The Privileged Life: From Deathly Darkness into Easter Light

“He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.” (Matthew 28:6)

I spent a very long minute in a tomb.

As our tour group moved ahead on the path around the Nazareth Village historic park in Israel, I lingered behind. The others had already entered and exited a family vault carved into the hillside. I wanted to see it alone.

The space was cramped, with a very low ceiling that kept even short-little-me somewhat hunkered over, but I stooped to go inside, past a stone disc propped at the doorway. Rocky walls pressed in, and very quickly I could feel a twinge of claustrophobia. I snapped a photo, and hurried back out after less than 60 seconds inside…plenty long enough.

I don’t know if this tomb was an archeological find or a reproduction example like other sections of the park. Doesn’t matter. It was creepy enough to think of myself inside a grave. I could feel the potential horror of being trapped in there, in complete darkness.

As Holy Week goes by, we think of the unimaginable agony Jesus endured on the cross. We think of His death and burial on Good Friday. We listen to the Bible accounts of Easter morning when the women found the stone rolled away, the tomb empty, the resurrected Christ appearing. It’s a “good news” ending! Jesus is alive!

But what about the day in between? The Saturday while Jesus’ body still lay in the tomb? When He was still dead?

In addition to the pain and grief of perishing on the cross, Jesus endured so much more than we could comprehend. Death. The burden of the entire weight of the world’s sins—past, present, future—on His shoulders. Complete separation from His Father and love. Complete darkness.

If you’ve ever been in the depths of a cave—or a power blackout—you know what darkness looks like. You can’t see your hand in front of your face. You can’t figure out where to go, how to escape. You’re smothered in a velvety fabric of nothingness. The absence of light is a dreadful thing.

Jesus Christ made the unthinkable choice to willingly enter the darkness of death. The Light of the World, who shone brighter than any supernova He had created, was carried to a grave to be shrouded in total gloom. No chance of escaping this grotesque place, with a heavy stone covering the exit and guards posted outside. Dead people don’t make a habit of walking out anyway.

Except…He did leave the tomb. Alive. In His own power. With an earthquake. Without anyone stopping Him. Darkness and evil could not hold Him captive.

In Matthew 28:1-8, the women who went to the tomb saw an angel of light—with a countenance like lightning—who rolled away the stone for his King and then sat on it. This messenger announced that Jesus was no longer there but had risen as He said He would. It was fitting that one of God’s heavenly host, dressed in white, should bring glad tidings of great joy in a blinding display of light—just as the angels had proclaimed at Jesus’ birth.

Yes, we need to go through the depths of Good Friday to mourn the suffering of Jesus on the cross. We need to recognize that He submitted to the darkness of the tomb on our behalf. And we need to grasp the height and depth of His love for us in promising that we, too, will someday rise from the darkness of the grave into His light of life. We need to be grateful.

The tomb no longer holds fear or the finality of death. Like the one I visited, it is empty. The Light has come, and we who follow Him are no longer in darkness. Praise God for His infinite mercies upon us. 

Hallelujah! Christ is risen indeed!

Blessed Lord, let us never forget Your salvation and victory over the grave. You have defeated the darkness of Satan and the sting of death. May we celebrate Your incredible love for us and the privilege of Your promise that we will join You in heaven. Be our Light here on earth, ever drawing us out of the darkness into Your marvelous light. Thank You, Jesus. In Your powerful name, Amen.

The view from inside the Nazareth Village tomb, Israel
Our group, waiting at the Garden of the Tomb, Jerusalem
The Garden of the Tomb was a sweet place for reflection and meditation…our group took Communion together in this place, using olive-wood cups.

#eastersunday #holylands #israel #pilgrimage #journey #jerusalem #crucifixion #emptytomb #easter #risenLord #nazarethvillage #eastermorning

© Copyright 2023 Nancy C. Williams, Lightbourne Creative (text and photography)

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

To learn more about the grace of Jesus Christ, go to this page:

7 responses to “The Privileged Life: From Deathly Darkness into Easter Light”

  1. What a neat experience, Nancy. And yes, I agree we need to go through the depths of Friday and even Saturday’s darkness to appreciate Sunday’s glorious day. Jesus is Alive.


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