Some verses placed in the middle of Jesus’ death scene has caught my attention. “The tombs were also opened and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised. And they came out of the tombs after his resurrection, and entered the holy city, and appeared to many,” (Matthew 27:52-53).

These people, saints they are called, were resurrected when Jesus died. They became alive when Jesus paid the price that allowed humans access to eternal life. That in itself is amazing. We know Jesus had raised others from death, Lazarus (John 11)  and the widow’s son (Luke 7:11-16). Jesus had compassion on the family’s of these two men. The power of the living Jesus who spoke life raised them. The resurrection of the saints in the graveyard was different. The power of Jesus’ death brought them from life to death. They were proof of Jesus’ having the last word over death, both physical and spiritual.

Another interesting thing about these saints is they didn’t come out of the tombs until Jesus’ resurrection. The Bible tells us a “great stone” was rolled in front of the cave-like tomb that held Jesus. The tomb was sealed and guards ensured the body would not be stolen. (Matthew 27:60-66). On Resurrection Day, “an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and approached the tomb. He rolled back the stone and was sitting on it” (Matthew 28:2).

I wonder if, while he was at it, the angel stuck his head in the open tombs of the saints and said, “Do not fear.” Those are, after all, often the first words out of an angel’s mouth when he’s talking to people. Maybe, he went from tomb to tomb delivering the resurrection news and saying, “Okay, guys, you’re free to resume your life. Make it count.” Or, maybe he said, “So, here’s the deal. You’ll have about 40 days to tell what you’ve experienced and then back to eternity you’ll go, just like Jesus will ascend to heaven.” We simply do not know.

What we do know is this: like Lazarus and the widow’s son, the saints’ physical coming back to life was temporary. We don’t find any of them walking around the earth now. They did face physical death again, but never again would someone have to face eternal death without a relationship without Jesus unless they chose to. This is the power of the Resurrection: Jesus conquered both physical and spiritual death so we can spend eternity in the presence of our holy, loving, and righteous God.

 This Easter, I know people who are struggling to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection. They are followed around by grief, anticipation of grief, illness, or relationship difficulties. They are weary. Joy, hope, and optimism—naturally part of Easter—are absent from their experience.

This morning, as we drove home from sunrise service, the sun was above the horizon. Clouds muted the bright orb, but they couldn’t completely blot it out. The light still got through. The scene brought these people I love to mind. My friend whose child recently passed away is struggling to make sense of what happened. A man is dealing with the challenge of being the primary decision maker in the care of his dad. Another is trying to assure their children they will still receive Easter baskets even though Grandma has passed away.

These people I love—and there are others— are hurting but they don’t have to suffer without hope of eternity with Jesus. Maybe people you love are struggling with loss, health, or relationships.Perhaps you are. They—and you— can choose hope that comes from understanding the resurrection.

When I dwell deeply on events surrounding Jesus’ resurrection, I am in awe of the way Jesus conquered eternal death. It wasn’t the act of a desperate man; it was the act of a loving God who provided a way for those people He created to be rescued from their rebellion against Him. This gift fills me with gratitude. It opens my heart to hope in difficult times. Because of Jesus, I know the clouds are not permanent. Difficult days are no match for our Risen Savior.

My prayer is for your heart and the hearts of those you love to find the hope the clouds are trying to hide—eternal hope in Jesus’ resurrection.