In Between Death And Resurrection

In Between Death And Resurrection

Preacher Huijun - 3 April 2021

Weekend Devotion: In Between Death And Resurrection

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We all do not like death nor do we like waiting. 2000 years ago in between Jesus’ day of death and day of resurrection, the followers of Jesus were sad and lost. Did they believe Him when He said, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise” <Mk 9:31; cf. Lk 24:7> ? We read that on the day Jesus was crucified and died, He was buried in a man, Joseph’s tomb and <Mt 27:61> tells us that “Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there opposite the tomb.” Were they waiting for Him with a tinge of hope, or they were only mourning without any hope?

 

What do you think were the feelings of the two Marys as they “were sitting there opposite the tomb”?

Now, “tomb” often makes people think of “defeat, sorrow, and loss”. Although Jesus already prepared His followers, telling them in advance about His suffering and death, yet regardless of how much preparation there had been, when the dreaded thing truly happened, people would still feel depressed and lost. Perhaps before Jesus died, their hearts still carried a dash of hope that maybe Jesus could still turn the situation around at the last minute, to avert trouble. However, after Jesus truly died, doubts might start flooding the minds of His followers: “If Jesus is truly God, why can’t He save Himself?”, “He is our hope so how can He just die like that? Then what do we do now?”, “Am I wrong to have put my faith in Him?”, “If they have dealt so harshly with Jesus, will they turn on us who follow Him, will we ourselves get into trouble too?” Indeed, on that one day in between Jesus’ death and resurrection, there remained too many doubts and great disappointment and fears.

How about us? Have we also encountered a situation similar to “sitting opposite the tomb of Jesus”? Perhaps we ever or we are right now facing some serious blows such as: terminal illness, the passing of a loved one, setbacks in career, marriage breakdown, mental stress, delayed answers to prayers, hidden sins which have been pestering us for a long time, etc. At such moments, we may also ask, “God, what are You doing, what are You waiting for, why have You yet to do anything about my situation?”

 

However, as dreadful as it is, the “tomb” is necessary.

Although the tomb usually carries unpleasant connotations, Jesus’ tomb is different, because it signifies victory and life. As strange as this sounds, come to think of it, without the tomb of Jesus, we will have no hope of salvation at all! For without the death of Jesus (and thus His tomb), then there would not be His resurrection and victory, and the plan of redemption would not be fulfilled. However, because the sinless Jesus paid the debt of sin for us sinners, and also rose from the dead, those who believe in Him can thus be saved.

That’s why we praise God like Peter did, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” <1 Pe 1:3>

<Ro 5:10> also says, “For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!”

In the eyes of man, death is a very terrible problem, as it seems that once a person dies, nothing can be done anymore. Thus, the death of Jesus troubled those who believed in Him, for if this so-called Savior is dead, then how can He save others? However, the bigger the problem, the greater is God’s victory and glory which are revealed eventually. When Jesus rose from the dead, He completely triumphed over death and the devil, thus proving that He is the only One who has the power to save sinners.

Certainly, none of us like to “sit opposite the tomb”, but paradoxically, it is also there that we are being brought to be broken before God, to repent and renew. If we think about it, it is often true that during a crisis then man can really see and experience the greatness of God, and thus grow in his faith. Only after tasting darkness can a person appreciate light. And the greater the difficulty, the more we will find God’s grace and presence awesome and valuable. Therefore, when you encounter a situation that discourages you, do not give up, but:

 

Wait upon the Lord with hope.

Actually, if a person is still waiting, he is still in a sense holding onto some kind of hope. The Bible also often encourages us to continue to hope in the Lord. <Lam 3:25-26> The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.

In fact, when we are in darkness, it is not that God has disappeared, but our heart and mind are overwhelmed by the gloom, such that we have no mood to seek God, and thus cannot see Him. Then how can we find God in the darkness? That is, through His word. Often, when problems come, we may take the “partial reality” as the complete truth. For example, it is true that Jesus had died, but that was only a part of the whole truth. What is a more complete truth is that Jesus chose to die, no one could force Him to give up His life, thus His death is not a defeat. Furthermore, the truth is, Jesus had also predicted His own resurrection. Thus, when a person only takes in the negative information and sees the partial truth instead of the big picture, then he will naturally be deceived. Only when we go back to God’s truth then we can once again hold onto the truth and not be deceived by anything. We must remember that the “truth” we perceive in our despair is often not the complete truth. For we easily exaggerate our despair but shrink our hopes. Thus, we must go back to the word of God, to restore an objective perspective and meet God again. When we are reminded of God’s promises and can believe them, then we will naturally restore hope.

 

The two Marys we read today sitting opposite Jesus’ tomb, as well as the rest of the disciples, all did not know whether Jesus would really resurrect or not, thus it is understandable why they might have doubts or feel lost. However, we believers in the modern day already knew about Jesus’ resurrection. Therefore, in our respective problems, gloomy situations, or doubts, we must still hope in the Lord. Even if you cannot see God for a while, or even if God seems “dead” or “defeated” for that moment, do not be deceived by your eyes or feelings, because God is still with you and still in control. He will certainly save you faithfully. This Holy Saturday, may we restore a steadfast hope in our risen Lord, and wait patiently upon Him!

Preacher Huijun
Preacher Huijun
huijun@lifechurchmissions.com

Huijun joined The Life Church and Missions (Singapore) as a preacher in 2012. She is effectively bilingual and preaches occasionally at the Chinese service. She graduated from Singapore Bible College and currently lives in Singapore with her husband, Chengji.

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