Sorry Saturday

What always strikes me about the events of the Passion is the disbelief of the disciples. None of them believed Jesus would rise from the dead. None of them believed that this one final prophecy of His would come true. No one stood outside the grave waiting for His appearance (except the Roman guards of course). No one anticipated His return, or prepared for it. In fact, the only preparation you see is the women, taking more spices to the tomb early on that Sunday morning, in further preparation of the body, and probably to see his face one more time before corruption set in.

All of the disciples huddled together in that Upper Room. While other families were together and celebrating the Passover, doing as families do, the disciples were afraid. They were scared that they would be found out. Who knows where Judas went. I don’t think at this point they knew what had happened to Judas since they saw him in the garden two nights ago. Maybe Judas was going to betray them all?

Imagine the self-recrimination taking place. If only I had known Judas better. If only we spent more time talking to him. How could he betray Jesus? Did Jesus know? I can imagine a lot of Monday morning quarterbacking going on in that room on that Sabbath day. There would have been angry words, short tempers, and we would probably have seen these disciples at their worst, but bonded together by their fear. They surely wouldn’t separate now, because someone else might be a traitor too. They wouldn’t dare let each other out of their sight.

There would have been discussion about what to do next. Peter might have been the first to suggest to go back to Galilee and resume the fishing business. Their might have been some remembrances and stories told. “Remember the time Jesus said, …” They might have laughed and chuckled at a familiar event or too, or when they remembered the consternation of the Pharisees and Sadducees just a few days ago, only to remember it was those same that condemned Jesus to death, and then all would be quiet again.

They were all mourning. They were grieving at the loss of a man who had done nothing wrong. He had in fact been more right about more things than all of them. And was He really the Son of God? There was probably some discussion about that subject. How could the Son of God allow something like this to happen to Him? There might have been the topic of leading an insurrection, no doubt lead by Simon the Zealot, but then they would remember that that wasn’t Jesus’ way. Peter would point out his incident in the garden with Malchus, the High Priest’s servant and his ear. ‘Those who live by the sword will die by the sword,” even though they had the two swords.

Sorry Saturday would not have been a lively day, but it certainly prepared them. They all needed the rest, and their hearts were being prepared for what was coming by a Heavenly Father and a Holy Spirit who was reminding them of the things Jesus said. They were receiving comfort in the midst of their sorrow, because the Father was still there with His Son’s chosen, keeping them safe until the Plan could be put into effect.

Like those disciples, we don’t know what’s coming. Though we’ve been told over and again that Jesus is coming back, it’s been so long that we are no longer certain. But Jesus has not left us. His presence is always with us. unlike those disciples, we know the end of that story, and the Living Jesus is with us today. His return is not just promised, but certain. His presence is always and forever. We need not wait for the end of the world to preach a risen Lord. He is risen, and today we have hope because of it.

Lord Jesus, we are reminded those millennia ago that there was a day when the world wasn’t sure You were coming back. We are glad You did. And may we continue to worship You today because You are Living and Active, You are present and working in us today. Thank You Jesus for rising from the dead and being our Savior. May wherever I go be a time I am with You. In Your holy Name I pray, Amen.

Witness to Jesus

There is no story as heart-wrenching as the story of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ, and truly no ending so wonderful as His resurrection. But if the story is so profound for us, imagine what it was like for those who lived it.

Matthew’s gospel is by the hand of one who was present during Jesus’ ministry, who followed Him through Galilee, and through to the garden of Gethsemane. But Matthew ran away when Jesus was arrested, and didn’t see Him again until His resurrection.

Mark’s gospel is by the hand of one who heard Peter’s preaching, and wrote down the story of Christ’s life from Peter’s perspective. Peter knew Christ from the time of John the Baptist through to the court of the High Priest, before he too ran away in fear, only to be restored by Christ, first by being eyewitness to the empty grave, and then receiving a personal commission from Christ at the seaside.

Luke’s gospel is an “orderly account” of all the stories attested to by the apostles, taking Matthew and Mark’s gospels along with additional information from many interviews and sermons. And then, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, Luke wrote from the beginning of John’s ministry, to the ascension of Christ after His resurrection.

John’s gospel, though written last, is still essential reading, as we learn much about the disciples and Jesus’ other work in Judea. With John we follow Jesus through the garden, to the trials before Annas and Caiphas, and finally to the cross, where John is the only disciple to see Jesus hanging from the cross. John’s devotion is rewarded by being one of the first to see the empty tomb and the risen Lord. And at the last, the see the Lord return to tell him about the End.

These four gospels are the basis for most of what we know about Jesus’ birth, life, death, and resurrection. These men wrote down the gospel message so that you and I could be the gospel message to others. Make a special invitation this month to someone you know to attend Easter services this year. Be the gospel to them. Show them Jesus’ love for them by sacrificing some of your time to tell them the gospel.