Preparing For Eternity The Story of Jesus




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The Story of Jesus



Chapter 24

Death of Christ

IN yielding up His precious life, Christ was not upheld by triumphant joy. His heart was rent with anguish and oppressed with gloom. But it was not the fear or the pain of death that caused His suffering. It was the crushing weight of the sin of the world, a sense of separation from His Father's love. This was what broke the Saviour's heart, and brought His death so soon.

Christ felt the woe that sinners will feel when they awake to realize the burden of their guilt, to know that they have forever separated themselves from the joy and peace of Heaven.

Angels beheld with amazement the agony of despair borne by the Son of God. His anguish of mind was so intense that the pain of the cross was hardly felt.

Nature itself was in sympathy with the scene. The sun shone clearly until midday, when suddenly it seemed to be blotted out. All about the cross was darkness as deep as the blackest midnight. This supernatural darkness lasted fully three hours.

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A nameless terror took possession of the multitude. The cursing and reviling ceased. Men, women, and children fell upon the earth in abject terror.

Lightnings occasionally flashed forth from the cloud, and revealed the cross and the crucified Redeemer. All thought that their time of retribution had come.

At the ninth hour the darkness lifted from the people, but still wrapped the Saviour as with a mantle. The lightnings seemed to be hurled at Him as He hung upon the cross. It was then that He sent up the despairing cry:

"My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?"

In the meantime the darkness had settled over Jerusalem and the plains of Judea. As all eyes were turned in the direction of the fated city, they saw the fierce lightnings of God's wrath directed toward it.

Suddenly the gloom was lifted from the cross, and in clear, trumpet like tones, that seemed to resound throughout creation, Jesus cried:

"It is finished." John 19:30. "Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit." Luke 23:46.

A light encircled the cross, and the face of the Saviour shone with a glory like the sun. He then bowed His head upon His breast and died.

The multitude about the cross stood paralyzed, and with bated breath gazed upon the Saviour. Again darkness settled upon the earth, and a hoarse rumbling like heavy thunder was heard. This was accompanied with a violent earthquake.

The people were shaken into heaps by the earthquake. The wildest confusion and terror ensued. In the surrounding mountains, rocks were rent asunder, and went crashing

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down into the plains below. Tombs were broken open, and many of the dead were cast out. Creation seemed to be breaking into atoms. Priests, rulers, soldiers, and people, mute with terror, were lying prostrate upon the ground.

At the time of the death of Christ, some of the priests were ministering in the temple at Jerusalem. They felt the shock of the earthquake, and at the same moment the vail of the temple, which separated the holy from the most holy place was rent in twain from top to bottom by the same bloodless hand that wrote the words of doom upon the walls of Belshazzar's palace. The most holy place of the earthly sanctuary was no longer sacred. Never would the presence of God again overshadow that mercy seat. Never would the acceptance or displeasure of God be manifested by the light or shadow in the precious stones in the breastplate of the high priest.

Henceforth the blood of the offerings in the temple was of no value. The Lamb of God, in dying, had become the sacrifice for the sins of the world.

When Christ died upon the cross of Calvary, the new and living way was thrown open to Jew and Gentile alike.

Angels rejoiced as the Saviour cried, "It is finished!" The great plan of redemption was to be carried out. Through a life of obedience, the sons of Adam might be exalted finally to the presence of God.

Satan was defeated, and knew that his kingdom was lost.

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