Grace, mercy and peace from God, our Father, and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
Text: Matthew 27:57-66
Jesus was dead.
In the most brutal of ways he had suffered, “Stricken, smitten and afflicted… wounded for our transgressions… bruised for our iniquities”. Rejected and scorned, mocked and insulted, he has been nailed to that cross until he finally cried out “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” Suddenly the earth shook and the rocks split as the curtain in the temple tore into two as he gave up his spirit.
Now he laid in that tomb of Joseph of Arimathea and his disciples were scattered. In many senses it had to seem like when he said “It is finished” it really was with nothing else that could be done. He was gone, and all hope had faded.
Yet, though he had died, Christ was not gone. Even as he died, even as he gave up his spirit for us and for our salvation, dying on that tree, he descended into Hell. His proclamation of victory would be preached in the furthest places as he conquered sin, death and the Devil.
There are times in all of our lives when it feels like God is absent, like He just isn’t there. We place all of our hope and our faith in Him, believing that He will help us, that He will rescue and deliver us just as He promised. Yet we can’t seem to find Him as we struggle with the challenges that are in front of us. It’s hard, leaving us to question what we had once thought we knew or understood.
The truth is that though we can’t see Him on the move doesn’t mean that He isn’t. God often works in ways that we don’t necessarily understand, concerning Himself not only with the small details of our lives but also with a grander plan that weaves itself through the course of events towards a larger purpose. He does so because we often get so focused on the small details, so much so that we end up missing the big picture and everything that it entails. In a very real sense, often times we can’t be bothered to look past the moment to see the greater course of things occurring around us by His hand. Even when he explains it to us we don’t see it, creating all sorts of worries and troubles for us that really shouldn’t be there.
It is why we have to trust God and put it in His hands, knowing that, even when we can’t see it, even when we don’t understand it, He is in control and that He is working for our greater good. Faithful and vigilant, He perpetually proves that He is on our side. Never failing us or forsaking us, giving freely unto us in the profound love and immeasurable mercy that He has for us, His grace reflecting a divine nature that elevating and uplifts us in ways we can’t even begin to imagine.
Yes, this can be hard for us, especially in a world that tells us to rely on ourselves, and that what you see is what you get. God though, as we see in our dear Savior, is not constrained to this world and our understanding of it, nor to the wisdom that it tries to foist upon us. He is at work, on the move, strengthen us, preserving us, making us more than conquerors through He who loves us.
Take heart then dear brothers and sisters, knowing that even when everything seems lost God, in His love and mercy, is at work for you. Moving in your life He is there for you in ways you can’t even begin to imagine as He gives so freely to you in the hope that He has for you. What a blessing that truly is.
Now may the peace of the Lord that transcends all human understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus even unto life everlasting. Amen.