Darkness. All of a sudden there was a darkness that just kind of spread over the land. But it couldn’t be. It was still midday. How was it dark? There was a major storm brewing that just came out of nowhere. What was going on? There was a sense of fear that was spreading through the crowd that was wandering the streets. We had watched a few hours before, hiding in the distance, as our friend and leader, a man we knew as Jesus, was forced to carry His cross through the streets of Jerusalem.
Though we wanted to support Him, we were also afraid of being arrested for being His followers, so most of us had stayed hidden, watching the events since they arrested Him in the garden from a distance. But now, we knew that He had been led outside of the city, carrying His own cross to be crucified. And now this storm was brewing. There was just an eerie feeling over the city. What was going on? This was supposed to be a great time of celebration as we were gathered in Jerusalem to observe the Passover. How had things gotten this out of hand that one of our own number had betrayed our friend?
Then, just as suddenly as the storm came upon the city, the ground began to shake violently. The sky grew even darker, as if the sun had been extinguished. None of us had experienced anything like it. As we asked others what was going on, we found out two things. One, our friend and leader had taken His last breath on the cross just before the ground began to shake. Two, inside of the city, in the very heart of the Temple, the veil keeping us out of the presence of God was torn in two from top to bottom.
Now here we are on Saturday, unsure of what any of this means, but missing our friend that we have spent the last three years following, witnessing all of His miracles and His teachings. What is to become of us now? We thought He was here to free us from Rome, but the Pharisees and the Romans just combined forces and had him crucified. He was laid in a borrowed tomb, but it was so close to the Sabbath that we were not even able to properly prepare His body for burial. Some of the women that are with us are planning a trip to the tomb tomorrow to take care of the preparations. Even though the sun shines again, there just seems to be a darkness that is over us right now. It can probably be chalked up to our despair…
Hopefully you know the rest of the story. The women did go to the tomb the next morning, and found it empty. Jesus then began appearing to His followers, proving to them that He had miraculously risen from the grave! And that is what we celebrate on Easter. It’s not about Easter eggs, bunnies, and chocolate. None of that is bad. But it is truly about God in the flesh, living a perfect live, and willingly sacrificing Himself on the cross for our sins. There was darkness and despair between Friday and Sunday as it seemed death had won. But Jesus defeated death, once and for all, when God raised Him from the grave. That’s what Easter is really all about. That’s what being a Christ follower is really all about. Happy Easter everyone!