It was silent.
The day after Christ died.
There are times in every Christian’s life when it feels like God is silent. Even David felt this in Psalm 28:1 when he pleads, “Unto Thee will I cry, O Lord my rock; be not silent to me: lest, if Thou be silent to me, I become like them that go down into the pit.”
Yet none of us can fathom how silent it must have been the day after Jesus’ body hung on the cross. Can we even remotely know how Mary must have felt as she watched them place the body of her beloved son into the tomb? What did it feel like for Peter and John to see the stone of the tomb seal off all their hopes and dreams? How many tears did Joseph of Arimathaea shed as he lovingly wrapped the Savior’s body in linen? What was the centurion feeling after he had realized – too late – that the man they had crucified was indeed the Son of God?
The holy temple itself must have felt eerily silent. With a veil that hung limp . . . ragged . . . torn. Of no use anymore.
If you ever have the time to read “The Day Christ Died” by Jim Bishop, I would recommend it. I am going to share some parts of the last chapter that speak to me. It ends on the evening of Christ’s death, yet the silence continued through the next day. I remember, as a young girl growing up, that my father would read part of this last chapter many Easters in his sermons. And I’d wonder at the tears that would come to his eyes as he read this. Now that I am older, I understand.
(At the tomb)
Mary of Alpheus said that she did not want to leave. She sat before the golet – the great rolling stone – and leaned her back against its beige roughness. Mary Magdalen sat down beside her. Both leaned against the stone.
It had been a long day. A very long day. . . . The grief among the followers of Jesus would be poignant, a volatile fuel which, in its own fierce flame, burns itself out quickly. They did not understand. (For a moment in time at least, they could not understand.) To their way of thinking, this was now a tragic defeat. It was not.
It was victory beyond their most exalted imaginings. He had come here to die. And he had died. He had come to preach a new covenant with his father, and he had preached it. He had come to tell man that the way to everlasting life was love – each for the other, each for him, and his love for all – and he had proved this by laying down his life in a torrent of torment – for them. . . .
Inside the sepulcher now, Jesus was not dead. If he was, then all men are dead; they creep irrevocably toward darkness. But this is not so. There were too many signs to the contrary. For two and a quarter years, Jesus pointed the way and, had he followed the dictates of his heart, he would have done nothing but cure and cure and cure. In a way, the miracles interfered with his mission, which was to preach the good news and die. His body was to be rended and its functions were to cease. In this immolation, his soul would be glorified and in this too he was pointing the way to man.
The two Marys sat with their backs to the stone. They loved him and, in their love, they missed the enormous triumph; the new promise; the good news.
They did not even notice that the sun was shining.
(parts of pages 262-264)
That second day was silent.
All heaven and earth seemed to be holding its breath.
Their human hearts and minds could not fathom what tomorrow would bring . . .