death fulfills a promise God made to Abraham thousands of years earlier, as part of the blood oath God made with Abraham.

(Mat 27:45-46)  From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. 46 About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” — which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

RVL paraphrases: “My God, my God, why have you left me all alone?”

At 3:00 in the afternoon, every day, the afternoon sacrifice was made at the temple. The shofar was blown, and everyone knew that at that moment, the lamb died for the world. This had happened for centuries, perhaps back to the time of Moses. At the same time, Jesus declared, “It is finished,” and died.

The Jews would not allow unrelated people to share a tomb. A tomb was very expensive and used for many generations. When Joseph of Arimethea alolwed Jesus to be buried in his tomb, he’d given it away, never to be used by his family again.

(Mat 28:1-6)  After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. 2 There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4 The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. 5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.

The stone was rolled away, not to let Jesus out, but to let the disciples in. No stone and no soldiers could trap Jesus in his resurrection body, but it was essential that people could see that Jesus had risen.

RVL: We must have the vision to look into the grave and see that Jesus is not there beyond a shadow of a doubt. He is alive!

RVL: Our mission is thus to “roll away the stone” so that unbelievers can see that the tomb is empty.

RVL: We often live as though Jesus were still buried, and his power isn’t real. We have to come to tomb and see that his power is real and available for me.

When a couple was to be married, the fathers would negotiate the bride price. Once the bargain was struck, the groom would offer a cup of wine to his bride to be — declaring his love and pledging his life. She could either accept it or not. If she accepted the cup, she accepted the offer and pledged her love and life to him.

The Passover meal has four cups of wine. The third cup is the cup of redemption (or salvation). The host says a prayer and then passes the cup. “Blessed are you, oh God, king of the universe, creator of this fruit of the vine. He then declared this cup the blood of the new covenant — a new promise, in essence offering a pledge of his life.

When we take communion, God is declaring his love to us, and when we take the cup, we are returning his offer — promising our love and lives to God.

The bride-price paid by Jesus was high — his very life. It was so high that he asked God to let this “cup” pass from him.

The Lord’s Supper is a meal with God after a fellowship offering — it’s eating a meal with God.

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About Jay F Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink. My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.
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