Darkest Just Before Dawn

Darkest Just Before Dawn
John 20:1-18

Look with me at John 20:11.
But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb.” (John 20:11 ESV)

Luke tells us that Mary was one of three women who, the night before, had gone out and bought spices and aromatic resins to anoint the body of Jesus. John tells us that Mary went out to the tomb so early in the morning that it was still dark.

There is a saying that it always darkest just before dawn. Matthew, Mark, and Luke tell us that when the three women got to the tomb the sun had risen. In the light of the newly risen sun, they saw that the stone was removed from the mouth of the tomb.

The followers of Jesus had no hope. They were not expecting the resurrection. John 20 tells us that Mary stood outside the tomb weeping. She was not excited that the stone was removed. An angel asked her, "Woman, why are you weeping?" She said, "They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him." (John 20:13 ESV)

Jesus had told them that He was to be crucified and that He would rise up after three days, and He had told them repeatedly. However, as John says, “...for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead.” (John 20:9 ESV) Jesus rebuked them for their unbelief.

We are so much like them! We are slow to believe and often do not understand all that the Scriptures say. Too often it can be said about us: we do not read the Scriptures, we do not understand the Scriptures, we do not know the Scriptures.

Is it any wonder we find ourselves often weeping and in darkness?

The followers of Jesus were about to have their world turned upside down. They thought death had the final word. But you and I know what happened. Let’s read Jesus’ first words after the resurrection.
Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?" Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away." Jesus said to her, "Mary." She turned and said to him in Aramaic, "Rabboni!" (which means Teacher) (John 20:14-16 ESV)

Please notice that when He said her name, “Mary,” she immediately recognized Him. Suddenly, all the darkness was gone, all the despair and sorrow were gone.

It was at this time of day when these events happened. The sunrise can remind us that the Lord’s mercies are new every morning. The sunrise can remind us that Jesus defeated death and the grave. The sunrise can remind us that in the face of any darkness, despair or challenge we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” (Romans 8:37 ESV)

Whatever challenge you face, let’s remember what Jesus said to a woman who had just buried her brother.

"I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die." (John 11:25-26 ESV)

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