Saturday, April 23, 2011

When the Tomb of Our Hope Is Still Occupied

Luke 23:54

And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on.

Friday, had been the day of preparation…

I cannot even imagine what the believers of Christ were going through. Friday had been an unimaginable chain of events. The last 12 hours of our Saviors life must have seemed like a nightmare flashing before their eyes. Trials, tortures, hopes dashed, hatred, the road to Golgotha, and the scene at the cross. Their Savior, and ours, beaten and bruised despite His innocence. It must have seemed as in an instant the heartache of a lifetime had taken place.

As you and I know, there are some days, those awful days none of us care to relive, that the stress and happenings of that day just rush together; our adrenaline pumping is the only thing that truly energizes us as everything comes together so quickly that our mind does not have time to truly process all of it. We simply sleepwalk through the day blank, empty, horrified at what we are dealing with, but unable to get our minds around it.

As I watched the Passion of the Christ last night, I certainly would not describe that Friday’s events as the day of preparation, but as I read the word today, I get it. Friday’s events truly were the preparation for what the Lord was to do. Friday, Jesus prepared His heart to carry the burdens we put on Him, Friday, the soldiers prepared to carry out their sentence, Friday, the Jewish leaders prepared to rid themselves of their thorn, Friday, God prepared Himself to turn His face on His own Son, and Friday, the followers of Christ prepared themselves for the faith it would take, because “the Sabbath drew on”.

Today, Saturday, would have been their Sabbath. The day they dispensed with work to honor their God. This day, the work was done on Friday, but the Sabbath would be more critical than ever. The day after the trial, the day after the stress, the day after the horror, the Sabbath, is when the followers of Christ would fight for their faith. Their minds would begin to kick in. Their hearts would be broken. Their hopes and beliefs about what the Lord was going to do would be challenged by a tomb that held the body of their Lord, and faith that He would be their salvation.

Today is the same. In the middle of the fight, we are strong. But are we just as strong the day in the middle? The Sabbath day when there is no battle to fight, no distractions, and no busy-work, there is only our faith and a Lord we cannot see. We do not understand what He is up to. We do not know why things are the way they are. We are at the Sabbath day as the book of Luke tells us, they ”rested the Sabbath day”.

Is our faith strong enough for the sabbath? The day between our battle and the answer we have prayed for. Will our faith carry us through in the quiet days when Satan wants so desperately for our hearts to doubt our Savior? Will our faith be strong enough when the tomb of our hope is still occupied? Will we be able to rest in the sabbath knowing our Lord is still in control no matter what our eyes see, our ears hear, or our fears scream?

My prayer is that our faith will allow us to rest in the sabbath of our lives; that your faith will carry you through the quiet times when God has yet to answer; that my faith will quiet my fears, and carry me through until the Lord once again, in a show of His glory and might in my life, rises from the tomb and brings new life to that which I thought was dead. And on Sunday, after faith through the sabbath, when I go back to that tomb of a problem or doubt or heartbreak, that when I arrive back there, I will also hear the words spoken to those who came back to the tomb,

“Why do you seek the living among the dead?”

Go and rest in your sabbath knowing that our Savior lives. Worship Him as the risen Savior of your life, even on the days you do not understand.  Praise Him for the resurrection of His life, and through that, the promise of your life's resurrection as well.  Have faith in what He has promised, in who He is, and in His Words of life.  Live your life in the power of the risen Savior, and stop looking for His presence in the tomb...He is not there, He is risen as He said.