The whole world must’ve taken an exhale. One, long, quiet exhale. Then forgot to take the breath back in the lungs. Silence rolled over the land. Even the Bible is remarkably silent. I cannot help but notice the significance of the entire world, in our own generation, also experiencing remarkably stillness, silence and mystery during this holy day of sobering celebration.
Only two of the Gospel writers even mention it… this darkest Sabbath that ever existed. Luke mentions in passing that “on the Sabbath they rested according to their commandment” (Luke 23:56), but both John and Mark move straight from the laying of a lifeless Body in a tomb to the manifest glory of finding the same tomb empty on Sunday’s earliest morning light.
Yet one Gospel writer gives us remarkable insight into another event that was occurring, while the masses rested in their grief. Matthew 27:62-66 tells us “Now on the next day, the day after the preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered together with Pilate, and said, ‘Sir, we remember that when He was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I am to rise again.’ Therefore, give orders for the grave to be made secure until the third day, otherwise His disciples may come and steal Him away and say to the people, ‘He has risen from the dead,’ and the last deception will be worse than the first.’ Pilate said to them, ‘You have a guard; go, make it as secure as you know how.’ And they went and made the grave secure, and along with the guard they set a seal on the stone.”
It honestly draws tears to the helm of my eyes every single time I read these arrogant, self-righteous, spiteful “religious” folks calling my Beloved “that deceiver”. It feels like a solid punch to the diaphragm. One that leaves me reeling backwards and choking on burning tears. What hard hearts! The Messiah, the long awaited One, the only One who has ever been completely honest, and they blaspheme!
It is also worth noting that these devious men are the ones who condemned Jesus, repeatedly, for doing things that were healing and good for humanity, simply because He was “working” on the Sabbath. Now, on this most significant Sabbath in all history, they are doing the laborious work of rolling a ridiculously heavy stone, to make certain He can’t bust out of the tomb, like He said He would.
But isn’t that just the thing… these evil men, with all their wicked plotting, could not keep God Almighty from doing exactly what He said He would, and wanted to, do!
This is where my mind rests, these days. This may feel like an hour of darkness. Of sobering grief. Many are living in tremendous fear. Many are losing loved ones. The world seems to be turning upended and slipping off it’s galactic rocker. But God sits enthroned above the heavens. Even when the body of Jesus lay dead in a borrowed tomb, God was thwarting the malicious plans of men and weaving His own majesty out of all that seemed so broken and out-of-sorts! We can trust Him, people!
That precious verse almost any Christian could recite to you: “Be still and know that I am God,” it ends like this “I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth” (Psalm 46:10). This may feel like global devastation, yet even if this is the beginning of the end for this planet, Majesty rides the horizon on a white horse. And perhaps this is only a rebirth of sorts. A rebirth of family, of sanity, of stillness. How many of us have been praying for revival? This feels very surreal, like the answer to that begging prayer of the saints of God has risen to His throne and He is answering it in ways we never could have expected. We cannot quite fathom what He is accomplishing through all of this seeming chaos. But they couldn’t imagine it when they were pulling God, limp and lifeless, off the cross, either.
All we can know for certain is this: The Lord is in control. None of His plans can be rerouted, detoured or diminished. He WILL be exalted among the nations, and exalted in the entire earth! We who trust Him have only to be still, remember and believe! God is famous for making what seems like utter mayhem into absolute majesty!