“The next day, that is after the day of preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate and said, ‘Sir, we remember how that imposter said while he was still alive, after three days, I will rise. Therefore, order the tomb to be made secure until the third day, lest his disciples go and steal him away and tell the people he is arisen from the dead. And the last fraud will be worse than the first.’ Pilate said to them, ‘You have a guard of soldiers, go make it as secure as you can.’ So they went and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone and setting a guard.”
I love this passage. “Go make the tomb as secure as you can.” Yeah, good luck with that, because you’re dealing with a Savior whom death can’t stop. You’re dealing with a God who brings death to life. You are trying to put limits on the one who is the resurrection and the life. I love it. So as we have prayed through this journey with Jesus to the cross, Good Friday, remembering his death on the cross. Think about, just put yourself in the shoes of the disciples.
Jesus, we praise you, that death could not hold you.
All those who would look to Jesus, the women who sat there watching and weeping as he hung on the cross. Just the sorrow, and the hurt, and the pain, and the emptiness, and the loneliness that they felt on this Saturday. And here, you see government forces working to make sure that his legacy comes to an end, that his words are proven wrong, and that his followers don’t have any fuel for further trust in him. And in a matter of one more day, everything will be different.
They don’t know all of that on Saturday. Everything looks totally different on this day than it does on Sunday. It looks like governor authorities and religious leaders have one the day. It looks like sin, and injustice, and evil have prevailed. And you and I can look around the world today, and we can be tempted to think the same thing, that sin, and sorrow, and evil, and injustice, even governing authorities, even religious leaders who oppose God, that all of these things have prevailed. We can think that in the world around us, we can think that in our lives.
But to remember, nothing can stop the one who is the resurrection and the life, that all mighty God has power to bring, to turn death into life, to turn sorrow into joy, to turn mourning into dancing, to totally flip the script. Jesus, we praise you, that death could not hold you. I don’t want to get too far ahead, even as we prepare to celebrate that on Easter resurrection day, but, God, we praise you in the middle of the hurt, and the pain, and the sorrow, and the evil, and the suffering of this world, that it is not the end.
God, we praise you, that governments that would seek today to persecute our brothers and sisters around the world, that governments that would oppose you and your word will not prevail. We praise you that nothing can stop your will from being accomplished. Your will in the world, cannot be thwarted. Your purposes in the world will be accomplished. All glory be to your name. So help us. Help us to see in the middle of dark days, in the middle of difficult days, help us to hold on to hope, hold fast to the hope that we have in you, in your word, in you, Jesus, and the one who has conquered death. The one who has been raised to life, and the one who will raise us to life with you.
All glory be to your name, that sorrow, and sin, and evil, and suffering, though they look like they’re the end of the story, though they feel long, that they are not the end of the story. That they do not have the last word, that you have the last word. We say today, we trust in you. We love you. We worship you. And we look forward to the day when we will see your face. When our Saturday will turn in to Sunday, and we will be resurrected with you to enjoy you for all of eternity. So help us. Help us to make this good news known, God. We pray that people tomorrow, and churches all across the world would come to faith in you, come to trust in you, Jesus.
We pray that you’d use us to invite people, to hear this good news and to put their faith, their trust, their hope in you. God, we pray for the spread of this gospel to the nations, to people who’ve never heard it. Please, oh, God, spend our lives making the good news of your resurrection life known to the ends of the earth. We love you, Lord Jesus. And we praise you amidst the sin, and sorrow, and suffering of this world. And so we look forward to when you turn it all into joy, and dancing, and delight in your presence. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.