Saturday, April 7, 2012
Day of Darkness
Today I can't stop thinking about how the disciples must have felt on the Saturday between Good Friday and Easter. Put yourselves in their sandals with me for a few minutes.
It had been quite a week. Their Lord had ridden into the holy city on a lowly donkey in a triumphant parade of waving palm branches and revelers. He then spent the week teaching them lesson after lesson, pouring out upon them everything he felt he needed them to know with a passion and urgency they didn't quite understand.
The Passover arrives and Jesus, their teacher, humbly washes their feet and then tells them that his body will be broken and his blood will be shed for them. Still reeling from that statement, Jesus claims that one of them will betray him. Who will it be? Everyone wonders how that could even be possible.
Jesus spends the evening after the Passover meal in the Garden of Gethsemane with James, Peter and John. His friends are concerned because Jesus is deeply troubled and spends considerable time in prayer. They desire to help, but are overcome with sleepiness. The Lord awakens them just as their associate Judas arrives with a large group of men armed with clubs and swords to arrest Jesus. Their shock and fear scatters them in all directions like dandelion seeds in the wind.
Although the majority of the disciples heard the rest of the story second or third hand, they all knew what had transpired that Friday. Their Lord, their friend, had been falsely accused, tried, beaten and crucified. The savior of Israel had died a criminals death on the cross. Why?
Today is the Sabbath. They are gathered together, huddled in fear and confusion. They cannot throw themselves into their work to distract them from the turmoil in their minds. The only thing they can do is to ponder the time they spent with Jesus and what the future might bring.
Can you imagine some of the thoughts that went through their heads? Some of the whispered conversations? Will we suffer the same death? How could we be so wrong? We though Jesus was going to release us from the Romans. We are in no better position than we were three years ago. He said he was preparing a place for us. He said he had overcome the world. Now he is dead. They probably pulled at their hair and wrung their hands in their confusion and frustration. What do we do now?
Can you imagine how they physically felt? Those of us that have suffered the unexpected loss of a loved one know. They probably felt physically ill, that tight feeling in the chest, the queasy, uneasy rolling of the stomach, the constant weepy feeling in your eyes. The ever undulating moods from fear to anger to sorrow; the desire to sleep until you feel better coupled with the inability to sleep.
This was a dark day. Almost darker than the Friday before, because they had the time to think rather than just react. We know something that they didn't. We know that after this dark day, joy is coming. We just have to ride out the darkness to be enveloped in the brightest, warmest light there is. Jesus.
We will all experience dark days of fear, sadness and despair. When you are in a time of darkness, remember this Saturday that the disciples spent huddled in fear and confusion. They didn't know that joy was coming in the morning, but you do! Hang on, your joy will come.
In His Peace -