The day after the cross was excruciating for Jesus' beloved disciples. Christ was just brutally killed and entombed. The One they had just three years prior left everything to follow was gone. Hope was buried. Mourning's weight overtook and darkness soaked in and thickened, pushing out any remaining glimmer of light. Nothing made sense anymore.
That day, being the Jewish Sabbath, by law they would have had to stop for the entire day and rest. They had no distractions of work and busy-ness to help numb the pain and offer release from feeling all of the feelings. All they had was time's cruel, slowed pace - twisting the bitter knife with each minute's passing. All they could do was think. All they could do was weep. All they could do was miss Him. All they had was time. This one day must have felt twice as long as they hung on only to memories, doubled over in grief.
When Christ came to earth as a baby, as the Christmas song "O Holy Night" says - "the soul felt its worth", all of humanity was lifted up high in love-light and when He died - the world felt death's crush, the deep pressing, pushing down. Especially felt by those closest to Him - they were crushed.
But, they in their grief, had forgotten that with God hope and joy will always enter back into the broken, dark places:
"...weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning." (Psalm 30:5 KJV)
Friday was the cross. Saturday was the forced rest and anguish and confusion. Sunday was the rest of the story and the restoration of all history. The third day's dawn broke and The Resurrection released death's hold. To use a phrase I read recently: "Death got a death sentence". Jesus was back! He first appeared to women followers and then to the men as they were trembling, afraid and weeping until He stood among them and said "Peace be with you" (John 20:19). The next verse states they were "overjoyed when they saw the Lord". (John 20:20)
A room so recently only full of ache, sorrow, and mourning was now brimming with joy!
Jesus stayed for forty days and appeared to over 500 witnesses. This is one of the most documented, proven events in history. Not only from eye witness accounts of His followers, but of many local citizens and historians of His time. Indeed, this event changed everything. If there was a court hearing about Jesus' death and resurrection the evidence would be so overwhelming the prosecution would just go home early, head-down, knowing they had no case. All counts pointed to Innocence.
All signs pointed to yes - He is risen indeed and is indeed the awaited Messiah. This is reason for trumpeting song and dancing like crazy-person! (Which, lucky for me, is the only way I know how to dance).
Yes - this is all He asks of us. Just say "yes". Yes to peace, to joy everlasting, to everlasting life. I for one am saying 'Yes!" He beckons us with arms open wide - enter into hope's gleaming lobby and into eternal life filled with peace, joy and deep, intimate love - never to mourn again.
Easter's offering is hard to resist. I am saying "yes" and will be putting all of my eggs in this basket. You?
Question: Can you feel joy through even life's mourning moments? Are you ready to say "yes" to God's offer of everlasting joy?