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Sunday School

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BACKGROUND FOR THE LESSON. After Jesus was crucified, Joseph of Arimathaea, a disciple of Jesus and also a member of the Sanhedrin council, had obtained Jesus’ body with Pilate’s consent, wrapped it in linen, and placed it in his own tomb (see Matthew 27:57-60; Luke 23:50-53). Joseph received help from Nicodemus, who brought spices to preserve Jesus’ body (see John 19:39-40). A large stone was also rolled in front of the tomb (see Matthew 27:60). All of this had to be done quickly because “that day was the preparation and the Sabbath drew on” (see Luke 23:54). Once the Sabbath began at sundown, no more preparation of the body or the tomb was allowed. This was not the regular weekly Saturday Sabbath, but a special Sabbath that John referred to as a “high day” (see John 19:31) since it was the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. It had special rules including complete rest, no work could be done, and no leaven could be used in the food or found in their homes (see Exodus 12:15-20). A number of Galilean women who had benefited from Jesus’ ministry and had ministered to Him watched from a distance when Jesus was crucified (see Luke 23:40). After seeing where Jesus’ body was laid, the women returned to their homes to prepare more spices and ointments and then rested the next day which was the beginning of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, also called a Sabbath Day (see Luke 23:55-56). As our lesson begins, it was now Sunday morning, three days after Jesus was crucified and buried.

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