Friday was the worst day in the life of Jesus’ disciples. Life came crashing down at their feet. Their hero died an agonizing death in front of their eyes. That wasn’t supposed to happen. Jesus was supposed to ride into Jerusalem victorious, overthrow the brutal Roman Empire, and begin a new reign. The disciples expected triumph, but what happened on Friday must have felt like defeat. What about all the promises Jesus had made? Hadn’t he promised prosperity, better days to come, a place at the table, and all that?
More than that, though, they had just lost their trusted mentor and friend. The man who was shepherding them through their days and teaching them how to live was lying lifeless in an earthen tomb. They must have had so many questions for him that were left unanswered, things they thought they’d have more time to sort out with him. I wonder if they felt abandoned and adrift. There was no dull ache for the friend they’d lost; it must have throbbed with an intensity they didn’t know possible.
I can only imagine the disciples waking up Saturday feeling disoriented, lost, and alone. I bet some of them thought they’d had a crazy dream only to realize they were actually living out a nightmare. Where was the victory? What would become of them with their hero and mentor dead? Who would lead them and where would they even go? How could they go on without their dear friend? Jesus’ promises must have felt empty. I wonder if they questioned everything he’d ever taught them. And the day drug on. Morning turned into afternoon and then afternoon into evening.
At the same time, I wonder if they had a glimmer of hope. They knew it wasn’t supposed to end this way. Jesus had promised more, and while they didn’t know what the future looked like exactly, the disciples trusted Him to deliver. He had done so many amazing things and taught them so much after all. Maybe they heard that quiet voice whisper across their hearts, “There’s more. The story doesn’t end here.”
Many of us spend much of our lives feeling stuck in Saturday. Life is hard. Relationships, work, and money all seem to suck the life right out of us. The tragedy of Friday crashes in to our everyday lives all too often. We question, sometimes, where the redemption comes in. We live in limbo, the in-between, as I read Katie Rutledge in a blog once put it, “the already-but-not-yet.“
We are assured the story doesn’t end this way. “There is hope,” a voice whispers deep inside.
Your pastor and partner in the journey toward Easter,
ITS NOT TOO LATE to invite a friend, relative, neighbor and co-worker.