Joy Comes in the Morning

April 3, 2022

Jesus said to them, "You will all fall away because of Me this night. For it is written, 'I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.' But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee" (Matthew 26:31-32; Mark 14:27-28). 

Many years ago, Nancy and I took a tour of Alcatraz Island in the San Francisco Bay. Alcatraz was once a federal prison that housed some of the most notorious criminals in the nation. Al Capone was once incarcerated there. Although it is said that no one had successfully escaped from Alcatraz, there are some who believe brothers John and Clarence Anglin, and Frank Morris might have succeeded in one of the greatest prison escapes in American history. Over the years the salt water and air, and the persistent fog caused the iron and brick and mortar to decay. It also became too expensive to supply the prison with food, drinkable water, medications, clothing, mail etc. because it had to be ferried out to the island every day. So, the prison was closed.

While we toured the then closed prison, I had the opportunity to experience ‘the hole’ (solitary confinement) for 2 minutes. I had never experienced such darkness. 2 minutes seemed like an hour. It was frightening. I was glad when the ranger opened the door and I could get out.

It would seem to me that the disciples experienced that same kind of ‘darkness of the heart’ when it finally sank into their consciousness that Jesus was going to die. Up until that time they didn’t take Jesus’ words about His death seriously. But when they experienced all that took place at the last Passover with Jesus, they finally got it. Jesus’ soul was troubled, and their souls became troubled. Judas Iscariot left the house, and it was night (John 13:30). Physical darkness enveloped him. Spiritual darkness possessed him. But the disciples didn’t experience spiritual darkness. Theirs was a mental and emotional darkness that manifests itself in panic, depression, even despair. Their world would come crashing down on them if Jesus died. All of their hopes and dreams and desires would slip through their fingers like sand. What would they do?

The psalmist sang (Psalm 30:4-5) Sing praise to the LORD, you saints of His, and give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name. For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. Jesus said to His desparing disciples, after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee. It was difficult enough for them to accept the fact He would be condemned to die, but resurrection? How? He raised people from the dead during His ministry. Who would raise Him from the dead? 

Very early in the morning, on the third day after His crucifixion, Jesus rose from the dead. Scripture says all three Persons of the Godhead raised Jesus up from the tomb. The Father was involved in raising Jesus from the dead (Galatians 1:1), as was the Holy Spirit (1 Peter 3:18; Romans 1:4; 8:11), as was Christ Himself (John 2:19; 10:18). But the point is that in the midst of the darkest time in their life, Jesus gave those whom He loved the brightest star to guide them through their spiritual night - the assurance of His resurrection. Though they didn’t understand it at the time, they would come to appreciate this awesome and wonderful promise from the Lord. Amen.


Share this with your friends