I’m thinking back to one of the times when I wanted to hang out with my next-oldest brother and his friend. They were around 11 or 12 years old, and I was maybe 6. Why I wanted to camp out with them I have no idea, but I did and they let me.
Well, there we were, only about 100 yards from our house under a barn shelter. Yep, we were set – campfire, hot dogs, chips, and scary stories. And the scary story part is when I sure wished I wasn’t there. They would tell stories, and with each one I became – and honestly I think they did, too – a little more afraid. Then wouldn’t you know it, just as one of the stories was leading up to the scary part, we heard something thrashing around, and it sounded nearby and big. We all three became very quiet. I know now that my brother and his friend were just as afraid as I was. We didn’t know what the sound was or what to do about it; we froze. Then, underneath that barn shelter and echoing off the tin roof, we heard a loud “Mooo!”
All three of us ran as fast as we could to our house. It was crazy frightening, and to think we were so spooked when it was just one of the cows that had gotten out and made its way to the barn. Darkness and not knowing can mess with you. It sure did mess with us that night. As I think about Jesus’ disciples on that dark night of His death, they must have been afraid and confused.
We can laugh at the fear that struck us three boys that night, but for the disciples it was no laughing matter. They had scattered when Jesus was arrested and had spent Saturday hiding in fear of being arrested themselves (Luke 24:36–43; John 20:19–23). They were confused, afraid, and seemingly hopeless.
Matthew 27:62–66 is the only biblical reference we have that tells what happened with the authorities that day. The chief priests and Pharisees visited Pontius Pilate and asked him to set a guard before Jesus’ tomb. They remembered Jesus saying (as we read in John 2:19–21) “…Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jewish religious leaders didn’t want to take any chances of Jesus’ disciples stealing His body and saying that Jesus had risen from the dead, or of Jesus himself resurrecting and coming out of the tomb, so these wicked leaders did everything they could to prevent it. But we know they couldn’t! The grave couldn’t hold Jesus and Roman soldiers couldn’t stop Him!
We know the rest of the story. Up from the grave He arose! And tomorrow, Resurrection Sunday, and every day afterward, we celebrate just that – He is risen! Jesus lay dead in a tomb after suffering cruel beatings, mocking, and death on the cross for our sins, and I can’t help but be very grateful. He took my sin, my selfishness, my pride, my lack of compassion, my greed, my guilt, my shame…and He buried it! Wow! Sin – dead and buried! Oh, what a Savior!
“Dear God, Help me today to be more forgiving. Help me to remember how You completely forgave me. Help me not to bring up sins again – not to myself, or to other persons, or to You. Help me to truly forgive – to reckon sins and wrongs as dead and buried. Thank You for giving me full and complete forgiveness. Only in Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”
— by Pastor Greg Joyner