Daily D – Luke 24:1-3
But very early on Sunday morning the women went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. They found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. So they went in, but they didn’t find the body of the Lord Jesus. LUKE 24:1-3 (NLT)
Last weekend, a friend’s bride of many years passed away. Not only was there no visitation for the family, no funeral to celebrate her life, there was also no burial. She will be interred in the national cemetery. When this task is completed, the family will be notified and they can then go and see the burial site. Death is cruel in the best of times. Death during a pandemic is brutally so.
Years ago, when I was in college and working for my hometown radio station, I was reading obituaries during the news. Yes, small-town radio stations do things like that. One of my coworkers was hanging around trying to make me laugh. I did my best to ignore him until I read about a man being buried in the Good Hope Cemetery. Then I lost it. Fortunately, I was in control of the microphone switch and was able to turn it off so that I could laugh out loud before continuing to read.
Good Hope sounded to me like an odd name for a cemetery. Perhaps not in light of Heb. 9:27, 28:
And just as each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment, so also Christ was offered once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people. He will come again, not to deal with our sins, but to bring salvation to all who are eagerly waiting for him.
Because of what happened between the silent sadness as Good Friday gave way to Holy Saturday and it, in turn, yielded to the First Day of the Week, the beginning of a New Era, a New Age, there is such a thing as Good Hope. Because Jesus “was offered once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people,” “he will come again, not to deal with our sins, but to bring salvation to all who are eagerly awaiting for him.”
Friday night was dark, very dark. Joseph of Arimathea, a member of the Jewish high council (23:50) and who was rich (Matt. 27:57), along with Nicodemus who had previously come to see Jesus at night (John 3:1-21), took Jesus and laid him to rest in Joseph’s tomb. Saturday was as solemn as a graveyard. “But very early on Sunday morning . . .” (24:1) an age ended as the darkness before dawn faded into everlasting light. The age of death being the land of No Hope was over. Every cemetery is a seedbed of assurance for those who know Jesus as Savior. Death has been defeated.
“But very early on Sunday morning . . .”
The worst days ever in the history of the world were swallowed alive by the best day yet. Our good hope, our great confidence, is that coming soon, death will finally, ultimately give way to life without end. Our final night will turn into everlasting day.
All because “they didn’t find the body of the Lord Jesus,” (v. 3). You know the events of the rest of that day. Everyone ran everywhere they went. Except for two guys who went on a long walk (vv. 13-34) before running back to where they started. Some news must be shared now. It cannot wait.
And so a day that began with a negative conjunction (“But”), ended with a question: What does this make possible? Of all the possibilities, one stands out whenever we visit a cemetery. It’s good hope.
I will live with good hope.
Our Father, thank you for the great reversal you engineered on that best day of all days yet. Now we live in the good hope of an even better day yet to come. Between these days, we will live with good hope that as dark as it may appear, there is an endless day of eternal light on the way. Amen.
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2 Chronicles 35:25 Jeremiah composed laments for Josiah, and to this day all the male and female singers commemorate Josiah in the laments. These became a tradition in Israel and are written in the Laments. (NIV)
2 Chronicles 33:15, 16 He got rid of the foreign gods and removed the image from the temple of the Lord, as well as all the altars he had built on the temple hill and in Jerusalem; and he threw them out of the city. Then he restored the altar of the Lord and sacrificed fellowship offerings and thank offerings on it, and told Judah to serve the Lord, the God of Israel.
Matthew 3:8 “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.”
2 Kings 20:2, 3 Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, “Remember, Lord, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.
Isaiah 65:24 “Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.”