(But even before Mary Magdalene and the disciples came to the garden that first Easter, there were others…)
The gore of Golgotha over, most of the onlookers have long since dispersed, some into hiding.
The man from Arimathea and the others have long since wrapped Jesus’ body in linen and placed it in the tomb, now sealed. Only the guards remain.
I wonder how it was for those watchmen in the wee hours of the third day when Jesus rose again.
Were they feeling a little sleepy, leaning against the rocks the moment power crackled life into a man two days’ dead? Were they perhaps looking right at the stone sealing the tomb when some sudden brilliant light pulsed through every crevice in that rock as life coursed back into the Man’s body? Did their legs and hearts suddenly go weak for fear as the slab rolled back of its own accord and Jesus walked out?
There is no record of what happened to the watchmen, but one thing is for sure: they weren’t expecting the battered lifeless body of Jesus to emerge alive and well on its–His–own.They weren’t expecting the power of God. I think of this when I consider how God’s power surprises us.
We mourn the death of a dream, a plan, or a loved one and into that dead place God sparks hope: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” (Jeremiah 29:11, KJV)
We consider the tomb of some ideology, belief, or philosophy that traps a culture or a family member and God rekindles expectation: “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.” (Mark 10:27)
We see only the night, the bleak, the hopeless, and God quickens His word: “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
We see death; God powers life.
Because of the curse of Calvary and the joy of Easter we have the blessings of help and hope and life here and for eternity.
The watch is over.