Summary: A great Easter message.
We can only try to imagine the sorrow that gripped the hearts of the followers of Christ that weekend. Their Master had died. The miracle worker. The blind eye, deaf ear, lame limb healer. The Teacher of truth, the Prince of power, laid still in a cold, dark tomb. It shouldn’t have surprised them. It’s not like Jesus didn’t know it was coming. And He took many opportunities to tell them about His impending death. But He was also careful to tell them of His Resurrection. He was careful to tell them that, yes, they would see Him betrayed. Yes, they would see Him condemned to die. Yes, they would see Him beaten, bruised, and bloodied.
And they would see Him crucified. Early in His ministry he told them, “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so also must the Son of man be lifted up.” The bronze serpent was a symbol of judgment for sin, and was lifted on a pole, which is exactly how Jesus died. He warned them repeatedly that He would die, and would be in the heart of the earth. “Just as Jonah was in the belly of the whale 3 days and 3 nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth.” But just as the whale could not hold Jonah when God ordered His release, neither could death or the grave hold Jesus when God commanded His release!
He had told them, “I lay down my life. No man takes it from me. I have the power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again.” Jesus did not conceal His death, nor His Resurrection. But throughout that entire weekend, the disciples were fearful, the women were weeping, and the earth was sorrowful. *Even though Jesus had foretold His Resurrection, how many knows that there is a certain deep degree of disappointment, grief, and despair, where we don’t remember the promises of God very well? There are times when we don’t keep the promises of God in the forefront of our minds and hearts.
All of Jesus’ followers were having a hard time of that. And I was reading this verse, John 20:1, this week, and I came to the part where it says, “The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, while it was still dark…” That word “dark” stuck out to me. It was physically dark, but it was also emotionally dark. It was dark in many hearts because they forgot the promise. They forgot, or didn’t understand, the promise of Resurrection. That death would not be the end, but a brand new beginning. That His death would bring life, and that He would live again. Mary came to the tomb early in the day, when it was still dark. *But the darkness in the physical realm was no match for the blackness which had invaded her soul, her heart, her mind.
And we get like that. We have those periods of darkness, don’t we? We have those “dark nights of the soul,” when things seem so bleak, so disappointing, so discouraging, that we lose our focus, and lose our perspective, and we lose sight of the promises of God. Our remembrance of the promise is crowded out by the overwhelming sense of dark, dismal disappointment. But with the literal Resurrection of Jesus from the dead comes a living hope for us. The hope is that, though things may be black, it may still be dark, but that doesn’t mean that God is not at work. It doesn’t mean that He is not right now raising up what we’ve had to bury.