Terry Casales - April 11, 2020
When it seems like things are at their darkest. When it seems like nothing is happening and every hope, every dream and every promise has died and has been buried. When you start to think that all of the waiting and all of the contending has been for nothing. When it seems like evil has won. Then everything goes silent.
Beloved, all is not as it seems. It is in the darkness where transformation happens. It is in the darkness of night that something is in the last stages of development before it gives birth to something extraordinary.
It is in the pause - in the Selah - the time of Sabbath rest - that God is at work. To the disciples, the death of Jesus was a major setback. But in the mind and in the heart of God it was a setup. While they mourned, Jesus conquered death so that we would have eternal life in Him:
Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
Hebrews 2:14-15 - NKJV
Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead was a sneak preview of what was about to take place. As always, Jesus did what He saw His Father doing, only this time His Father revealed to Him what He was going to do before He did it. Abba asked Jesus to trust Him in the Selah - to wait until Lazarus died - to wait three days later after Lazarus’ sisters had sent word that His friend was dying.
On the Shabbat when Jesus' body was placed in the garden tomb, the disciples were no doubt thinking, “How can Jesus, the One who said, ‘I Am the Way the Truth and the Life’, die?” Every hope they had was buried in that tomb. Jesus the "Hope of glory" was buried in that tomb.
They were so grief-stricken that they forgot, in the case of Lazarus, that Jesus waited days before He was allowed to manifest a miracle. Jesus waited on His Father in humble obedience, trusting Him to do the miracle at His perfect timing.
The disciples did not think that they would also be required to wait, with faith and expectation that the promised miracle will indeed follow. Even though Jesus told them what would happen in advance - that He would be crucified, that He would die, that He would be buried and that He would be raised from the dead three days later - the reality of the traumatic events leading to His death that they all witnessed and endured shook them to their core. The pain they were experiencing on that Shabbat was so intense they could not see beyond it. It is much the same way when a mother goes into labor - she has done everything to prepare for this moment - but when the moment actually comes, she cannot see past the pain she is experiencing - all she can do is think about the pain in the moments of labor leading up to the birth of her baby.
It is important to note that Jesus predicted His death, burial and resurrection three times as a way to prepare the hearts and minds of His disciples:
From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day. Matthew 16:21 - NKJV
Now while they were staying in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is about to be betrayed into the hands of men, and they will kill Him, and the third day He will be raised up.” And they were exceedingly sorrowful. - Matthew 17:22-23 - NKJV
Now Jesus, going up to Jerusalem, took the twelve disciples aside on the road and said to them, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death, and deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock and to scourge and to crucify. And the third day He will rise again.” Matthew 20:17-19 - NKJV
It is in the Selah - in the pause - when the enemy tries to take advantage and begins to sow seeds of doubt in our minds - in much the same way the serpent sowed seeds of doubt in Eve’s mind in the garden. “Did God really say that?” “Did God really say if you eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall surely die?” Satan used the same tactic in the disciples’ minds. The enemy tried to take advantage of their fragile emotional state. “Did Jesus really say that He would rise from the dead three days later?” “Is Jesus really who He says He is?”
This is the point where our faith is the most tested - in the Selah - in the dark night of the soul - in the time of waiting - that time between receiving the word of promise to seeing the promise fulfilled. It is here where we must choose whether we believe God is who He says He is or we don’t.
We must choose to either believe what the world says and base our faith on what is seen or base our faith on what God says. Either we follow the world or we follow Jesus. In light of what is happening right now on earth we need to allow God to search our hearts and ask ourselves, “What are we choosing to believe? Whose voice are we listening to? Which narrative will we trust?”
Will we choose to see with eyes of faith or through our natural eyes?
Psalm 30:5 says:
Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.
Beloved, it is always darkest before the dawn. Take heart because Sunday is coming! It already came! Jesus is Risen! Jesus is alive! Our Savior is here! Our Healer is here!
God already made a way where there seems to be no way! Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life!
The garden tomb is empty! Rejoice because salvation is here!!
who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed. - 1 Peter 2:24 - NKJV
And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it. His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men.
Matthew 28:2-4 - NKJV
But the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. Matthew 28:5-6 - NKJV