Resting and Waiting

Matthew 27:57-66, Luke 23:50-56

It was the end of a brutal day. A day that had been full of beatings and ridicule, of betrayal and heartbreak, of angry crowds and demands for death was finally over. The crowds had gone home. It was quiet. The body of the savior of the world still hung on the cross that he had willfully climbed onto. The Romans were more than content to let bodies hang on crosses indefinitely as a warning to everyone who might see it, but Jewish law was more humane. The couldn’t hang over night. They had to come down, time was of the essence, and sunset was their deadline. The Sabbath was coming with its mandated rest. For the first time in this whole ordeal Jesus is treated with dignity and respect, his body honorably prepared, wrapped and treated before it is laid to rest.

Then comes the Sabbath. I imagine those who loved Jesus were heartbroken. They were scared. They were exhausted, the events of the day too much for anyone to hold for very long. It’s fitting that rest followed Jesus’ death. On the cross a system of faith that had been based on work, on what I can bring to the table, on how closely I can follow the law was turned upside down and replaced with forgiveness and grace. Salvation wasn’t going to be found in toiling away, but rather in resting in the truth of who Jesus is and what he accomplished on the cross. The payment for sin had been settled. Creation was finally reconciled back to its creator. So, they rested, maybe more completely than anyone had rested since sin entered the world.

They rested and they waited.  Jesus had told them this day would come and that he’d rise again. They’d seen him die, but would they get to see him rise again? They’d prepared his body the best they could, and now there was nothing else for them to do. The rest was all squarely in the hands of God and whether they understood it or not, God was at work.

Resting and waiting. How can two words that seem so passive be so hard to actually do? I’m sure the difficulty is rooted somewhere in our desire to control or feel justified, but it’s in those times that we are waiting on a miracle that we are reminded of the truth that God can accomplish his will without us. He doesn’t need our help. The miracle of the resurrection was coming. They just needed to wait for God to do his thing.

How often do we become impatient with God? How often do we get frustrated with his timing, take back over, and start working things out on our own? Maybe you’re waiting on a miracle right now, praying that God will come through in a way that only he can. Allow today to be a practice in resting in God, in trusting that even when things seem the darkest, God is still working to redeem and restore.