Well, in my previous post I shared my struggle with disappointment. The crowds of people who had been following Jesus, especially his closest friends, had the most disappointing week in their lives. They entered Jerusalem together to celebrate the Passover. Jesus entered as a king, a possible savior for their generation. By the end of the week, Jesus had been arrested, tortured, and sentenced to die. Finally on Friday, he died the death of a cursed man and was buried in a borrowed grave. The crowds scattered. In their disappointment, the disciples denied Christ and went into hiding.
Here is what Luke says happened next:
1 On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. 2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. 5 In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, â€œWhy do you look for the living among the dead? 6 He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee…?”Â -Luke 24:1-6 NIV
Remember How He Told You?
Oh, that’s right Jesus. I guess I wasn’t really paying attention a few days ago when you said:
â€œWe are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. He will be delivered over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him and spit on him; they will flog him and kill him. On the third day he will rise again.â€ – Luke 18:31
It seems pretty clear to me, but of course I wasn’t marching around the dusty roads with 11 other guys and Jesus. I have little hints in the gospel accounts to help me understand their developing faith – they knew Jesus was a miracle worker, they knew he was a wise man, some of them knew that he definitely was the Messiah, some of them were concerned with finding a good “position” when his kingdom came into power. Honestly, they really don’t sound too different from many of us in the church today. Maybe I should just insert my own voice into the dialog:
Angel: “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you….?”
Me: “Oh, right. I guess I do kind of remember that… I mean, he said all sorts of things. Some of it I just brushed off as being above my head. I figured he would come back and explain it further if it was really that important. I really just thought we would get this whole restoring the kingdom stuff worked out first. It seemed like that was the first priority.”
Angel: “Whose priority?”
Me: “Ummm, well… isn’t that the top priority? I mean, it seems like it is?”
Angel: (eyebrow raised, shaking head side to side) “You know what, how about you just go tell the rest of the disciples and then go ahead to the place he told you to wait for him. I’d better let Him sort this out with you.”
We, like the disciples and the all the Jews in Jesus’ time, are so concerned with getting what we need from God for today, tomorrow, and the immediate future. They, understandably, wanted relief from an oppressed life. Their land inhabited by Romans and their culture infiltrated by the Greeks; the Jews knew they weren’t able to freely live the life that God had promised them. On the other hand, we want God’s hand to influence our circumstances so that we can succeed in the lives we have planned for ourselves.
Good Friday is an awesome time to remember that Christ died for our sins. The divine sacrifice for the sins of the world. Praise Him! We have the opportunity to reconcile to our Father through Jesus’ broken body and shed blood.
Easter is is the time to celebrate the resurrection. Jesus conquered death. He was raised in power in order to bring the future hope of residing in God’s glory. The resurrection wasn’t just a chance for God to show off that one time… 2000 years ago. It was an inkling of what He is doing – in us and for the whole of creation. Jesus is telling his disciples – first things first ladies and gents. My kingdom is coming, my reign is being established one heart at a time.
A Fatherly Chat
Father:Â “My daughter, I know you didn’t have the father you had hoped for. But don’t give up hope. I gave children parents because the roles of “fatherhood” and “motherhood” are a hint of what it is like to be loved like me. I have placed into the hearts of mothers and fathers just a bit of the love that I have for you. Unfortunately, (as you know from your experiences as a daughter and a mother) some mothers and fathers don’t quite know how to put that love to good use. Some do better than others, but none are perfect. And you… you hoped that a good father would have made everything right for your life. It certainly would have helped! But, you see, I’m still able to reveal my fatherly love to you in many different ways. And soon, when we meet face to face you will understand the fullness of my love. Between you and me, even if you had “the best” father in the whole world, his love still would just be a small expression of my own. For, I am the masterful Creator. My people and my created world are are just little brush strokes. Every effort of my creation has meaning and purpose as it expresses just a little bit of my character and love.”
Me: “So, you mean I have to keep waiting? Even that is disappointing – so exhausting, such a let down.”
Father:Â “Yes, keep waiting. But, reset your “expectations” to “anticipation”. Because, little love, expectations come from your desires. Some of them are good, but some of them… well, they are born out of misunderstanding. Instead, anticipate that I will provide for you the things that you need, as I always have. Anticipation comes from trusting in my character and faithfulness. I will continue to express my love for you and through you. You play a part in this masterpiece as well, for you are my workmanship (Ephesians 2:10). And, you are making this world more and more beautiful.”
Me: _____________. (humbled, speechless, in awe)
Only in the presence of an artist can the techniques and creative intent be truly revealed. We look at art and try to figure out what it means to us. (Thankfully, many talented artists have generously give us the opportunity to do so!) But, when we are face to face with an artist, they tell us what their creation means to them. Perhaps, this is why we don’t value our world as much as we would like to. We just can’t get over what it means to us…so much so that we are slowly destroying it with our good but generally selfish intentions.
Here’s what John reported when he had a chance to interview The Artist:
1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, â€œNow the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.â€
5 He who was seated on the throne said, â€œI am making everything new!â€ Then he said, â€œWrite this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.â€ – Revelation 21:1-5
Amen and Amen. Let it be so! Come Lord and finish your great work in us!