Christ was crucified. The Prince of life had been taken by wicked hands and slain. In his spotless purity he has been killed as a disturber of the peace. He was lying in Joseph’s new tomb. Christ descended into the grave as our sin-bearer, opening a grave for the sins of all who will accept him as their personal Saviour.
The night following the crucifixion was the darkest night the church had ever known. But the redemption price for a fallen world had been paid; the sacrifice for sin had been offered. All heaven was triumphant.
At the setting of the sun on the evening of the preparation day, trumpets sounded, signifying that the Sabbath had begun. The next day the courts of the temple were filled with worshipers. The high priest for Golgotha was there, splendidly robed in his sacerdotal garments. White-turbaned priests, full of busy activity, were preparing to perform their duties. The ceremonies of the Passover moved on with the usual routine. But the imposing dress of the high priest covered a heart that needed the molding of the Spirit of God. The ostentatious and ceremonious rites of the Jewish religion were mingled with selfishness, fraud, discontent, and unholy passions. The priests had chosen Barabbas, and Barabbas they would have as long as life should last. They had cried out against Christ. “Crucify him, crucify him.” “His blood be on us, and on our children.” The blood they had invoked upon themselves would indeed rest upon them. The characters they had chosen would forever be their characters. By their lives they contradicted the meaning of their ceremonies. Jesus never spurned the true penitent, but he hated hypocrisy cloaked by a garment of religion.
Some of the worshipers of the temple were not at rest as the blood of bulls and goats was offered for the sin of Israel. They were not conscious that type had met antitype, that an infinite sacrifice had been made for the sin of the world. But never before had the ritual service been witnessed with such conflicting feelings. The musical instruments and the voices of the singers were as loud and clear as usual. But a sense of strangeness pervaded everything. One after another inquired about the strange event that had taken place. Hitherto the most holy place had always been sacredly guarded from intrusion. Only once a year had it been entered, and then by the high priest. But now horror was seen on all countenances; for this apartment was open to all eyes. At the very moment when Christ had expired, the heavy veil of tapestry, made of pure linen and beautifully wrought with gold and scarlet and purple, had been rent from top to bottom. The place where Jehovah had met with the priest, to communicate his glory, the place which had been God’s sacred audience-chamber, lay open to every eye, no longer recognized by the Lord.
Many who at this time united in the services of the Passover, never took part in them again. Light was to shine into their hearts. The disciples were to communicate to them the knowledge that the Messiah had come.
According to their custom, the people brought their sick and suffering to the temple courts, inquiring, Who can tell us of Jesus of Nazareth, the Healer? Some had come from far to see and hear him who had healed the sick and raised the dead to life. With persistent earnestness they asked for him. They would not be turned away. But they were driven from the temple courts, and the people of Jerusalem could not fail to see the difference between this scene and the scenes of Christ’s life.
On every side was heard the cry, “We want Christ, the Healer!” A world without a Christ was blackness and darkness, not only to the disciples, but to the sick and suffering, to the priests and rulers. The Jewish leaders and even the Roman authorities found it harder to deal with a dead Christ than with a living Christ.
The people learned that Jesus had been put to death. Inquiries were made regarding his death. The particulars of his trial were kept as private as possible, but during the time when he was in the grave, his name was on thousands of lips, and the report of his mock trial and of the cruelty of the priests and rulers was circulated everywhere.
By men of intellect the priests were called upon to explain the prophecies concerning the Messiah, and while trying to frame some falsehood in reply, the priests became like men insane. Upon many minds rested the conviction that the Scriptures had been fulfilled.
Entire justice was done in the atonement. In the place of the sinner, the spotless Son of God received the penalty, and the sinner goes free as long as he receives and holds Christ as his personal Saviour. Though guilty, he is looked upon as innocent. Christ fulfilled every requirement demanded by justice. God’s character as a God of holiness, a God of goodness, compassion, and love combined, was revealed in his Son. In the cross of Christ, God gave the world a mighty pledge of his justice and love. “For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh; how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”
When Christ bowed his head and died, he bore the pillars of Satan’s kingdom with him to the earth. He vanquished Satan in the same nature over which in Eden Satan obtained the victory. The enemy was overcome by Christ in his human nature. The power of the Saviour’s Godhead was hidden. He overcame in human nature, relying upon God for power. This is the privilege of all. In proportion to our faith will be our victory.
— E.G. White, Youth’s Instructor, April 25, 1901