Can You Trust A Fourth Day Jesus & Third Day God: When God Shows Up After You’ve Been Buried

Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament gospel narrative concerning the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ which was written and recorded by John Mark—a traveling companion of the apostle Paul, as well as Barnabas. More specifically, today’s passage is found in verses sixteen through forty-seven of the fifteenth chapter of this New Testament book. “And the soldiers led him away into the hall, called Praetorium; and they call together the whole band. And they clothed him with purple, and platted a crown of thorns, and put it about his head, and began to salute him, Hail, King of the Jews! And they smote him on the head with a reed, and did spit upon him, and bowing their knees worshipped him. And then they had mocked him, they took off the purple from him, and put his own clothes on him, and led him out to crucify him” (Mark 15:16-20).

            “And they compel one Simon a Cyrenian, who passed by, coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to bear his cross” (Mark 15:21).

            “And they bring him unto the place Golgotha, which is, being interpreted, The place of the skull. And they gave him to drink wine mingled with myrrh: but he received it not. And when they had crucified him, they parted his garments, casting lots upon them, what every man should take. And it was the third hour, and the crucified him. And the superscription of his accusation was written over, THE KING OF THE JEWS. And with him the crucify two thievs; the one on his right hand, and the other on his left. And the scriptures was fulfilled, which saith, And he was numbered with the transgressors” (Mark 15:22-28).

            “And they that passed by railed on him, wagging their heads, and saying, Ah, thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, Save thyself, and come down from the cross. Likewise also the chief priests mocking said among themselves with the scribes, He saved others; himself he cannot save. Let Christ the King of Israel descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe. And they that were crucified with him reviled him” (Mark 15:29-32).

            “And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? Which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? And some of them that stood by, when they heard it, said, Behold, he called Elias. And one ran and filled a spunge full of vinegar, and put it on a  reed, and gave him to drink, saying, Let alone; let us see whether Elias will come to take him down” (Mark 15:33-36).

            “And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost. And the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom. And when the centurion, which stood over against him, saw that he so cried out, and gave up the ghost, he said, Truly this man was the Son of God. There were also women looking on afar off: among whom was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the less and of JOses, and Salome; (who also, when he was in Galilee, followed him, and ministered unto him) and many other women which came up with him unto Jerusalem” (Mark 15:37-41).

            “And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath, Joseph of Arimathaea, an honourable counseller, which also waited for the kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus. And Pilate marvelled if he were already dead: and calling unto him the centurion, he asked him whether he had been any while dead. And when he knew it of the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph. And he bought fine linen, and took him down, and wrapped him in the linen, and laid him in a sepulchure which was hewn out of a rock, and rolled a stone unto the door of the sepulchre. And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses beheld where he was laid” (Mark 15:42-47).

            When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find the culmination of everything that took place on the night in which Jesus was betrayed Judas who was numbered among the twelve disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. The words and the language which is found here within these particular verses brings us face to face with the tremendous truth surrounding the final hours of Jesus’ life before He would ultimately declare and proclaim unto the Father in heaven with a loud voice how He commended His spirit into His hands. What so amazes me about the words found in this particular portion of Scripture is when you think about and consider the fact that it begins with the soldiers leading Jesus away into the hall, which was called the Praetorium. While it is not described here, it would be this in this particular location where the Roman centurions and the whole band of soldiers which were present there would gather themselves together. It is truly astonishing to read the words found in this portion of Scripture and to encounter and come face to face with the awesome truth that the timing of God and the hedge of protection which had previously been round about the person of Jesus had both converged with the divine will and plan of the living Father. On this particular night we find Jesus initially praying before and unto His Father who was in heaven asking if it was possible for this cup to pass, however, Jesus would also conclude His prayer with the emphatic declaration that it would not be His will which ought to be done but the will of the Father. It would be there in the garden of Gethsemane where Jesus would spend time in prayer before and unto the Father preparing Himself—emotionally, mentally, spiritually and physically for the suffering, the persecution and the affliction He was about to endure and enter into. What makes this all the more intriguing is when you think about and consider the fact that it would be there in the garden where almost in response to the prayer of Jesus the Father would temporarily lift and remove the hedge of protection which was round about Him.

            Oh I cannot help but think about and be absolutely gripped and captivated with the fact that although Jesus would enter into the garden and pray before and unto His Father who was in heaven we find the living and eternal God seemingly responding by removing and lifting the hedge of protection which was round about His Son. We would like to think that in response to the prayer of the Lord Jesus that the Father would have come to the aid and would have come to the rescue of His eternal Son, and yet the truth of the matter is that the Father remained silent, and perhaps even seemingly absent while Jesus was in the garden, and all the way through the time and point of His death. Perhaps one of the most remarkable and astonishing truths that is found within the narrative of the Lord Jesus Christ and His suffering and His death is that you would think the eternal Father would have come to the rescue of Jesus at some point during the times of His suffering, persecution and affliction. You would think the Father would have come to Him at some point during the time He was being spit upon, during the time His face would be punched and slapped, and during the time He would be scourged in the hall where the Roman centurions would enact their seditious and sadistic desires and pleasures upon the person of Jesus. You would think the Father would have looked down from heaven and would have determined and purposed that enough was enough and that He couldn’t watch His Son endure any more suffering, any more persecution, nor any more affliction. The truth of the matter, however, is that nowhere in any of the four gospels will you find it written and recorded how the Father came to the rescue of the Son during those times in which He would experience suffering. What’s more, is that the Father would not even come to the rescue of Christ as He hung there upon the cross naked and bleeding.

            The more I think about and consider this particular truth the more I am brought face to face with the awesome and powerful truth that nowhere in the four gospels will you, and nowhere in the four gospels will you find the eternal Father and living God coming to the rescue of His Son at any point during the time He was suffering in the flesh. Pause for a moment and think about the fact that from the time in the garden until the time Jesus was nailed to the beams of the cross and hung there between earth and sky the Father would not only remain silent, but would also remain absent. With this being said there were two distinct and two specific instances when there would seemingly be some relief and some type of assistance that would be provided for Jesus during this time. If you read the gospels you will find that in response to Jesus’ prayer in the garden before His Father in heaven an angel would come and strengthen Him. We dare not overlook and dismiss this particular truth, for it calls and draws our attention to the awesome and powerful truth that although the Father would and could not deliver His Son from the suffering, from the affliction and from the persecution He was about to endure and experience, He would strengthen and uphold Him. I absolutely love how Scripture records an angel coming unto Christ there in the garden strengthening Him, for it was in all reality a wonderful and powerful sign given before the eternal and only begotten Son that the path and the road before Him was set and that the Father was well aware and very much acquainted with that which He was about to endure. Although Jesus could have prayed unto the Father in heaven and the Father would have presently sent forth legions of angels to come His rescue—not only would Jesus not ask the Father for legions of angels, but neither would the Father send forth legions of angels to come to the rescue and aid of His Son. That which the Father would do, however, was send forth one of His angels that the angel sent unto the eternal and only begotten Son of the Father might be strengthened. Pause for a moment and think about the fact that instead of sending forth legions of angels to come to the rescue of Jesus in the face of what He would experience and endure the Father would send forth one of His angels to strengthen Him.

            It is truly something marvelous and worth considering when you read the words found within these passages of Scripture, for what we find within these passages of Scripture is Jesus praying before and unto His Father who was in heaven if it were possible for the cup to pass from Him, and yet how He would resolve that it would not be His will that ought to be done, but the will of His Father which was in heaven. We must needs realize, recognize and understand just how absolutely incredible this is, for instead of the Father sending forth legions of angels to deliver Jesus from the suffering He would instead send a single angel to strengthen Him. What an incredibly powerful truth it is to think about the fact that instead of sending forth legions of angels to deliver His Son from the suffering, the persecution and affliction, the Father would send an angel to strengthen His Son for that which He would experience and endure. I am absolutely convinced that when we read these words we must needs understand that there might be times within our lives when we think and perhaps even expect the eternal Father to deliver us from that which we are about to face and that which we will experience within our lives, and yet instead of the Father delivering us from those things which we are preparing to face, and instead of the Father delivering us in the midst of that which we are facing, the Father instead chooses to strengthen us. How many times within our lives have we thought and considered how the Father ought to deliver us from the suffering, from the affliction, from the persecution, and from the opposition we are presently facing, and instead of the Father delivering us from that suffering and from that affliction He instead chooses to strengthen us? What a truly intriguing thought it is to think about and consider the fact that there are times within our lives when we think and feel the Father ought to deliver us from our suffering and from our affliction, and yet the truth of the matter is that the eternal Father instead chooses to strengthen us in the midst of it.

            In order for you who might be reading these words to truly understand what this looks like I am absolutely convinced it is necessary to consider the words which the apostle Paul wrote in the eleventh and twelfth chapters of the second New Testament epistle which was written by the apostle Paul to the saints which were in Corinth. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of the importance of that which is found within these particular chapters and sets of verses, for not only do they present us with the suffering, the trials, the troubles and the tribulations and afflictions the apostle Paul faced, but they also present us with a time when the apostle Paul besought the Lord earnestly to remove something from his life, and how instead of the Lord removing that thing from his life He would instead speak directly unto His heart. What’s more, is that I am absolutely and completely convinced that directly linked and connected to the words which the apostle Paul wrote in the second epistle written unto the Corinthian saints are the words which we find in the New Testament book of the Acts which was written by the Gentile physician Luke. It is in the New Testament book of Acts we find, encounter and experience the tremendous truth surrounding the apostle Paul’s time in Corinth and how it would be there in the midst of that city the Lord Jesus Christ would indeed and would in fact appear to Him. Consider if you will the following words which are found in both the New Testament book of Acts, as well as the words which are found in the second New Testament epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the Corinthian saints:

            “After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth; and found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (Because that Caludius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome) and came unto them. And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tent makers. And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks. And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ. And when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he shook his raiment, and said unto them, Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean: from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles. And he departed thence, and entered into a certain man’s house, named Justus, one that worshipped God, whose house joined hard to the synagogue. And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized. Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, BE NOT AFRAID, BUT SPEAK, AND HOLD NOT THY PEACE: FOR I AM WITH THEE, AND NO MAN SHALL SET ON THEE TO HURT THEE: FOR I HAVE MUCH PEOPLE IN THIS CITY. And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them” (Acts 18:1-11).

            “I say again, Let no man think me a fool; if otherwise, yet as a fool receive m, that I may boast myself a little. That which I speak, I speak it not after the Lord, but as it were foolishly, in this confidence of boasting. Seeing that many glory after the flesh, I will glory also. For ye suffer fools gladly, seeing ye yourselves are wise. For ye suffer, if a man bring you into bondage, if a man devour you, if a man take of you, if a man exalt himself, if a man smite you on the face. I speak as concerning reproach, as though we had been weak. Howbeit whereinsoever any is bold, (I speak foolishly,) I am bold also. Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? So am I. Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, ins tripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stipes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches. Who is weak and I am not weak? Who is offended, and I burn not? If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities” (2 Corinthians 11:16-30).

            “It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth) such an one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth) How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. OF such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities. For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me. And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasures in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:1-10).

            The words which we find here in this particular portion of Scripture are truly something worth thinking about and considering, for the words which we find here bring us face to face with the fact that the apostle Paul was one who suffered countless trials, countless, troubles, countless tribulations, much affliction, much persecution, much oppression, and a tremendous amount of suffering. Instead of the Lord delivering him out of the suffering the Lord would instead strengthen and uphold him in the midst of the suffering. What I find so incredibly unique and powerful when reading the words which are presented before us in these particular passages of Scripture is how the Lord would appear unto the apostle Paul and declare unto Him—not only that His grace was sufficient for Him, but also that His strength was made perfect in weakness. Pause for a moment and think about how absolutely incredible those words truly are, for those words bring us face to face with the fact that instead of the Lord Jesus delivering the apostle Paul out of His suffering, out of His affliction, and out of His persecution, He would actually appear unto Him to strengthen and uphold him. Instead of the Lord removing that thing within the life of the apostle Paul the apostle would hear and receive of the Lord a wonderful and powerful declaration that the grace of the Lord Jesus was sufficient for him, and that His strength was made perfect in weakness. Even when the apostle Paul was in Corinth the Lord Jesus Christ would appear unto him and emphatically and boldly instruct and encourage him to not be afraid, but instead to speak and not hold his peace. What’s more, is the Lord Jesus would declare unto the apostle Paul that He was with him, and that no man would set on him to hurt him, for He had much people in the city of Corinth. Oh how absolutely beautiful and wonderful it is to think about and consider the words which the Lord Jesus Christ spoke unto the apostle Paul, for the Lord Jesus would not only declare unto the apostle Paul that His grace was sufficient for Him, and not only would the Lord declare that His strength was made perfect in weakness, but even while the apostle Paul was in Corinth we find the Lord Jesus declaring unto the apostle that He was with him and that no man would set on him to hurt him.

            The reason I find these words to be so absolutely and incredibly captivating when you take the time to think about them is because they bring us face to face with the awesome and powerful truth that the Lord Jesus Christ would find Himself in the garden before His Father who was in heaven, and the Lord Jesus would pray, saying, “If it be possible, let this cup pass from me.” What we must needs realize concerning the words which are found in this passage of Scripture is that not only would Jesus declare before and unto the Father that if it not be possible for the cup before Him to pass from Him lest He drink it, the will of the Father be done, but the Lord Jesus would surrender Himself fully and completely to the divine will of the Father. If there is one thing I can’t help but think about and consider concerning Jesus’ experience within the garden is that it would be after His time spent before the Father alone in prayer concerning the cup which He was about to drink that the angel would appear unto Him strengthening Him. In all reality, I would dare say that the angel which appeared unto the Lord Jesus Christ would appear to Him as a direct response and as a direct result of His prayer before and unto the Father who was in heaven hearing His prayer. It was indeed true the living and eternal Father would not deliver Jesus from the hour of suffering, and it was indeed true the Father would not deliver Jesus from the cup which was before Him which He ought to drink, but the Father would, however, send an angel unto Him to strengthen Him in the midst of His suffering, and in the midst of that which He would face, experience and endure. There is not a doubt in my mind that the living and eternal Father would indeed and would in fact send one of His holy angels unto Jesus there in the garden to strengthen and uphold Jesus in the midst of that which He would experience, for the Father knew that which His Son was about to enter into and experience. The Father knew the tremendous amount of suffering, affliction, opposition and persecution His Son was about to face, and even knew that His Son would ultimately die upon the cross at Calvary. In response to this the Father would send one of His angels unto Christ to strengthen and uphold Him in the midst of that which He experience and endure in the coming hours before He would ultimately die upon the cross.

            The more I sit here writing about the suffering and death of Jesus the more I can’t help but think about the fact that the living and eternal God would not and could not deliver His only begotten Son from the suffering, from the affliction, and from the persecution which He would face and experience. The eternal Father would not and could not deliver Jesus from the hour of His suffering, nor would or could the Father take and remove the cup which was present before the eternal and only begotten Son. That which the Father would do was send one of His angels to strengthen Him there in the garden that He might be able to drink the cup which was before Him, and that He might be able to be sustained and upheld throughout and during the whole process. With this being said, I am convinced there is another instance and occurrence within the suffering of Jesus the Christ where the Father would send one to come alongside Him to help Him. It would be in the garden where the eternal Father would send one of His holy angels unto Christ to strengthen Him, and it would be along the Via Dolorosa upon which Jesus would walk carrying His cross that the Father would send one to come alongside Him to help Him carry His cross. Although Scripture speaks of Simon the Cyrenian, the father of Rufus and Justus as being compelled by the Roman centurions to help Jesus carry His cross, I am absolutely and completely convinced that it was the Father in heaven who offered the invitation unto Simon to participate and fellowship in the sufferings which Jesus would indeed face and experience. I am absolutely and completely convinced when reading the words and verses found within the gospels concerning Simon that although he was compelled by the Roman centurions to carry the cross of Jesus, he actually served a much greater purpose within the sufferings of Christ.

            I sit here today writing these words and I am brought face to face with the tremendous and powerful reality that Simon from Cyrene would be compelled and forced to carry the cross of Jesus, and yet in that compelling there was an invitation to participate and fellowship in the sufferings of Jesus. It would be in that time of carrying the cross which Jesus Christ would die upon that Simon would feel the weight and the burden of the cross which Jesus Himself had carried, and upon which He would ultimately be crucified and killed upon. How absolutely incredible it is to think about and consider the fact that Jesus would indeed begin carrying His cross, however, there would come a point in time when Jesus would no longer be able to carry His cross, and Simon would be forced and compelled to carry the cross for Him. What a truly astonishing and remarkable thought and concept this truly is when you take the time to think about it, for it calls and draws our attention to the fact that Simon the Cyrenian would indeed be brought alongside Jesus to help Him carry the cross which He would ultimately be nailed to and crucified upon. Oh there is not a doubt in my mind that it would be Simon the Cyrenian who would not only be invited by the eternal Father to come alongside Jesus to participate and fellowship in His sufferings, but would also come alongside Jesus and help Him in the midst of the suffering which He would face and experience. I firmly and completely believe that Simon the Cyrenian was not only given an invitation to come alongside Jesus and participate and fellowship in His sufferings, but Simon was invited to come alongside the person of Jesus Christ to help Him carry His cross. I firmly believe that Simon the Cyrenian would indeed and would be invited by the Father to come alongside His eternal and only begotten Son to help Him in the hour and time of His suffering—and not only to come alongside to help Him, but to come alongside Him to help Him carry the cross.

            There would be an angel which would appear unto Jesus in the garden strengthening Jesus in the face of what was before Him and the cup which He was about to drink, and it would be while Jesus was carrying the cross the Roman centurions would compel Simon the Cyrenian to carry His cross. We must needs pay close and careful attention to the words which are found here within the four gospel narratives written concerning the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ, for it brings us face to face with the fact that during the sufferings of Christ, and even at the very beginning of the sufferings of Jesus we find an angel appearing unto Him to strengthen Him, and we find a man from Cyrene being brought unto Him to help Him carry His cross. Oh although it was indeed true the eternal Father would and could not deliver His Son from the hour of suffering, nor remove the cup which He was to drink from Him, nor even deliver Him from the cross upon which He would carry and be crucified, He would send one to come alongside Him to help Him carry the cross. I absolutely love how the eternal Father would send one to come alongside His eternal and only begotten Son to help Him carry His cross as a powerful sign and witness before and unto Him concerning His awareness of that which He was walking through and that which He was experiencing. An angel sent from God would appear unto Christ there in the garden strengthening Him before the hour and time of His suffering would in fact be manifested in the earth, and there would be one who would come alongside the person of Jesus the Christ to help Him carry the cross which He was forced to carry. Oh it wasn’t enough for Christ to simply be nailed to the cross, and even to be crucified upon the cross, for the Roman centurions would also make Him carry the very cross upon which He would continue to suffer and ultimately die. The Lord Jesus Christ would indeed and would in fact be nailed to the beams of the cross, and would indeed hang there upon the cross for a period of six hours, and yet even before He would be nailed to the cross and ultimately be killed and crucified He would be forced to carry the very cross upon which He would be killed and crucified.

            With all of this being said I find it absolutely astonishing and intriguing to think about the fact that when you read and consider the narrative surrounding the suffering and crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ you will not find any where in the four gospels where the eternal Father delivered Christ from the sufferings which He would face, experience and endure. You cannot and will not find anywhere in any of the four gospels any place where the eternal Father would come to the aid and rescue of His Son to deliver Him from the hour of suffering, nor even to remove the cup from His hand. Instead what you will find is the eternal Father seemingly absent and silent throughout the whole process. Oh it wasn’t enough that Jesus would indeed experience tremendous suffering, affliction and persecution, and it wasn’t enough for Him to carry His cross and ultimately be killed and crucified upon it, but throughout the entire process it would seem and appear that the Father was largely absent and silent. We know from Scripture that the Father was most certainly not absent in the midst of the suffering and death of His Son, and was very much aware of the suffering He would experience and walk through. There is not a doubt in my mind that the eternal Father was indeed and was very much aware of the suffering in which His Son would walk through and experience, and yet the Father would and could not do anything about it. The Father would sit upon His throne in heaven watching and observing the suffering His Son would face, experience and endure in the midst of those times and during that hour, and yet the Father would and could not do anything to deliver His Son from that hour, nor even come to His rescue. An angel would indeed appear unto Christ in the garden strengthening Him, and Simon would indeed help Jesus carry the cross unto the place of Golgotha where Jesus would ultimately be nailed and crucified, however, that would be the extent of any type of help and support during this period and process of suffering.

            The more I think about and consider this particular reality the more I can’t help but be brought to the point and place where we understand that while it was indeed true the eternal Father would not come to the rescue of Jesus during the hour of suffering, affliction and persecution upon the earth, and although the eternal Father would not come to the rescue of the only begotten Son while He was hanging there upon the cross at Calvary, the Father would ultimately and eventually come to His rescue. Oh there is a song which came out a number of years ago called “Rescue,” and the entire premise of the song is that those who sing the words contained within it need the Father to come their rescue. The entire premise of the song centers upon and is founded upon the idea and concept that we need Jesus to come to our rescue, and yet I am absolutely and completely convinced that while we might be singing these words and asking Jesus to come to our rescue, and while we might be singing these words and asking the Father to come to our rescue, we might not always recognize, understand, or even be aware of the fact that the Father might not come to our rescue at the time in which we desire and would want Him to. It is true the Father could have come to the rescue of Jesus in the garden after Judas betrayed Him, and as those soldiers and guards laid hold of Jesus and arrested Him that they might bring Him before the chief priests, the scribes and the elders. The Father could have delivered Jesus while He was standing trial before the high priest, the chief priests, the scribes and the elders of Israel. The Father could have delivered Jesus when He was being smacked, punched and while His face was being spit upon. The Father could have delivered Jesus as He stood trial before Pontius Pilate as Pilate would and could not find any fault within Jesus. The Father could have showed up and delivered Jesus before or even during that time when the Roman centurions would scourge Jesus in the Praetorium which was known as and called the hall. The Father could have showed up while Jesus was having the crown of thorns placed upon His brow, and while His face was being spat upon, and while His face was being slapped and punched.

            WE must needs recognize and understand that the eternal Father could have come to the rescue of the Lord Jesus Christ at any point during the suffering, during the affliction, and during the persecution He would face and experience leading up to His being forced to carry the cross. The Father could have delivered Jesus from having to carry the cross, and even from being nailed to the cross as He would be crucified and killed upon it. The Father could have showed up with a great show and display of force, power, glory and might while Jesus was hanging there upon the cross, and yet nowhere in any of these instances did the Father come to the rescue of His Son. The purposes, the will and the plan of the Father was far greater and far bigger than coming to the rescue of His Son, and so the Father would indeed and would in fact sit upon the throne in heaven watching His Son walk through the tremendous suffering, the tremendous persecution, and the tremendous affliction which He would face, experience and endure. The Father would not and could not come to the rescue of His Son at any point during those days and times, and yet there is something truly astonishing about that when you take the time to think about. There is something quite astonishing and remarkable when you think about and consider the fact that the Father would and could not come to the rescue of Jesus while and as He was walking through and experiencing the hour of suffering, persecution and affliction. There is something to be said about the Father who would not and could not come to the rescue of the Son during the hour and time in which He would be scourged, and in which He would have the crown of thorns placed upon His brow. There is truly something worth thinking about and considering when you think about how the Father would not and could not come to the rescue of Jesus as His hands and feet were being nailed to the beams of the cross, and even as He was hanging there upon the cross. In fact, what we must needs recognize and understand is that although the eternal Father would not and could not come to the rescue of His Son in the midst of the suffering, and although the eternal Father would not and could not come to the rescue of His Son during the process of crucifixion, the Father would in fact come to His rescue in the midst of death and burial.

            THE FATHER SHOWS UP IN THE MIDST OF DEATH! THE FATHER SHOWS UP WHEN YOU’RE BURIED! THE FATHER SHOWS UP WHEN YOU’RE BURIED IN THE GRAVE! THE FATHER SHOWS UP WHEN THERE IS NO LIFE LEFT! THE FATHER SHOWS UP WHEN THERE SEEMS TO BE NO HOPE! This reality and concept of the eternal Father not coming to the rescue of the eternal and only begotten Son of the Father is actually something worth thinking about and considering, for it calls and draws our attention to the awesome and powerful truth that although He would not come to the rescue of Jesus during and in the midst of His suffering, persecution, and affliction, He would nonetheless come unto Jesus during and at the time of death and burial. Although the eternal Father would not come to the rescue of His eternal and only begotten Son while He was hanging upon the cross, and although He allowed His Son to be killed and crucified there upon the cross He would indeed come to His rescue after His death and while His physical body lie lifeless in the midst of the tomb. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this incredibly powerful truth, for there are countless times within our hearts and lives when we want and desire the living and eternal God to come to our rescue during and in the midst of the suffering, and yet the Father seems to remain both silent and absent in the midst of it. There are times within our lives when we want and expect the eternal Father to come to our rescue while we are walking through intense trials, troubles, and tribulations, and yet the Father does not seem to show up, nor does He seem to offer type of rescue during that time. We would like to think and we would even expect the Father to show up during the days and times of our suffering and affliction, and yet the eternal Father chooses to sit back and perhaps even allow us to taste death before He actually shows up.

            This idea of the eternal Father not showing up until death has already occurred and not showing up until the body is lifeless buried within the grave is something which we must needs recognize and understand, for when we think about and consider the narrative of Jesus we must acknowledge the fact that the eternal Father did not show up during the time of His suffering, affliction and persecution. The Father was seemingly absent during the time in which the only begotten Son was suffering in the flesh, and when men spit in His face, and men slapped, punched and buffeted Him. The Father was seemingly nowhere to be found during the hour of Christ’s suffering, and allowed Him to suffer in the flesh and to be scourged by the Roman centurions. Jesus knew exactly what He would experience, and He knew exactly what He would endure, and we must needs realize, recognize and understand this, for He knew that He would suffer many things at the hands of the chief priests, the scribes and the elders of Israel. Jesus knew that He would suffer many things at the hands of sinners, and that sinners would indeed rise up against Him to carry out the seditious and sadistic desires of their heart. What’s more, is that eventually and ultimately Jesus knew that He would be killed and crucified upon the cross. Nowhere in any of the four gospels do you, nor will you find Jesus unaware of what was going to come upon and befall Him. There is not a single place in any of the four gospels where you will find Jesus unaware and caught off guard by the suffering, the affliction and the persecution He would face and experience. With this being said we must needs recognize and understand that within the four gospel narratives we will not find a single point and place where the Father showed up and came to the rescue of His Son during the hour of His suffering, nor even when He hung there upon the cross. The Father allowed His Son to experience and endure the suffering which was ordained and appointed for Him, and the Father allowed His Son to be scourged and crucified, and would not show up until He was dead and buried in the grave.

            Pause for a moment and think about how absolutely incredible that truth truly is, for the eternal Father would not show up in the midst of the suffering, and He would not show up in the midst of the affliction and persecution, and He would not show up until Jesus was already dead and His lifeless body buried in the grave. The Father would not show up while Jesus was hanging there upon the cross, and would not show up until after He had already given up the ghost, after His lifeless body was brought down from the cross, and after He was buried in a borrowed tomb. What’s more, is that in all reality the Father would not show up until the third day after Jesus was buried in the tomb and buried within the grave. Stop and think about the fact that not only would the eternal Father not show up during the hour of suffering, and not only would the eternal Father not show up during the six hours Jesus was hanging there upon the cross, but the Father would also not show up until the third day after Jesus’ lifeless body was buried in the borrowed tomb. How absolutely astounding it is to think about and consider this particular truth and reality, for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous truth surrounding the rescue of the Father and the suffering, the death and the burial of His Son. We would like to think the Father would have come to the rescue of the Son at some point during the hour of His suffering, and we would like to think the Father would have come to the rescue of the Son at some point while He hung there upon the cross, and yet the Father would not show up until after Jesus was buried in the grave. Not only this, but the eternal Father would not show up until the third day after Jesus’ lifeless body was buried and was lying in the grave. It is important for us to think about, consider and recognize this, for it causes us to come face to face with and be confronted by the fact that there are times within our lives when the Father does not show up during the hour of suffering, and does not show up during the hour of our death and crucifixion. What’s more, is there are times when the Father does not even show up immediately after we have been dead and our lifeless body has been buried.

            I find myself being absolutely captivated and gripped with and by this reality as it forces us to acknowledge and come face to face with the fact that there might very well be times within our lives when we look for—perhaps even expect—the Father to show up in the midst of our suffering, to show up in the midst of our affliction, to show up in the midst of our persecution, to show up in the midst of our tribulation, and yet the Father is seemingly absent and silent. What’s more, is that even after suffering and death have taken their toll and perfect work within our hearts and lives the Father doesn’t even show up immediately after death. It is truly something worth thinking about and considering when you read the words found within the four gospels, for the eternal Father would not show up immediately after Jesus was killed and crucified upon the cross at Calvary. The Father could have raised Jesus to life again on the cross and brought Him down from the cross. The Father could have raised Jesus to life again as they were taking His lifeless body down from off the cross, and/or the Father could have raised Jesus to life after His lifeless body was taken down from the cross. The Father could have raised Jesus to life again at any point in time before His lifeless body was buried in the grave, and yet not only did the Father allow His Son to be killed and crucified, but the Father also allowed His Son to be buried. It’s one thing for the Father to allow His Son to suffer in the flesh; it’s one thing for the Father to allow His Son to be killed and crucified; however, it’s something else altogether and entirely different for the Father to allow His Son to be buried in the heart of the earth in a grave. Stop and consider the fact that not only did the Father allow His Son to be buried, but He allowed His lifeless body to be buried in the grave for three days. The Father would not show up until the third day, and would allow the lifeless body of His Son to be there in the grave before the Spirit would raise Him from death to life. Lest you think that this only and solely applies to the person of Jesus Christ, I would like to bring you face to face with another individual who experienced suffering in the flesh—and not only experienced suffering in the flesh, but was deathly ill—and not only did Jesus not show up while He was sick, and not only did Jesus not show up right when He died, but Jesus didn’t even show up until after he had been buried for four days. What’s more, is that the particular individual we are speaking of and referencing was one who was considered to be a friend of Jesus and one whom He loved.

            I sit here thinking about and considering the narrative of Lazarus and how we would like to think that Jesus would and could have showed up while he was laying upon the bed deathly sick and on the verge of dying. We would like to think that Jesus could have shown up while Lazarus was still alive and kept and prevented him from actually dying. The truth of the matter, however, is that Jesus did not show up while Lazarus was sick, and Jesus did not show up while Lazarus was alive and in the company and presence of his sisters Mary and Martha. In fact, Jesus chose to tarry and abide where He was for another two days before He would even depart unto the village of Bethany which was not far from the city of Jerusalem. The narrative of Lazarus is truly remarkable and astonishing when you take the time to think about and consider it, for it forces us to acknowledge and come face to face with a Jesus who not only did not show up while Lazarus was alive, but also a Jesus who chose to stay where He was for two days, and did not come and heal Lazarus of the sickness that was present in his body. We would like to blame Jesus for the death of Lazarus, however, the truth of the matter is that it was not Jesus’ fault Lazarus died, for even Jesus Himself would declare that what was taking place with His friend was that the glory of the living God might be manifested in the midst of the earth. Although Jesus could have showed up while Lazarus was still alive and healed him that he might not taste and experience death, He could not be held responsible for his death. The death of Lazarus would and could be for the glory of God and that the name of God might be magnified and exalted in the earth. It is with this in mind I invite you to consider the actual narrative surrounding the life, the death, and the resurrection of Lazarus as it is written and recorded in the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John:

            “Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. (It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hari, whose brother Lazarus was sick.) Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick. When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby. Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was. Then after that saith he to his disciples, Let us go into Judaea again. His disciples say unto him, Master, the Jews of late sought to stone thee; and goest thou thither again? Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world. But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is not light in him. These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may aware him out of sleep. Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep. Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead. And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; neverhtless let us go unto him. Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, unto his fellow disciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him. Then when Jesus came, he found that he had lain in the grave four days already. Now Bethany was nigh unto Jerusalem, about fifteen furlongs off: and many of the Jews came to Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother. Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him: but Mary sat still in the house. Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou had been here, my brother had not died. But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee. Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Belivest thou this? She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world. And when she had so said, she went her way, and called Mary her sister secretly, saying, The Master is come, and calleth for thee. As soon as she heard that, she arose quickly, and came unto him, Now Jesus was not yet come into the town, but was in that place where Martha met him. The Jews then which were with her in the house, and comforted her, when they saw Mary, that she rose up hastily and went out, followed her, saying, She goeth unto the grave to weep there. Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled. And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see. Jesus wept. Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him! And some of them said, Could not this man, which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that this man should not have died? Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. IT was a cave, and a stone lay upon it. Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days. Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God? Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me. And when he had thus spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with grave clothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus aidth unto them, Loose him, and let him go” (John 11:1-44).

            THE GOD WHO SHOWS UP ON THE THIRD DAY! THE GOD WHO SHOWS UP ON THE FOURTH DAY! Oh I sit here today thinking about and considering the words which are found within the eleventh chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John and I can’t help but think about and consider it in direct light and relationship to the words which we find in each of the New Testament gospel  narratives concerning the person of Jesus the Christ. When we read and consider the words surrounding the narrative of Lazarus we encounter and come face to face with the tremendous truth that Jesus could have indeed showed up at Lazarus’ bedside while He was yet sick and healed him of the sickness which would ultimately lead to His death. Jesus could have showed up and completely healed Lazarus of the sickness which was present within his physical body and could have kept him from dying, and yet the truth of the matter is that not only did Jesus not come when He heard that Lazarus was sick, but Jesus also stayed and abode where He was another two days. It would potentially be on the third day when Jesus would actually rise from the place where He was with His disciples and make the journey unto Bethany where Lazarus was. It would be during those two days, however, that Lazarus would ultimately die, and his lifeless body would be buried in the tomb. What’s more, is that when Jesus finally did show up He showed up at a graveside and not a bedside. THE GOD WHO SHOWS UP AT THE GRAVESIDE AND NOT THE BEDSIDE! THE GOD WHO SHOWS UP AT THE GRAVESIDE RATHER THAN THE BEDSIDE! It is truly something interesting to think about and consider that not only did Jesus not show up at the bedside, but when Lazarus had died He would not actually show up until Lazarus had been buried for four days. How incredibly intriguing this truly is when you take the time to think about and consider it, for it calls and draws our attention to the absolutely astonishing truth that not only did Jesus not show up at the time of the sickness, but so also did Jesus show up after Lazarus had been dead for four days, and after his lifeless body had been buried in the tomb.

            As I prepare to bring this writing to a close it is something worth thinking about and considering how more often than not we think and we would like the person of Jesus Christ to come to our rescue during the suffering, during the affliction, during the persecution, and during the times when it is difficult with a tremendous amount of pain, hurt, agony, and the like. The truth of the matter, however, is that there are times when the living and eternal God does not come to the rescue, nor even show up during the suffering, nor even while you might be hanging there upon the cross. There are times when the living and eternal God does not show up even at the point of death when your lifeless body is being brought down and removed from the cross. I would dare say there are times when the living God will even allow you to be buried in the grave—and not only buried in the grave, but even buried for a specific period and length of time. Jesus was in the grave until the third day before the Spirit of the living God raised Him from death to life, and Lazarus was in the grave four days before Jesus showed up at the graveside, called for the stone to be rolled away, and called forth Lazarus out of the grave. Oh dear reader we must needs recognize that there are times when the eternal Father does not show up in the midst of the sickness, nor even in the midst of the suffering, but rather He shows up after death. Not only this, but I would even dare say that the eternal Father might not show up in the midst of the suffering, might not show up in the midst of the sickness, and might even show up in the midst of death itself, and chooses not to show up until death has already taken place and the body has been buried. Even more than this we do not find Jesus showing up at the tomb of Lazarus until he had already been buried for four days. We don’t even find the Spirit of the living God raising up Jesus the Christ until the third day, which means that His physical body was buried in the grave for three days before He was raised to life again.

With all of this being said it is absolutely necessary that we recognize and understand how absolutely incredible this truly is when you take the time to think about it, for within the narrative of the suffering and death of Jesus you will find that the Father did not show up when He was walking through the suffering, and the Father did not show up while He was hanging upon the cross, and the Father did not even show up when He was buried in the grave. The time and moment when the Father showed up was indeed and was in fact on the third day when very early in the morning angels descended from heaven, rolled away the stone, a great earthquake took place, and the Spirit of the Lord raised up Jesus from the grave. The Father did not show up in suffering, and the Father did not show up in death, however, the Father did show up in burial. It was Jesus Himself who spoke of a kernel of wheat falling to the ground and dying and being buried, and we must needs realize and understand that there are and there might be certain times within our lives when we can and will be called to suffer, when we can and will be called to taste and experience death, and when we might even need to be buried before the Father shows up. Jesus didn’t show up at the graveside of Lazarus until the fourth day after he was buried, and the Spirit of the sovereign Lord did not show up at the grave in which Jesus Himself was buried until the third day. It wouldn’t be until the third day Jesus Himself was dead and His body buried in the grave for three days before the Father would show up, and we must realize and understand that the same reality and principle might very well hold true for us. There are times when the living and eternal God cannot and will not show up in the suffering, nor in the sickness, for it is not part of His plan. There might be times within our lives when the living and eternal God cannot and will not even show up in the midst of death, or in the midst of our being crucified upon the cross we have been called to carry. There are times within our lives when we must be buried, and we might possibly have to be buried for a specific period of time before the Father shows up. If there is one thing we must needs realize and understand while we might desire and wish the living and eternal God shows up in the midst of the suffering, and while we might desire the living God shows up in the midst of the sickness, there are times when He cannot and will not show up during those points within our lives, and might even require some form of death within our lives—even burial itself—for it is only when we have been dead and buried that He can truly show up and bring resurrection in the midst of death rather that healing in sickness or deliverance in suffering. Oh we might very well desire healing in the midst of sickness and even deliverance in the midst of suffering, and yet that which the living and eternal God desires is to bring resurrection in death.

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