…it was still dark…
Darkness. I don’t know how long it has been dark, but it is still dark. I grope around trying to find my way, but I can not see any light. Even the early morning sky is a blanket of obscurity, stars hidden, moon unseen—dawn is not quite here. The garden is around me, lush things growing, dirt wet with morning dew, stones chilly at my touch. Everything hushed—quiet as death. The silence of grief is so loud.
We come with spices to anoint the dead, for He had been quickly buried. The weeping had been almost constant, yet eventually the tears give way to the empty feeling of what happens now? I feel lost, unable to see the One in whom I hope and trust. Is He there? If He is, what is He doing? I just want to see Him, touch Him, care for Him.
And now, O Lord, for what do I wait?
My hope is in You.
What happens in the dark womb? The lump of dough? The wine barrel? The pantry?
Children grow, yeasts multiply, sugars ferment, even potatoes and onions sprout in order to grasp for new life. Life happens—growth happens—in the darkness.
A quick word search shows that light + dark shows up in the ESV 68 times, with glorious encouragement to be found there! We quickly find reminders that God is the One who separates darkness from light (Genesis 1:4), who uncovers darkness and brings things to light (Job 12:22), He lightens our darkness (Psalm 18:28), the darkness is even like light to Him (Psalm 139:12), He is—in fact—the One who forms light and creates darkness (Isaiah 45:7) yet there is no darkness within Him (1 John 1:5). And Jesus, the Son of God, is the light of the world who can not be overcome by darkness, who came to overcome our darkness with His light!
But darkness fell on Friday, and grief overwhelmed Saturday because our light was buried in this cave. And now I can not see what is happening in the darkness.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
In a moment, I see the dawn begin. Grace upon grace, the sky’s black blanket lightens to a dark blue, then a golden halo suddenly explodes in the east—first, a sliver; then, rays that reach and flame and glow and expose. On the horizon now is light. Slowly, the darkness dissipates—the entire sky lightens, which lightens our eyes, which reveals what we must see. Rub our eyes clear of their disbelief. Blink away the shock. The earth shakes, the rock moves, the tomb is opened. The light shines!
I have come into the world as light,
so that whoever believes in Me may not remain in darkness.
Come close, peer into the hidden place where darkness has held my Lord, expecting to see His dead body lying in the shadows, still and cold and dim—He isn’t here. Glancing around in the small light of early dawn that barely reaches into the depths of the cave, eyes adjusting to what they see and what they don’t see—eyes falling on a pile of grave clothes, eyes move to a folded piece of linen that was set apart from the rest. Where is the body of my Lord? Who left this pile of His hastily anointed wrappings? Who folded this linen, setting it aside? How could this happen in the pitch black darkness of a cold, dank cave that held nothing but death?! Angels speak—angelic beings before whom we quiver.
Luke 24:6, 8
“He is not here, but has risen.
Remember how He told you…”
And they remembered His words.
Scrambling, trembling, glancing around. Trying to rack our brains to recall what the Rabbi had taught us, suddenly remembering His words and piecing together what He had been teaching us all along.
The angels a beacon of hope for those who came to the tomb in hopelessness, sitting in darkness and weeping in the shadow of death—in our hopeless, dark, miserable, lost place, the angels of the Lord bring words of peace, messages of light.
[He gives] light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.
We came in mourning, not knowing that the darkness of our grief would be lifted. We came to bless our Lord, not knowing that He was about to lift our burdens. We came before the dawn, and experienced the true rising of The Son—the glory of God surrounding us as the east brightened, the angels spoke, our eyes rested on the cloths in the tomb. Hope flickers once again in the hearts where despair had quenched, belief glints around the edges of souls earlier filled with doubt.
2 Corinthians 4:6
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts
to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
We long to do something, to care for someone, to do something tangible to make sense of our overwhelming intangible grief—so we come to the tomb to anoint, to finish with the fragile care of grieving women what had necessarily been accomplished so quickly by the strength of men two days before. And now not only in our humanity, but also in our femininity, the angels tell us of the risen Son—give us the job of going and spreading the news—engage us in the act of resurrection by arming us with Truth and filling us with Hope. We came in the weakness of distress and leave now in the strength of peace. The sky is bright now, the dew begins to dry and the birds begin to sing morning songs, as our feet swiftly carry us to the disciples—we sing and we cry and we wonder and we run! We are given the gift of sharing the hope and the light, of telling His disciples to meet Him in Galilee. And the hope that had died in our souls when He was crucified is rekindled now, in the faith that we are soon to see Him again, face to face.
He reveals deep and hidden things;
He knows what is in the darkness,
and the light dwells with Him.
Like the women who first knew of Christ’s Resurrection, we too have been given the gift of sharing the light of Jesus which God reveals—the light of the knowledge of the glory of God—when we look to Jesus Christ as our Savior. He took away our darkness, has borne our sin, shows us the light that dwells with Him and lightens our lamp. Because He lives, and because His light can not be extinguished, we may now live in the light, rejoice in the light, hope in the light, trust and rest and believe in the light—where even our shadows and our hidden places are known, seen, forgiven, loved, and redeemed.
He is Risen indeed!
For it is You who light my lamp;
the Lord my God lightens my darkness.