As Jesus drew his last breath and committed his life into his Father’s hands many standing in the crowd that day thought it was over and done with. For many it was back to business as usual. Even Jesus’ disciples had forgotten what he had said about him coming back…so instead of excitingly anticipating Jesus’ resurrection, after Jesus’ death the disciple found themselves in hiding behind locked doors. They are filled with doubt, guilt, and are more than a little afraid for their future. They felt as if their entire world had changed right before their eyes. Jesus dying on a cross, even though he preached about his death, is not how the disciples expected Jesus’ journey would end and the idea that he would not come back to life again was hard for them to grasp.
We could ask, “how could the disciples not trust Jesus?” it would be so easy for us to condemn the disciples, but if we are trueful, 2020 has taught us that during times of great challenges, uncertainty, disappointments, and loss we can all find ourselves just like the disciples…doubtful, hopeless, and afraid for what the future holds for us and our country. The impact of the virus, Covid-19 has greatly impacted us with its mystery and enduring power to linger, we are saddened by the great loss of life, jobs, and hope. We struggle in disappointment with the rise and depth of racial tension and hate crimes that has threaten to change our democracy as we know it.
Like the disciples we can allow the circumstances and the challenges in our lives become like giants, seemingly too huge to overcome…making it hard for us to rest in and trust Jesus and his word.
Easter reminds us of the faithfulness of God, that God does not change who God is or take back God’s promises because of our doubts and fears…God still shows up. When we celebrate Easter, we celebrate the fact that when Jesus was crucified, he went to battle with sin and conquered it once and for all. Easter signifies the triumph of good over evil which happened when Jesus Christ rose from the dead. It fulfills the promise uttered by Christ that he will rise from the dead to save mankind of their sins. In the Resurrection Jesus shows up just as he said.
When Jesus meets the disciples in the upper room, he is not interested in talking about their past failure, desertion, betrayal, or even fear…instead he is focused on offering healing, peace, love, and hope for the future. Jesus offers peace, reconciliation, and an opportunity for the disciples to join him in mission.
During this Covid19 season of loss, grief, frustration, disappointment, and uncertainty…I have heard many stories of people feeling fearful and hopeless….but the resurrection story reminds us that God has not forgotten us! That God is a promise keeper and one we can trust and rely on. If we will simply believe in God, we can face any crisis in our lives. Our faith in the Lord and His many and all-encompassing promises for us can see us through when WE THINK our future is uncertain.
When the women went to the tomb the first day of the week, they received the most exciting news of all history, the announcement that…Jesus was no longer in the tomb he was risen. Hallelujah, He is not here, the angels announced to the women, he is risen…Jesus is alive forevermore!
He is not here, he is risen contains all the hope, and assurance necessary to sustain us in our challenging and sometimes grief-filled lives. We may go through it, but we will not go through it along. Jesus promises that He will never leave or forsake us. The word assures us that our help is in the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth…and yea though we may have to walk through the valley of the shadow of death…the Lord is with us. There is no need to fear, God’s rod and staff, they will comfort us. And, because he is risen, we can face our tomorrows and every challenge it brings.
As we continue to reflect and look ahead to Easter…let us make it our goal to know deeply the Lord Jesus Christ and be willing to die with him so that we may truly live!