(This is part 2 of my Easter Weekend series. Click here for part 1.)
Put yourself in the place of the twelve disciples for a minute.
For about the last three years you have walked with Jesus and seen every great miracle and heard every teaching he has presented. You have possibly been one of the ones to even hear God testify, “this is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
After all this time, there is little doubt in your mind that you are walking with the Messiah; the promised King of Israel that would one day come to set the nation free from bondage and oppression and sin.
But somewhere recently, something changed. While you expected a Kingdom to be built – the one Jesus kept saying “is at hand” – He started talking about His approaching death. You’ve tried reasoning with Him about it and He’s said you’re working for the devil. You put up a small fight against the soldiers who came to take him away, and Jesus rebuked you. And now, in the last forty-eight hours, you watched your King being arrested, beaten, humiliated, mocked, and murdered.
Sure, Jesus said that this was coming. He even talked about returning to life in three days, but who knows. Jesus said all kinds of confusing parables, so you aren’t exactly sure what He meant? Besides, even if He did come back to life, the tomb was being guarded. They’d probably just kill Him again.
For the last three years, you have had the best life imaginable, ministering and seeing God move daily. There was joy and freedom being with Jesus. But now, this has gotten serious…
Personally, I cannot imagine a darker day in all of the history of Christianity (or Judaism) than the day the Messiah spent laying dead in the tomb.
His disciples had scattered when they came to arrest Him, and although they were probably dispersed among the crowds overlooking the cross, most never publicly show their face until after the resurrection. In fact, while the eleven remaining disciples hide, it is Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus who take to body for burial.
Hiding, afraid for their lives. Do you feel the weight that twenty-four hours can place on the life and faith of a Christian?
So what did they do?
Well, the Bible tells us nothing of this day except that it was a Sabbath. Fortunately for the disciples it meant that even if the religious leaders were going to come after them, it wouldn’t be today.
I am sure in the day’s mixed emotions, the disciples went back and forth between the Spirit and the flesh. There was probably a lot of prayer and recalling the teachings Jesus has spoken. Maybe even some study of the Old Testament prophets. But I also suspect that in a group of fearful men, there were also talks of both fleeing and fighting back. A lot of tears were probably shed. And there was probably a great mix of hope and discouragement.
Today reminds us that for the Christian in the darkest day of their life, an answer from God doesn’t always come when you want it. Sometimes you just have to take what you already know by faith and then wait and see what the morning brings.
(Part 3 will go live at 5am, Easter Day.)