“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.