“Joseph took the body . . . and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut
out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and
went away” (Matthew 27:59–60, NIV).
Jesus had just been crucified and was now lying in a tomb. As a massive stone
was rolled to seal the doorway, everyone had a sad sense of finality. Scripture
says a group of women, including Mary Magdalene, was sitting opposite the tomb.
Those women must have been heartbroken. I can almost hear the despair in their
voices: “What will happen now that Jesus is gone? How do we go on?”
Today we know the end of the story. We know that when Jesus said from the
cross, “It is finished,” He had conquered sin. We know that with His
resurrection He had conquered death. And we know that He did it all for us.
But what if we did not know the end of the story, as those women at the tomb?
What were the eleven disciples thinking as they hid at a distance behind locked
doors (see John 20:19)?
I do not think we can fathom what Jesus’ death meant to His passionate
followers. They had believed their Master was the hope of the world, the
salvation of Israel, the light to the Gentiles. He was the great healer,
raising the dead and setting captives free, preaching the good news to the
poor. He was the embodiment of the new kingdom He preached about. As they
thought back to His words, “It is finished,” they must have thought He meant,
“It’s over. This is the end of the story.”
All too often, as Christians endure the trials of life, this is the message
they believe. They see no hope beyond their difficult situation. All they can
see is a stone permanently rolled into place separating them from hope. Yet
they are seeing things from this side of the stone. If only they knew what God
is doing for them on the other side of the stone.
Maybe life has presented you with a hard, impassable situation. As you read
this do you wonder, “Is God at work in my circumstance? Is Jesus really
triumphant — in me? Can He really save me from this situation? I just don’t
see a way forward.”
I tell you, God is on the move in your life at this very moment. The stone is
being rolled away. Light is breaking forth and your Hope stands there in the
doorway: Jesus! He has triumphed over all the powers of darkness and His
victory is yours by faith.