It’s that time of year again. An endless supply of colored eggs, bunnies, and candies are paraded before us. Sometime we, as Christians, don’t always see the total depth of what this week really means, the events surrounding it and the people involved. Sometime ago, I began looking at people in and around the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus to gain a better insight into my own faith.
What part did these people play?
What did they see?
How did they feel?
I’ve seen the death of Christ through the eyes of the Roman soldiers. I've taken a look at the story through the lives of the women in the life of Christ. And, believe it or not, I have even considered the events surrounding the death of Christ through the eyes of the donkey that he road into Jerusalem on.
This year though, I have not been able to take my mind off eleven men. The men that had spent over three years following and listening to Jesus. They were men that had given up everything – their jobs, their families, everything they knew to follow one man.
This night, over two millennia ago, must have been the worst night of their lives. The night before, their minds numb from the events of the day. Their lives turned upside down with the capture, trials and violent government sanctioned murder of their friend. They had watched them beat and scourge their friend within a quarter inch of his life. They saw with their own eyes the flesh being ripped from his body. The smell of his blood singed their noses. The screams of pain and the taunts from the crowds flooded their ears. The sound of the spikes being driven through Christ's feet and wrists still ringing in their hearts.
Every neuron of their brains could not comprehend all what they were experiencing. How could this end like this? Their minds raced through the events of the last three years. Miracle after miracle they witnessed. They saw their friend command two thousand evil spirits to leave the body of a young man. They saw children and adults, born with debilitating birth defects being perfectly healed. They saw a dead man walk out of his own grave after being dead for four days. They saw a boy’s lunch feed thousands of people on a mountainside.
Now what were they suppose to do? Where were they suppose to go? Their friend was dead. They saw him die on the cross. They saw him laid in the tomb and the stone rolled to seal it.
I can just imagine these men hiding in that upper room over the days following the crucifixion. Their minds and bodies numb with grief. I can feel their hearts racing at each sound coming from the street below, fearing the Roman soldiers would come for them next. Everything they knew had been violently taken from them.
The loss they must have felt.
The guilt that clinched their bodies.
The pain that never seem to go away.
Sleep only coming from utterly and pure exhaustion.
Though Christ had told them what was to come, their minds just could not fathom the next chapter in their lives. In just hours, the words of the prophets would be realized. It would not be long before their friend would join them again, standing face to face with them. It would take some convincing, but soon all these men would realize that their friend, who had been so brutally killed just days before, had risen from the grave. The man that they knew, the man that taught them, the man that walked right beside them and shared meals with them, was truly Emmanuel – God with us.
Tonight as I sit safely at my computer looking at pictures of home made lamb cakes and Easter bunnies, I remember the pain and the lose these eleven men felt for their friend. I can not imagine the emptiness that must have felt.
Tomorrow. . . as the sun rises . . . and as I put on my white dress and fix my hair, I will run to the tomb. I will life up my hand and I will rejoice with eleven men from two thousand years ago. I will rejoice in the resurrection of my savior, a man I call my friend.
To all of you I want to wish you a very blessed Easter!
He has Risen!
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