Can you imagine living in the days of Jesus? Sometimes I think about it, especially with Easter around the corner.
First of all, where would I have stood? Would I have thought Jesus was a who He said He was, the Son of God? Would I have seen the miracles and been inspired, or afraid? Would I have believed the best, or would I have been one of the people yelling in the crowd, “Crucify Him!” I hope I would have chosen to believe.
As one of the disciples, or any of the many women who followed Jesus while He was on earth, I wonder what they must have felt leading up to the crucifixion.
Here’s this man, they call Him Jesus, and He is doing incredible things. He performed miracles like turning water into wine, making the lame walk, the blind see, and even raising the dead! They must have thought, Finally! The Messiah we’ve all been waiting for. People were excited!
But there was a group that was furious! “How could this man blaspheme to say that He is God’s Son! What a liar and because of this we must get rid of Him for good.” The Pharisees and the religious leaders of the day made plans to make sure Jesus would stop spreading “lies”.
Jesus only started His ministry when he was thirty years old. Three years went by until He saw His earthly end. Three years is not long, and yet we still read the words of that time and cling to them for hope.
But as one of His followers, think about how you would feel when, at the height of what felt like His reign on earth was starting, it came to a crashing halt.
There they were, in a room, eating the Passover meal, and Jesus starts talking about being betrayed and not eating again until the kingdom of God arrives in fullness. (Luke 22:17) Wait what? The only one who knew what He was talking about was Judas, as he was about to betray the Man who came to save him.
That very night, the soldiers came in the dead of night and put Jesus in chains. At this point, as a follower of Christ, I would probably be thinking, Jesus has to make it out of this! He will, I’ve seen Him do so many miracles and this should be easy!
Then the guards took Him to ruler after ruler, beat Him senseless, and put a crown of thorns deep into His head. People who had previously shouted “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” a week earlier were now yelling, “Crucify Him!”
As the mob grew louder and louder, and the guards put a cross on Jesus back to carry, I don’t know how strong my faith would have been. Then, high upon a hill for all to see, the soldiers drove nails deep into His hands and feet, nailed Him to a cross and raised Him up to die the most humiliating death.
This is the moment. The moment when all hope must have seemed lost. As if on cue, the sky turns black as the earth and His followers mourn.
How could they move on from that moment? What hopelessness they must have felt. Our leader, our Messiah, friend, and healer is dead!
If the scriptures somehow stopped at Jesus death, how would we as believers feel? Dread. Sorrow. Great fear.
Thank you Lord that the story doesn’t stop there. When all hope seemed lost, at that very pivotal moment, God had something else in mind!
Death could not hold Him and this was not the end. Jesus was crucified, died on a cross, but three days later He rose!
“The Lord has risen indeed! It’s true!” – Luke 24:34
If it had only been the fact that the Son of God died and rose again, it would have already been incredible. But Jesus did more than that. He defeated death, once and for all!
“Whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16
We get to have an abundant life and relationship with the living God. Not because of what we have or have not done, but because of what Jesus did on the cross that day, because of how much He loved me and you!
If you are going through a hard time in your life, that’s okay. We all will go through hard times. But remember that when all hope seems lost, God is with you, and just might be up to something amazing! Just like the day that Jesus died. All who witnessed it must have felt a crushing loss, but God had a beautiful plan. I know He has a beautiful plan for your life too!
I wish you and yours a Happy Easter as we remember the victory that occurred over the course of three days, as Jesus died and rose again! Hallelujah, He’s alive!!