However, the circumstance that strikes me as a little “ironic” (I know that there is little true irony in life with a truly Sovereign God) is that this day in between the cross and the empty tomb is Saturday—the Sabbath. This was to be the day when God’s people were to cease from all work, all striving and focus all their attention on their great God through the public reading of Scripture, worship and prayer. These practices were put in place to remind and sustain the worshippers of Jehovah through any dark night of the soul.
Christ’s followers with even as desperate as the moment appeared were not without hope. They had the Word of God to serve as an anchor to the soul. Picking up Isaiah’s prophecy they would have read:
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
so he opened not his mouth.
By oppression and judgment he was taken away;
and as for his generation, who considered
that he was cut off out of the land of the living,
stricken for the transgression of my people?
And they made his grave with the wicked
and with a rich man in his death,
although he had done no violence,
and there was no deceit in his mouth.
Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him;
he has put him to grief;
when his soul makes an offering for guilt,
he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
make many to be accounted righteous,
and he shall bear their iniquities.
Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many,
and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,
because he poured out his soul to death
and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
and makes intercession for the transgressors.
(Isaiah 53:7-12 ESV)
Even their Lord Himself told them on many occasions: “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles. And they will mock him and spit on him, and flog him and kill him. And after three days he will rise” (Mark 10:33-34 ESV).
Silly disciples, why weren’t they resting in God on this Sabbath day? The sobering truth is that if we had been there, we would have been just as distraught, just as much at the end of the rope and road as the original disciples were.
Why aren’t I, a Christ’s 21st Century disciple, resting in my NOW RISEN Lord and Savior? Having the advantage of the Monday morning’s quarterback chair, I know of our Lord’s victory over sin and death. I am convinced that He works all things together for my good and His glory. However, there are still many times when I plunge into the depths of despair and darkness.
Scripture contains a thousand promises and clear indications of our heavenly Father’s undying love for me and all my brothers and sisters in Christ to carry us through the dark nights of our soul. I don’t want to minimize the crisis you are experiencing right now; on the other hand, neither will I downplay God’s great, all-surpassing grace which He consistently lavishes on us. By faith we are to say, “Be gone darkness! ‘Though he slay me, I will hope in him…” (Job 13:15). Strength and light for my journey are mine in Christ. And at the end of this journey, my resurrection and glorification are guaranteed by the Sovereign Lord of all creation.