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October 18, 2020 | Doug Sauder
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Devotional: Day Seven
The Darkest Day
“Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.”—Luke 23:56 (NIV)
Have you ever lost a loved one? As children, the idea of losing someone is almost unfathomable. But the older we get the more real death becomes—the more we think about it, the more we’re confronted with it, the more we have to walk through it when it comes for those we love.
Though they weren’t children, it’s probably safe to assume the disciples couldn’t imagine a scenario where their Master—who healed the blind, walked on water, calmed the storms, and raised people from the dead—would be killed. And even though Jesus told them repeatedly that He’d be delivered into the hands of the religious leaders and would be killed, they still seemed to brush His words off. Why? Because they believed He was the Messiah. And in their limited view of God’s Word, through the lens of lifetimes of oppression and captivity, they believed the Messiah was coming to establish a physical kingdom. And the thing about physical kingdoms is that in order to rule them, you have to be alive.
After they had just witnessed Jesus riding into Jerusalem as the conquering hero on the donkey as was foretold, they were most certainly riding the high of the people’s adoration. If they weren’t sure before, they definitely were now. They believed they had arrived in Jerusalem with Jesus to see Him free them from their Roman captors, to claim the throne of David, and establish an everlasting kingdom for God’s people, Israel.
But then, the worst possible scenario happened. A few hours after celebrating the Passover together, Jesus was betrayed by Judas, arrested, mocked, beaten, put on trial, taken before Pilate, brutally scourged, sentenced to be crucified, forced to carry His (our) cross, and nailed to the cross.
A few hours later, Jesus said, “It is finished!” and “gave up His spirit” (John 19:30 NKJV). He was buried immediately afterwards, as the Sabbath was upon them. And though He was laid in a rich man’s tomb—a tomb that had never been used (Luke 23:50–54)—Jesus wasn’t given a proper burial. Did you know the disciples couldn’t even hold a funeral for Jesus the next day because it was the Sabbath?
So, what do you imagine they did on that darkest of Saturdays? Did they sit together and talk about what He meant to them? Perhaps reminisce on how great He was? It’s possible. But after all they’d seen and gone through, it’s more likely they simply sat in silence much the same way that Job and his friends did (Job 2:11–13), distraught and inconsolable, wallowing in hopelessness, despair, fear, confusion, and anger. No doubt, it had to be the darkest and most empty day of their lives, and truly the darkest and most empty day in the history of the world. It was an entire day where grace, truth, peace, hope, and love were buried.
But here’s the beautiful thing: It’s always darkest before the dawn, and the dawn was coming . . . the dawn of a new day, a new era, a new promise. A new covenant was already on its way like an unstoppable, bright and glorious sunrise.
“It is finished” was not the end of the story because the tomb could not hold Him back. On the third day, the stone was rolled away, and the Messiah rose again! He conquered death and broke us free from the shackles of sin. His death and resurrection give us life. And not just eternal life (John 3:16), but true life here and now (Romans 8:11); a life of fulfillment (John 10:10).
Easter is all about the moment our lives truly begin—the moment we die to sin, death, and destruction and are spiritually brought to life to experience the presence, power, peace, grace, and love of God through Christ. “Just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life” (Romans 6:4 NIV).
Tomorrow morning, as you rise up out of your bed, do so with the knowledge that Christ rose out of the grave and that because He did, because Jesus IS alive, we too are now made alive in Him!
Things to Consider: You made it! Celebrate today that you finished the race and that the Lord is faithful and has done an amazing work in you!