“And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, ‘Why do you seek the living among the dead?’”
-Luke 24:5 ESV
The children of Israel had just suffered the greatest possible blow to their hopes—they witnessed the death of the very one they believed would deliver them from the burden the Roman empire had placed on them. Through Him, they had expected to regain the power to oversee their own futures and destinies. They had seen him do mighty acts: heal the sick, restore sight to the blind, raise the dead, and even speak to storms and tell raging waves to calm down. This was the power they wanted to install as king, for it would guarantee that as a people they would never be subject to the rule of another empire.
Well, things don’t always go as expected. We all bear the scars from wounds of disappointment, plans that go awry, or dreams never realized because something outside of our power destroyed them. While it’s natural to grieve for what has been taken from us, it’s futile to look for signs of life in a tomb.
The Israelites wanted the immediate benefits of power, but God wanted them to have the lasting benefits of position. Power is reserved for a few, and it often corrupts those who don’t wish to lose it. Position, however, can provide opportunities with benefits that last many lifetimes.
The Israelites saw only what was directly in front of them: a ruling empire they wanted removed. God wanted to position them as a people of light and truth, an example to a world that was starving for something more than man’s corruption. May you have the courage to reach for the things that last; in doing so, you will discover that what lies in front of you is brighter than what lies behind.