Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Darkest Night - April 19, 2014

John 3:13-15 (New International Version)
13No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man. 14Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.

Psalm 16:8-11 (New International Version)
8 I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

9 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure,

10 because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay.

11 You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Hosea 6:2 (New International Reader's Version)

2 After two days he will give us new life. On the third day he'll make us like new again. Then we will enjoy his blessing.

Matthew 12:40 (New International Version)
40For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

1 Peter 3:18-25 (New International Version)
18For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit, 19through whom also he went and preached to the spirits in prison 20who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, 21and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22who has gone into heaven and is at God's right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.

The disciples fled and hid from the authorities, and they thought that their commitment to this man, who brought them closer to God than they ever could imagine, had led them only to darkness and despair. They forgot the words that He spoke that touched their hearts, and they forgot the joy they felt in His presence. They forgot the miracles that freed the oppressed, and they forgot the way he brought joy to the brokenhearted. Now their only companion was guilt and shame, for they had deserted their friend and their Teacher, who had loved them so much.

We too are confronted by the weight of our sins, and we can't imagine anything or anyone could free us from our burden. We cower in the darkness because of the guilt and shame for the things we have done, and we long to be set free from the pit, this grave we have found ourselves in. We look for our Savior who will take it all away, and bring us out to a place of relief.

Although the events of the crucifixion may have seemed like the darkest night, they were only the first step as Jesus set out to overcome the grave. You see He was not only fully man, but He was the Son of God, fully God, and He has set out to prepare the way out for us all. The way to be reconciled to the Father, and to free us from the burden of our sin. Even though Death and Evil sought to keep Him in the grave, He would defeat these foes, and overcome them for us all.

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