Sometimes darkness seems to enshroud us so completely that all hope appears to be lost. Evil apparently triumphs, our losses feel insurmountable, and the future portends of dread and despair.
Such a time happened 2,000 years ago, when the children of God witnessed the torture and execution of the One in whom they had placed all faith and hope. The Lord Jesus Christ lay dead in a lonely tomb, sealed by a stone, and guarded by strong soldiers. The night had descended, wickedness had triumphed, and the Prince of life who had saved others seemingly could not save Himself.
We who live on the other side of the sad story know better, don't we?
“He is not here, for He is risen, as He said” (Matthew 28:6).
The Lord Jesus could have summoned twelve legions of angels who would have miraculously delivered Him from the political and religious leaders who decreed His execution. Instead, He submitted Himself to their crime in order to perform the greater miracle of resurrection. Our eternal salvation ensued, and the triumph of Christ over death rings through the ages until this hour, and this very moment.
The stone was rolled away. Soldiers were dispatched. The sadness of the grave gave way to the supply of grace made possible by death and resurrection. The crime of devilish and human agencies became God's wondrous means of redeeming us from our own wickedness and unbelief. The Lord Jesus is risen, a glorious truth that would not exist had He not first suffered death.
In those times when the night descends and all hope seems to fly away, let us remember the very basis of our faith. "The light shineth in darkness" declared the apostle John, who witnessed firsthand the thickest shroud ever to envelope the world (John 1:5). The Prince of life died. He did not, however, remain dead. Nor will our dark nights endure as we remember and affirm by faith the truth that forms and informs our faith: the tomb is empty. The heavenly throne is occupied. And Jesus Christ is Lord.
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For Thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.”