Resurrection Sunday: Roll Away the Stone
“So they went and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone and setting a guard.” – Matthew 27:66 (ESV)
This Lesson is eight of eight compiled for Holy Week 2019. Eight individual stories where God used inanimate rocks or stones to further His Kingdom for His Glory. Inanimate Objects. Rocks, water, bread. All things which are dead or at least NOT living. All things that without action upon it by something living remain sedentary, unchanged, lifeless. Enter Jesus.
After a heinous beating with whips, an unfathomable march up a mountain, and a gruesome crucifixion, the Savior of the world was officially declared dead. As His final breath expired from His lungs, the hope of His disciples and the hopes of the world expired as well.
His battered body was wrapped in cloth and then placed inside a tomb. To be certain that no one would steal His body or pretend that He had somehow resurrected from the dead, Pontius Pilate had the tomb sealed with a large and heavy stone and then protected by an armed guard.
The hope of the world was dead, imprisoned in darkness, and guarded with swords and violence. Who would dare to hope again when Hope itself was out of sight, untouchable, and barricaded behind immovable obstacles?
How often do we feel this way in life? Sometimes hope in this life feels utterly dead and beyond restoration. Close relationships horribly fracture. Unexpected reversals in our health entangle us. Loss of jobs or loss of loved ones create fear and insurmountable grief. Instead of a day or two of hopelessness we find ourselves engulfed in a season of it. Long and bleary weeks of overcast skies and dreary rain can cause us to forget that the sun is still alive and bright behind the shield of clouds.
Jesus rose from the dead. The soldiers were paralyzed with a holy fear. The gargantuan stone we effortlessly rolled aside. The Savior of the world walked out of the grave to trample the reality of death and to permanently unleash hope into the world.
In Romans 15:13 we read, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope” (ESV). The God of the universe introduces us to Himself as “the God of hope,” and affirmed this title when He raised His Son from the dead. In I Peter 1:3 we are reminded that Jesus is “a living hope.”
God desires hope to abound in our lives.
Despite the pain and chaos of this world, and despite the days where we feel like our hopes in this life are dead and sealed behind a stone, we must remember that our hope lives. He is alive in us. He manufactures hope around us. He resurrects dead things, lifeless dreams, and crushed hopes. And one day soon He will return and “make all things new” (Rev 21:5, ESV).