DayBreaks for 4/17/16 – The Lesson From the Darkness
It is at night when thoughts come to haunt me. It is at night that I do most of my worrying and when my fears are the most pronounced and find their greatest freedom to rampage inside of my head and heart. And, often, I am unable to put them back into a cage until the sky brightens and daylight arrives.
It has always been darkness that has bothered us the most. Yet, now that Easter is over, I want to look one more time at the story of the Resurrection “morning.” Here is the text: John 20:1-2 (NLT) – Early Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. She ran and found Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved. She said, ‘They have taken the Lord’s body out of the tomb, and I don’t know where they have put him!’
Do you see it? The Resurrection didn’t happen in the morning. John, being an eyewitness to the events, is very, very clear about it. When Mary came to the tomb, it was still DARK. And Jesus was ALREADY gone! He had already risen. Christ rose in the darkness of the night. None of us know exactly what hour or minute it was – but it was dark. We know that much.
So what’s the big deal? It struck me that Christ died in the daylight and rose during the night, in darkness. It might seem to us that it should have been the other way around. If Christ had risen in the middle of the day, more people would have seen the resurrection (in fact, there was no human who witnessed the actual moment of resurrection.) If he had died at night, wouldn’t it seem to have been more fitting?
Here’s what I think we should make of this:
I think Christ died in the daylight because we needed to see it happen, for several reasons:
FIRST: we needed to be able to see the ugliness of what happened. The ugliness of sin, the hatefulness of the human heart. It could have happened in the dark, but we’d have missed it. And God didn’t want us to miss the meaning, or historical fact, of the death of His Son.
SECOND: we needed to be able to see the love of God in all its fullness – and it was never seen so clearly or fully as on the cross.
I think Christ rose in the darkness because, as he had put it, it was the hour and time of the darkness’ power. Over and over, darkness is linked with lies, deception, sin…and with the rule of Satan. Jesus rose in the dark of the night to:
FIRST: show us that we need not fear the dark any longer, because our Friend is there.
SECOND: to show us his power – he went straight into the world of darkness through Calvary, and he rose at the height of the power of the enemy – while it was dark (both in terms of light and in terms of the darkness that settled upon with world because of sin and death.) Jesus didn’t need to wait until the darkness faded to have enough power to rise – he rose when the darkness was the fullest! If Jesus had risen in the daylight, would we have fully understood his victory over the darkness?
When the sun comes up, my fears and torments cease. The Son has risen…the Son has come up and the time for fear is over and the time for rejoicing has come!
TODAY’S PRAYER: We praise you, most Holy Lord, for your great power that drives way our fears and replaces them with hope, joy and love. Thank you that you allowed us to see the ugliness of sin in its fullness. May we repent in tears and ashes for our waywardness. Lead us safely through this darkness to your glorious home! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright 2016, Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.