Luke 24:1-12 But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, "Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise." And they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles, but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened.
Q: When did Jesus say, “It is finished?”
A: On the cross.
Q: When did the disciples “get it”?
A: The verse above, as well as some other verses (try John 12:16 and John 2:22), plus what the Bible records about the disciples hiding in fear of the Jews, would seem to indicate that it wasn’t until after the resurrection and glorification of Jesus.
The work was done on the cross, but it wasn’t received by them and made their own until after they met the risen Christ—until after the Spirit rolled away the stone of their heart, and the veil that masked their understanding was torn. It was then, it seems, that they realized what was done, and who He really was. The work was done on the cross, and made their own on Easter Sunday, but that Saturday in between those days (“The Darkest Day” which I speculated about in yesterday’s post), seems to me like such a picture of the lost world (and of each believer before they realized who He was and gave their life to Him)—the work is already done for us, but we live in the darkness not realizing it.
Sometimes this is, I fear, a picture of the Christian’s life as well. There are too many things I am anxious about, or afraid about, or in doubt about, when, in fact, the work is already done by Him, and the promise is already given by Him, and it is just mine to make my own through faith. Too often, it seems, I live in “Saturday.” Like Sarah and Abraham, I don’t have the faith to trust God at His promises and take Him at His word. But, I am so encouraged by Sarah and Abraham’s story as well, because Hebrews 11 assures us that even if we begin without faith in one of His promises or aspects of His character, we can turn to Him and consider Him faithful who has promised. Like Sarah, then, that faith will become the power to bring forth the life that is dormant in the seed of His promise, just waiting for the water and light of our faith to bring it forth.
This morning I plan to teach at our fellowship on many of the different emotions and fears and “confusions” that might have been swirling in the disciples on Saturday, that were swept away or answered on Sunday. The cry, “He’s Alive!” truly makes all the difference in the world, and I hope that each and every one of you have a joyous and wonderful day today celebrating that victory, and the hope and purpose it brings! And, remember—even when our faith falters, and our step stumbles, and the cry of “He’s Alive!” maybe doesn’t seem to carry the power it should to us, we have the cross of Friday towering over us, covering us in the shadow of its mercy and grace, and testifying of His amazing love. Wow! Words truly do fall short of describing what this whole period of time in our Lord’s life means for us . . .