The silence of the grave seemed deafening to the disciples. Everything they had seen Jesus do, every word He preached, every miracle He performed met their end on the cross. He didn’t come off of the cross with power and authority, he was carried off—a limp, bloodied, lifeless shell of the man he was.
It seemed that Jesus was at the mercy of evil without the ability to stop it. Grave clothes seemed to be the triumph of death and they wrapped him as they had wrapped Lazarus. They wrapped Him as every other man or woman or child who died to be placed in a tomb for the final goodbye.
The tomb was sealed with a stone too large for a man to move alone, then guarded heavily by the Roman sentry. Now off-limits and out of sight—Jesus…
Saturday passed in disbelief, confusion, fear and grief for his disciples. It was too silent. The death was too final. Their future was too uncertain. Nothing was the same, they were forever ruined. They couldn’t bring Him back—Jesus…
This would have been the golden opportunity for a man who just carried the weight of the world through a gruesome crucifixion to exit the world that killed him. He didn’t need to even consider looking back. He could have ended His relationships, re-considered His promises, disappeared to never return. But Jesus didn’t take the opportunity of the grave to exit our lives and leave us to our sin. He didn’t stay dead. He never intended to.
The death of Jesus sent an immediate tremor through hell for the victory Satan thought he had secured became a nightmare of epic proportions as the Son of God, no longer bound by flesh and blood entered hell. He wasn’t invited, but He needed no permission. Preaching liberty to the captives, and taking the keys of death, hell and the grave, Jesus dethroned the Prince of Darkness, stripping him of all power and authority, and rendered Satan’s armies defenseless. Taking captivity captive, Jesus triumphed over the power of hell leaving it a limp, lifeless, shell.
Then the Spirit who descended on Jesus like a dove at the River Jordan descended again into the tomb. Into the tightly wrapped lifeless corpse of the Son of God blew the breath of the Holy Spirit. Every cell in Jesus’ body responded and transformed. What was dead became living. What was broken became whole. What was finite took on the body of the Infinite, and what was rendered powerless through lifelessness burst from the grave with a resonance that rippled across time and reached into the future to raise lives from the grave who hadn’t even yet begun to live. Jesus was alive!
His raising from the dead meant that everything He promised He would fulfill. His raising from the dead meant all power belonged to Him and Him alone. His raising from the dead meant hope could not be killed, and miracles were meant to be our new normal. His raising from the dead was another installment on the promise He made to us—”because I live, you also will live.” (John 14:19)