There were stars in the sky that night. Bright, glistening stars on an ebony background. It was the interim. The night between two days. The first, a day of deep sadness and distress. Agonizing. Horrific. The second, a day of jubilee. Victory. Light. But that night was like any other, mostly. There were stars in the sky that shone down on a barren hill, where you might have never guessed three men had been crucified the day before. Stars that shone down on a garden, and a stone where tears and blood mingled together. Tears that fell from the Almighty God as he wept over what must be done to ransom his Beloved. Those stars cast their glow upon houses where some slept unhindered, and others wept unceasing. Those same stars watched in expectation over a tomb guarded by Rome’s best detachment of soldiers, sealed with an unbroken cord. Tiny bursts of light amidst a vast expanse of darkness, those stars were. Waiting for the earth to give up its dead. For Jesus to arise. Heaven’s glory shined like mini-beacons all across the sky, watching for the glorious day to come.
He was no longer on the cross. He was wrapped again in a familiar swaddling cloth and laid gently in another man’s tomb. A man so overcome with grief he might never have felt the promise of a risen Christ. No doubt, those closest to Jesus were so overwhelmed by his death that Saturday was a haze. The hours gliding past unnoticed. Food untouched. Stomachs unsatisfied because hearts were so devastated. All their hope was in him, and he was in a tomb. Dreams died that night. Hope failed.
Saturday convinced them of the reality: Jesus was dead. Now in a tomb. Not coming back. They were too engrossed in their grief to remember His promise. He told them he would rise. They knew the scriptures, but their hearts convinced them that second day of the finality. Jesus was dead. Darkness had won. Most likely, no one noticed the stars.
Those stars would have told them to hold on. That darkness, no matter how deep, can be pierced and driven back by light. That light, no matter how small, can render darkness ineffective. The stars would have told them to hold on to hope, for morning was coming. There would be a glorious new day. It was just ahead. All they had to do was watch and wait. Dawn was coming. Death and darkness would be defeated by the sun. By the Son! As surely as it would rise again, so would Jesus!
Look up, Beloved. The stars are there still, telling us the same thing. In the midst of our sorrows, our overwhelming grief, they are bidding us hold on. The sun will rise. The Son will rise. And no matter how dark it gets, even a pinprick of light is enough to stave off the fearful gloom of night. There is a dawn approaching. Our Christ is on His way. He is not defeated. He is no longer dead. He’s alive, and we will see him again.