Wintonbury Lent Devotional | Week 7
God in the Silence
by Dawn Hambrecht
Jesus is Laid in the Tomb
“Circumstances never really define reality.” Jennifer Kennedy Dean in Live a Praying Life
The last hours before the crucifixion, the disciples experienced unexpected circumstances. They watched as their promising new leader was arrested, bound, spat upon, reviled, falsely accused, and then hung between two prisoners. In the confusion and misunderstanding of the events they failed to pray, fled, denied knowing Jesus, and from a distance watched him be nailed to a cross and mocked until his final breath.
Later, Joseph, in a final act of love, or perhaps resignation to his death, asked Pilate for permission to perform the burial ritual. What did he feel as he wrapped the body? Was it sadness, disappointment, hopelessness? Jesus was dead. Everything Joseph and the other followers had hoped for ended in a tomb, a tomb of silence.
The disciples’ reaction to the tomb was based on circumstances. They used their mental ability and physical senses to grasp the meaning of the situation. They perceived the tomb as the end of the promise for a future and a hope. In contrast to the disciples, we know the conclusion of the story; the stone was rolled away and his body wasn’t there. We know that after three days of humanly perceived silence, Jesus rose and then appeared to many.
We must be careful not to define reality by the circumstances that surround us. When we feel like there is silence, we need to listen to the Spirit speaking to our hearts. In the tomb period the followers heard nothing, but God was at work, preparing the miracle of Easter. The silence was misinterpreted using their finite human intellect and senses. In reality, God was establishing his kingdom on earth and fulfilling the salvation plan for all men for all time.
In earthly moments of silence may we stand firm in our faith and refuse to join others who question, “Where is your God?” I pray we would not run away in fear, or break under pressure of the majority like Pilate, or stand with indifference as Jesus is mocked, or exchange our faith for some idol like the crowd who demanded Barabbas. I pray we would not deny our relationship to the Savior or doubt His presence like Thomas. The silent tomb is not the reality – it is another step to the kingdom that cannot be shaken.
God help us to perceive with our spiritual mind that You are actively at work and preparing an ascension, a revelation, a transformation greater than we can think or imagine. No circumstantial tomb can ever keep the reality of God and his power from His eternal plan or purposes. Awaken our faith and open our eyes to see the spiritual realm, your kingdom reality.
Questions for Reflection
Which circumstances are you presently interpreting with your intellect and physical senses?
How can the disciples’ experience and God’s word help change your perspective? What actions will help you as you wait on God?