Holding on to Faith in the Dark
“Day of Absence”
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Matthew 27:62-66 (NCV)
The next day, the day after Preparation Day, the leading priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. 63 They said, “Sir, we remember that while that liar was still alive he said, ‘After three days I will rise from the dead.’ 64 So give the order for the tomb to be guarded closely till the third day. Otherwise, his followers might come and steal the body and tell people that he has risen from the dead. That lie would be even worse than the first one.”
Pilate said, “Take some soldiers and go guard the tomb the best way you know.” 66 So they all went to the tomb and made it safe from thieves by sealing the stone in the entrance and putting soldiers there to guard it.
Hopes were dashed… Faith was shaken…. Christ’s followers were confused… JESUS WAS DEAD and buried! How had it come to this? Was Jesus really who He had said He was? The Messiah was supposed to save the people of Israel… Yet, Jesus is dead and the Jews are still under Roman rule! What about all the miracles, signs and wonders that Jesus had performed? If Jesus could heal the sick and raise the dead, why was HE now in a tomb?
It didn’t make logical sense, humanly speaking. How many followers (those who had stuck around after Jesus’ hard teaching [John 6:60-66]) gave up believing in Jesus during this time? Jesus, the Miracle Worker and Astute Teacher, was gone.
However, even the Pharisees understood (in verse 63) that Jesus had revealed the timeline for His resurrection (Matt. 12:38-40). Which bodes the question: If the Pharisees knew of the three-day prophecy, then wouldn’t they have HAD to understand that Jesus was referring to His body in Matt. 26:61 when He was accused of claiming He would rebuild the Temple in three days, as discussed in yesterday’s blog?
Anyway, back to today’s blog. For those followers who had not lost faith, there was a promise to hold on to. Christ had promised to rise from the dead! This would defy human reasoning, but Jesus had already done that throughout His three-year public ministry. Surely Jesus would keep His promise! Surely He would return as He had said He would! Though the times were dark, holding on to faith would pull these followers through.
So, how often do we go through dark and troubled times in our lives? It feels like God is nowhere to be found. The walls are crashing in… time is running out… human logic and reasoning say that its already over… it’s too late… there is no way out now…
But God has given a promise. Lonely? Anxious? Depressed? God has said that He would never leave us or forsake us (Heb 13:5). Struggling with temptation? God will always provide a way to escape (1 Cor 10:13). Health issues? God is our Creator (Gen 2:7) and Jesus is the Great Physician (Mark 2:17, Luke 4:23). If God chooses to do so, He is fully capable of healing any health-related issues… no matter the timeline. Financial instability? God owns the cattle on a thousand hills (Psalm 50:10).
In the middle of the darkness, hold fast to the faith that has been nurtured inside of you (Heb. 10:23)!