We’re at the final chapters of Luke’s Gospel. Jesus Christ is on the cross, giving His life for our redemption.
It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.
Luke 23:44-46 NIV
The power that was released because of Christ’s obedience is beyond comprehension. You need to realize that the curtain in the Temple was not a mere piece of cloth. It was made of leather panels stitched together. It was tested by placing it between two teams of oxen. If they couldn’t tear it, then it was ready for the Temple.
In the same way, the power of God is released in us when we walk in obedience to the Holy Spirit. There may be trials along the way. There may even be people who ridicule and tell us we’re wrong to trust God. But, God’s power shines brightest when we’re at our weakest.
The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.” When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away. But all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.
Luke 23:47-49 NIV
This wasn’t something that was done in secret. There were many people surrounding the cross. They watched as He gave His life.
Many of these people had placed their hopes in Christ. Now that dream was gone.
Maybe they were all praying for a miracle as they watched everything taking place. They could have hoped that at the last moment, angels would swoop down and take Jesus off the cross. They watched and waited, but the Messiah stayed on the cross.
Now it was over. There was nothing left to do but to take care of the body. A member of the Sanhedrin stepped up and came out of the shadows.
Now there was a man named Joseph, a member of the Council, a good and upright man, who had not consented to their decision and action. He came from the Judean town of Arimathea and he was waiting for the kingdom of God. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body. Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock, one in which no one had yet been laid. It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin.
Luke 23:50-54 NIV
Joseph was a man who was highly respected. He could have remained as a secret follower of Christ. Instead, he summoned his inner strength, and received the body of Jesus. Joseph did what he could to prepare the body for burial. He even gave the Lord his own tomb that had never been used.
The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it. Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.
Luke 23:55-56 NIV
Once the body was laid to rest, the tomb was sealed. It was finished.
At least that’s what everybody thought. What went through their minds as they tried to sleep that night? It seemed like God had failed them.
It’s like us sometimes. We give God a time limit. We think He needs to answer us by this time. Then, when nothing happens, we get upset at God.
“Lord, I trusted You. Why didn’t You answer my prayer?”
What we miss, sometimes, is that God isn’t bound by our limits and weaknesses. He can bring about His plan even after we think it’s too late.
The people of Scripture thought the same way as us. Jesus is dead and buried in the ground. There’s no way that He can save Israel now.
Understand this. God always has a bigger plan than we can see. It’s never too late for the Lord to turn things around. Put your trust in Him and never waver in your faith.
We know how the story will finish!
Question: When has God answered your prayer even when you thought it was too late?
© 2023 Nick Zaccardi