Even in the dark days following Christ’s death, some strange and hopeful things occurred that must have given His daunted disciples some pause to think.
For one thing, they must have heard how the heavy veil in the temple had torn down the middle at the moment He gave up His Spirit. That had to mean something.
For another, there had been strange sightings since then of people long dead and buried in the tombs, now walking around in the city (Matt. 27:50-53). Maybe they even saw some of these people themselves. This was like what they had witnessed at Lazarus’ burial cave. The chief priests and elders had wanted to kill Lazarus again, but instead other people had risen from death as he had.
What could all this mean? Even in their dazed state might Christ’s disciples not have felt some vague unvoiced anticipation?
He had said, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” Everyone seemed to have taken this to mean the stone temple in Jerusalem. But what if He had meant something else? And what about His answer to his opponents’ demand for a sign? He had replied that no sign would be given but that of Jonah the prophet (Matt. 12:39). What sign had accompanied Jonah but three days in the depth of darkness, followed by his catapulting back out into the light?
Yet any hopes like that must have merely flickered. For when Mary Magdalene went to the tomb the first morning of the next week to find it empty, she ran to the disciples crying in angst that someone must have taken His body and she didn’t know where (John 20:1-2).
Even when she saw the Master herself, she was slow to believe it was really Him (John 20:14-16). And once she and the other women did, and ran to tell the others, these couldn’t believe till their own eyes beheld Him (Luke 24:9-11), or their own hands felt His wounds (John 20:25-28).
How like that we can be when times grow black! How easy it is to allow the darkness to extinguish even reasonable hopes!
In the deepest darkness, let’s still look for the glimmers of light. Let’s remember the amazing things God has done in the past. Let’s search the word for promises, even the promises we don’t understand. Let’s wait, if we must, in darkness. But let’s wait in anticipation of eventual better things from God. Let’s wait in hope.