Anticipating Something More (40 Days of Easter Truth #39)
Easter Focus Passage: John 19:38-42
38 Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jewish leaders. With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away.
39 He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds.
40 Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs.
41 At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid.
42 Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.
Easter Truth – DAY THIRTY-NINE:
I’ve often wondered what happened on the day after Good Friday. Of course, we know Jesus lay in the tomb on this day. But after all the events of the previous day, it is hard not to think of the questions that may have run through the minds of Mary, John, and even the other disciples. For these people who had followed Jesus all the way to the cross, I am sure they felt deep down in the recesses of their soul, that this could not be it, that this could not be the end.
Jesus lay in a tomb, sealed by an enormous stone that scholars say weighed over a ton. It was a dark day, a cold day, and a sad day. Jesus was dead. The sinless, perfect Son of God was buried. Certainly, all of hell thought He was over and done with for good. But Jesus was in that tomb, sealed between the darkness of the cold walls, wrapped in clean linen from head to foot, preparing to make the greatest comeback of His life.
We have to realize that the worst almost always comes before the best. Saturday had to come before Sunday. The darkness had to cast a eery feeling before the light could shine through. Saturday wasn’t a dead day. God Himself was setting things in motion for Jesus to be resurrected and for us to have the hope of experiencing new life.
Oftentimes, we may feel as though darkness is all around us. When things are bad enough, they seem to get even worse. When the pathway of our journey is dimly lit and we feel like there is no more hope, at that point, we must begin to anticipate something more. We must begin to expect that something great is about to happen. The people who believed in Jesus had hope on the inside that something absolutely wonderful and amazing was about to happen. That is why John chapter 20 begins with Mary Magdalene going to the tomb. If Jesus was dead and buried like every other normal person then there would have been no need for Mary Magdalene to go back to the tomb. But Jesus wasn’t just any normal person. He was the Son of the Living God and Mary Magdalene expected something good to happen.
Don’t give up on the dark days in your life. Don’t quit when things get tough, and when the end really does seem like the end. If you keep believing and you keep expecting and you keep anticipating, darkness always turns to light. Valleys always turn into mountains. Rough waters turn into calm sea, the bad turns into good, and mourning turns into dancing. We must learn to anticipate something more than our current situation. Expect something better. Where you are now is preparing you for where you need to go. Yes, Jesus was in the tomb, but while He was in the tomb, He was preparing for the Resurrection.
Lord, the story of Your death, burial, and resurrection is an example of how the worst often precedes the best, how bad often comes before good, and how hope makes itself evident in deep moments of despair. Deliver us from giving up when things seem dark and there is no light to guide us in the tunnel. Help us to remember that before Sunday, there was Saturday. Let our expectation rise with the knowledge that You are faithful and keep Your promises. In Jesus’ name. Amen.