Jesus was dead. All was darkness.
The greatest surprise I ever experienced happened in the dark.
My father and I were sitting on a boat in the ocean. We were far enough from land that we couldn’t see any light, and both of us were gazing toward the eastern horizon.
Thousands of miles away lay the African coast, but all we could see was darkness. I could hear the splashing of the waves, and periodically the white crest of one would catch my eye if it came close enough.
All of a sudden, on the horizon, I began to notice a red glow. I rubbed my eyes. Perhaps it was only fatigue. However, the red glow grew brighter. It appeared as if the dark sea had caught fire.
I finally asked, “Dad, what is that?” His tone assured me that we were not in danger, but his only answer was, “Keep watching.”
I did. It seemed like years went by as the red glow grew. Now, the inky water caught fire with orange, red, and yellow shadows. I began to see the outline of the horizon line.
Finally, in the crescendo moment, the red rim of the full moon peered up over the rim to glimpse his face in the black water.
“The moon!” I cried, relieved and awed. I have never seen the moon like that again, but I have never forgotten the startling surprise it gave me or the power it seemed to have in that dark place.
Jesus was dead. All was darkness, yet His word whispered, “Keep watching.”
The inside of an egg is also a dark place, filled with mystery and surprise. We recently candled eggs to see if new life was forming inside.
When the light revealed chicken embryos, no larger than my pinky fingernail, moving and kicking within, my daughters gasped. Could it be that life had formed in that dark place? The unmistakable blood vessels and rejoicing embryo proved that it had.
Now, they wait for hatch day, ready to see life emerge from the egg and blink into the light of this world. Keep watching, girls.
Jesus was dead. Darkness enshrouded Him, seeming to shut Him in and hold Him tight, yet life was welling up, ready to break through and shout, “Keep watching!”
This present darkness threatens to swallow us, heart, soul, mind, and strength, and keep us from seeing the light of Easter morning. War, inflation, poverty, loss, grief, deception, and evil are like a tomb holding us inside.
But the spark in the darkness surprises most.
Instead of being swallowed by the darkness of death, Jesus “will swallow up death forever.” He will “wipe away tears from all faces.” He will “take away the reproach of His people from the earth.” He will “raise us to walk in newness of life.”
I see the glow on the horizon. I see the movement within the egg. I see the spark.
Keep watching, friends. Keep watching.