Summary: With Christ crucified and laid in a tomb everything was dark and appeared hopeless. It’s always darkest before the dawn.
CHRIST’S FINAL WEEK: DARKNESS BEFORE THE DAWNING
“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.”
Disclaimer: Source material for this sermon has been gleaned from many different sources. I have attempted to acknowledge these sources whenever possible.
Introduction: The events of the week had unfolded: Mary anointing the feet of Christ, the Triumphal Entry, Christ cleansing of the Temple, confrontation with the religious leaders, the betrayal pact of Judas and the Pharisees, Christ’s observance of the Passover Seder, the Garden of Gethsemane, the betrayal kiss, Jesus’ arrest, the crucifixion of the Son of God, the tomb. While the demons danced and the devil laughed, the disciples sat in the deepest depths of despair. Mary, the mother of Jesus mourned. All nature shuddered at the death of the Creator. Sadness and weeping as the world lay in darkness. It always appears darkest before the dawn.
I. Weeping may endure for a night - Sadness came because
A. Dreams appeared to be shattered.
1. The disciples had hoped that Christ was the long expected Messiah. In their own words they “were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel.” – Luke 24:13
2. They had looked forward to His setting up the kingdom and their participation in the governing of that kingdom.
3. Remember how the Mother of James and John came in Matthew 20:21 and said to Christ, “Grant that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on the left, in Your kingdom.”
4. They had such dreams and hopes.
5. But now their dreams appeared to have gone up in smoke. The One whom they were following lay dead in sealed tomb. They were desponded, disappointed, depressed and in despair.
6. Some of you have seen the death of your dreams. You have watched as life has altered or shattered the plans and dreams you once held so dear. Like the disciples you are dejected and dismayed by dreams that have been devastated.
7. When dreams are shattered, hope dies and when there is no hope one begins to question “what is the value of life?”
B. Separation and loneliness looked as if it was eternal.
1. Mary’s Son’s lifeless body lay in a cold garden tomb. A great stone had been placed across the entrance to the tomb pointing out the separation of the living from the dead. The coldness of death looked as if the devil had won and that she would be separated from the One who the angel told Mary was to be called Immanuel for eternity.
2. Accompanying this separation was the feeling of loneliness, the kind of loneliness that is brought on by despair, the loneliness that you feel although you may be in the midst of a crowd.
3. You can sense the same mournful feelings of loneliness and separation are seen when Mary Magdalene comes to the tomb of Christ and the angels ask her in John 20:13 “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.”
4. Just as some of you have seen your dreams shattered, many of you have experienced or are experiencing the sadness of separation, loneliness and alienation. Some through death of a loved one. Some through the death of a marriage. Some through broken friendships. Some through broken health.
5. You feel that no one understands what you are going through. You feel that you must carry the load all yourself. You may even feel angry and question why you are going through this dark valley.
C. Promises had been forgotten
1. Jesus Christ had given to His followers a number of precious promises concerning the events related to His death, promises they had forgotten. They became desponded because they had forgotten what He had said.
2. He said He would rise again - Luke 18:31 – 33 Then He took the twelve aside and said to them, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man will be accomplished. For He will be delivered to the Gentiles and will be mocked and insulted and spit upon. They will scourge Him and kill Him. And the third day He will rise again.”
3. He said when He would rise again - Matthew 12:38 – 40 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered, saying, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.” But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.