I find it interesting that the leading priests and Pharisees remembered that Jesus said, “After three days He will rise from the dead” (Matt 27:63 NLT). The leading priests and Pharisees went to great length to keep Jesus in the grave by having Pilate seal and guard Jesus’s tomb (27:65-66). They were afraid Jesus’s followers would steal His body and “tell everyone He was raised from the dead!” (27:64). [The allegation that Christ’s disciples stole his body thus holds the dubious honor of being the oldest alternative to faith in the risen Christ as a response to the fact of the empty tomb (Blomberg, Matthew, 1992, p. 424)].
While the disciples forgot Jesus said He would rise on the third day, I cannot condemn them or look down on them. I cannot condemn them for their confusion, hopelessness, shock and despair. I cannot blame them for thinking that all was lost after Jesus’s crucifixion, death and burial. I cannot fault the disciples for allowing the circumstances that they witnessed to overshadow Jesus’s Words that He would rise again in three days. I cannot condemn the disciples for being human and I also cannot condemn them because I would be a hypocrite. I too am guilty of giving into sorrow and despair when I cannot reconcile or make sense of the circumstances that are surrounding me. I too am guilty of giving into darkness rather than living in the light of the Resurrection. I am so thankful that even though darkness surrounds us, it does not have the final word.
May we take some time today to reflect on how dark this world is without Christ. May we pray for our family and friends who do not know Christ to come to faith in Him. I am so thankful that tomorrow Christ turns our mourning into dancing!
Father God, may we take time today to reflect on what it may have been like for the disciples and for all those who witnessed the events of Good Friday. Lord God, may we not forget that even when things are at their darkest and bleakest, Your light and love penetrates the darkness. Even when we cannot sense Your presence or know Your specific will, Lord may we never forget that You are Emmanuel, God with us. Lord, may we not twist what Jesus says like the leading priests and Pharisees. Lord God, may we mourn over our sin, may we mourn over how often we fall short. Prepare us Lord to celebrate Jesus’s Resurrection. Lord God, none of us are anything or have anything without You! Lord God, remind us that we live this life for You and not for ourselves. May we live in the light, freedom and victory of the Resurrection; yet, never forgetting the darkness of Jesus’s shed blood on the Cross that purchased our redemption. Thank You Jesus for what You have done for us and it is in Your Name I pray, Amen.