It’s Friday and Easter Sunday is coming. This year is going to be different. as a matter of fact it will be the most different Easter ever for the Church since that day more than 2000 years ago when Jesus had died, been buried, in the tomb for three days and then on Easter Sunday Morning, Jesus rose from the grave.
Wow, just typing this gave me holy ghost goose bumps…
I’ve gone back and read the account again this morning with fresh eyes. Judas has agreed to betray Jesus for thirty pieces of silver, really just a few worthless coins in the scheme of things. Jesus has had supper with the disciples and there He institutes the Lord’s Supper, the element of worship that we often mimic with the bread and the wine. When we celebrate this meal together the broken bread is to remind us of Jesus body that was broken for us and the wine represents His blood that was shed for us. I think for the most part after 2000 years we have lost the significance of this. And now one of the most meaningful rituals we have used in the Church, the common cup will likely never be again. Because of COVID19 the common cup is probably now a part of our history.
Peter is told that he will deny even knowing Jesus and of course Peter denies that will ever happen. He did though and I wonder as I read those words, how often have I denied Jesus? How many times have I decided to remain silent so that I could be with the popular crowd? It has happened more times than I would care to remember, certainly more than three times.
Jesus goes to the garden to pray because His heart is heavy, He knew what is about to happen and in His humanity He needs to hear from the Father. A lot of us are there now, we need to hear from the Father. We need to know that He is walking with us in the midst of this fire, this virus that has overtaken us. Jesus needs to know that He isn’t walking alone. Wow, if Jesus needs to know then we definitely need to know. Have we cried out to God all night asking that this pandemic should go away, asking if there is another possible way, to let it be? But, in the midst of Jesus going to pray, His disciples are sleeping. That’s right, their savior is preparing for the biggest event in the history of mankind since the creation of the universe and the disciples are asleep at the post. I think about how well I slept last night.
Jesus is then arrested and put on trial in a mock court. The people ultimately choose to set a criminal free so that Jesus can be crucified. Just a short time before they had been shouting Hosanna, God save us, and now they are shouting, hang Him on the cross. Hmm, fickle humans…. How many times have we sang the praises of God one minute and went out the next minute and did something totally contrary to our worship?
Jesus is stripped of his meager clothing, mocked, beaten, spit upon, and ultimately hung on a cross for the world to see His humiliation. It would seem to the world that everything Jesus said was a lie. It would seem that He really had no power at all. There Jesus is hanging on a cross in the town garbage heap with two criminals on either side of Him. How in the world could this happen? How could everything the disciples had staked their lives upon end like this? I think I know how they felt, I have staked the last 30 odd years of my life on this same Jesus. I have walked away from jobs that I liked in order to pursue the Call that I believe God has on my life. I have gone to school and spent lots of money that I didn’t even have to learn everything I can so that I can teach others. I have lived different, much different that I would have had I not been trusting that Jesus said what He meant and meant what He said. Jesus said that He was God. Jesus said that He would save the world. Jesus said that one day He would set the record straight. But here He is hanging on a cross, helpless to save Himself, or so it seems. How could it end this way?
Jesus is buried in a borrowed tomb. Borrowed, the creator of the universe, the savior of the world didn’t even own any property. The man more books have been written about than any other owned the clothes on His back and that is it. He didn’t own any houses, no large bank accounts, nothing to remember Him by other than the few miracles He had done and who He said He was. He is gone…
But wait, Jesus had said if you tear down this temple. in three days it will be rebuilt. In other words, if you kill me, I will rise again. In other words, you can’t keep a good man down. You can’t kill the savior. You can deny Him, and many of us have followed in Peter’s footsteps and done just that. You can say that He never existed, yet the evidence is overwhelming, more than any other historical figure, that Jesus actually walked the earth. History records with many witnesses that Jesus really was here, He really did die, and then three days later, He got up out of the grave.
That’s right, that’s what Easter is all about. Jesus isn’t dead, He’s ALIVE! Jesus got up out of that grave, God the Father who was with Him in the garden when He was praying, who was with Him during the denial, the trial, and the beatings, that God raised Jesus from the dead, and He lives forevermore. Yeah, I know what some of you are thinking, did this actually take place?
I’ve staked my life on it.
Jesus later told His disciples He was going to prepare a place for them and when that place was ready, He would be back to get them and us.
Is that place finally ready?
Think about it…