The Second Day at the Tomb

The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. “Sir,” they said, “we remember that while He was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, His disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that He has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.” “Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.” So, they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard. – (Matthew 27:62-66, NIV)

That day was the day called Preparation Day. The next day, the leading priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. They said, “Sir, we remember that while that liar was still alive He said, ‘I will rise from death in three days.’ So give the order for the tomb to be guarded well for three days. His followers might come and try to steal the body. Then they could tell everyone that He has risen from death. That lie will be even worse than what they said about Him before.” Pilate said, “Take some soldiers and go guard the tomb the best way you know.” So they all went to the tomb and made it safe from thieves. They did this by sealing the stone in the entrance and putting soldiers there to guard it. – (Matthew 27:62-66, ERV)

 

The somber silence of Saturday, was really not so silent at all. Behind the scenes, those who had accused, tried and crucified Jesus, were now scrambling to make certain that what He had foretold, would not in any way, appear to be the truth. It is almost comical to imagine the Pharisees, chief priests and Pilate as they have their troubled exchanges, as all the while, the disciples are grieving their loss. Stealing the body was likely the furthest thing from their mind. Mary and Martha were waiting to attend to His body, to further treat it properly for burial, but taking His body from the tomb… Eww… What I love most of all about this short passage of scripture, is that Jesus’ accusers took such care to be certain the tomb was guarded and secure from the outside, yet could not control the miracle that was taking place on the inside. Can you imagine the shock and awe that was to come for the soldiers sent to guard the tomb? Soldiers who were to be wary of those who would come near the tomb, would suddenly find themselves face to face with an angel of the Lord, and then the risen Christ himself, less than twenty-four hours later. Jesus was not a liar nor a deceiver. He is the truth, the way and the life. All who choose come to Him, may know love and life everlasting in Him. Though Saturday was somewhat silent, Sunday was on its way!

 

The day in between,The Second Day at the Tomb

His death and new life;

Silence in waiting,

After sacrifice.

Scrambling soldiers,

Sent to take up guard;

They sealed Jesus’ tomb,

All passage was barred.

Pharisees fearful,

Of what Jesus said;

That after three days,

He’d no more be dead.

No sealing nor guards,

Could ever prevent;

Miracle coming,

Sunday’s big event!

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to show us Your goodness, grace and power. Thank You that You demonstrated Your incredible love for us as You willingly went to the cross and died the death that should have been ours, so that we could be forgiven and know life in You. Thank You that the grave was not the end. Thank You that hope rises, and that Sunday is coming for all. Forgive us for allowing our sorrows and grief to feel hopeless and helpless in the tomb of our heart. Thank You that You do Your miraculous work from within, so how things appear do not matter in order for You to move. Show us how to love in ways that offer hope in the same way that You do for us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace the hope that is ready to rise, each day, because of the third day at the tomb. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. – Psalm 31:24

A Silent Saturday

Pilate was surprised to hear that He was already dead. Summoning the centurion, he asked him if Jesus had already died. When he learned from the centurion that it was so, he gave the body to Joseph. So Joseph bought some linen cloth, took down the body, wrapped it in linen, and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. – (Mark 15:44-46, NIV)

 

After the devastation of the cross, a faithful few prepared Jesus’ body and buried Him in a tomb. By sun up, it would be the Sabbath, and no one would be going anywhere or doing anything. The disciples and other followers of Jesus likely spent the day in mourning. Meanwhile, the chief priests and the Pharisees were not at all at ease. They went to Pilate because they recalled the words of Jesus, and clearly had concerns about what might transpire in the coming days.

 

“Sir,” they said, “we remember that while He was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ So, give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, His disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that He has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.” – (Matthew 27:63-64, NIV)

 

Consequently, Pilate ordered his guards to make the tomb secure and to stand guard at the tomb. That Saturday, all seemed to be silent. Jewish law kept mourners from moving about and doing much of anything, and I imagine that each of the faithful followers of Jesus retreated to their own homes and pondered all that had transpired in the previous twenty-four hours. It is as if the world stopped spinning, and all were stuck in a silent space of grief and disbelief. For me, knowing the whole story, I am in a space between awe and agony at the weight of all that Jesus bore on my behalf, and the anticipation of celebration, knowing that He conquered death and rose again the very next day.  Today is a space of waiting. Silent reflection and appreciation are what flood my heart and mind. I mourn my own sinfulness, yet overflow with gratitude for the salvation that is granted because He bore it all for me. May we each find our own quiet moments to reflect on the magnitude of what our Maker did for us all as we stay in this space of sacred silence.

 

This day of waiting, A SIlent Saturday

Sabbath long ago;

The Savior, buried,

Seemed hope’s final blow.

The world lay silent,

The Savior was dead;

Where were they to go,

What could have been said?

Silent reflection,

Such grief on that day;

What could have been done,

Unrealized grace.

O painful waiting,

To go to the tomb;

Observe in anguish,

Savior’s seeming doom.

The stillness gave way,

For we know the end;

Death could not hold Him,

As He rose again.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your one and only Son to make the way for us to be restored unto You. Thank You Jesus, for bearing the weight of all of our sin upon Yourself; for we are the ones deserving sanctions of suffering, not You. Forgive us for not fully embracing the weight of what You have done for us, or for questioning whether or not Your sacrifice truly covered it all. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would receive the mercy and grace provided at the cross, and demonstrate our gratitude by living a life that ever seeks Your will. Show us how to love those around us in a way that makes the promise that joy comes in the morning no matter how dark the night appears, evident. May many come to embrace the grace that You made possible through Your death and resurrection on this holy weekend so long ago. Be glorified O God, as we set our hearts in silent reflection over all that You did to make us acceptable in Your sight. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. – John 16:22

Hold Fast to Truth

“If you hold to My teaching you are really My disciples. Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” – (John 8:31b-32)

 

Jesus is the truth that sets us free from the sin and deception that seek to entangle us. When we commit our lives to Christ, and invest our hearts and minds into learning Who He is, we are considered His disciples. However, we must not simply be readers of His word, but also doers of His word. Disciples display faith in action. As freedom is found and truth is made known, our lives should actively reflect His presence in us. May we embrace His teachings so that we know the truth, and walk boldly in the freedom that Christ bestows upon His beloved.

 

Let us each hold fast,His Mighty Power

to God’s Holy Word;

where the truth is found,

and freedom is heard.

When we choose embrace,

the teachings of Christ;

we must also move,

model a changed life.

The truth that we know,

should be evident;

in how we go forth,

in Christ, we’re content.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we come to You and seek to know You, we find You. Thank You that You reveal Yourself to us, and set us free from the sin and deception that entangle us. Thank You that equip and empower us to do Your will, as we actively seek You. Forgive us for not investing in our relationship with You, or for not holding fast to the truth of Your Word. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will be quick to hold fast to all that You have promised, no matter how things appear. Lead us to be faithful doers and not mere talkers. Help us to love others as You so abundantly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You this season, as they encounter the truth of who You are, and what You have done for them, individually. Be exalted O God, as we actively reflect Your presence in us. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. – Psalm 23:6

Directions for Discernment

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWalk in obedience,

to the Lord’s commands;

that’s love one another,

serve Him with heart and hands.

As from the beginning,

and still now it is heard;

love well one another,

to be true to His word.

His heart is for people,

and so ours should be too;

let us love with our lives,

may our hearts become new.

For when we are in Him,

we recognize what’s true;

He shows us what is false,

lest we’d be deceived too.

Keep eyes on Christ Jesus,

invest time in His word;

for He bestows wisdom,

to know what should be heard.

Steer clear of false teachers,

do not welcome them in;

such ugly deception,

will lead many to sin.

(Responding to 2 John 6-11)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your word that teaches us how we are to live and more of who You are. Thank You for Your Holy Spirit, who clarifies and solidifies what is truth from You. Forgive us for not always being tuned in to what Your Spirit is saying, and teach us how to hear You well. May our time spent with You – in Your word, in worship and in prayer – provide wisdom and propel passion for truth. Help us to hear Your still small voice, so that we can be quick to decipher what is from You, and what is not. Protect our hearts from pride and ignorance, and deepen our wisdom in Your word and Your ways. May many turn to You as we are faithful to walk in truth. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

Joseph’s Journey

image by agricorner.com

image by agricorner.com

Sold as a slave

for a far away land.

By his own jealous brothers,

who justified their plan.

Poor Jacob, he mourned,

at the loss of his son.

Good thing he knew not

of what his boys had just done.

Joseph found favor

as Potiphar’s charge,

for he kept house and field,

and the blessings grew large.

As God’s upright man

Joseph refused to go near the fire,

so Potiphar’s wife lied,

when he refused her desire.

The lie landed him in prison,

yet on him, God’s favor was found.

He was given charge by the warden,

and his dream interpretations did astound.

Banished officials were restored,

and events unfolded as Joseph had said;

for the cup bearer was reinstated,

and the baker, from the tree, hung dead.

Two years passed and Pharaoh had dreams,

of cows and grain, that were disturbing.

He called on all who might explain,

yet only found more confusion.

Then the cup bearer did recall,

that Joseph had clearly explained,

the meaning of he and the baker’s dreams,

and all had happened as he had exclaimed.

Pharaoh sent at once for him

and told Joseph of his dreams.

With God’s favor and assurance,

he explained what the imagery means.

Seven years of vast abundance,

will spread across the land,

followed by seven years of ferocious famine,

like none this region’s ever had.

Thirteen years of bondage,

was Joseph’s faithful training ground.

His heart and mind prepared well,

in all his years of being bound.

(Response to Genesis 37, 39-41)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that so often what we see, is not what You see. What we perceive as trials, You see as training. Lord, please establish in each of us, endurance and faithfulness to trust that all things will work together for good in Your time. Thank You that Your love and Your grace will sustain us and strengthen us, even when we think that our strength is gone. May our faithfulness in the times of training, lead the lost into Your loving arms. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present