The night before the morning that changed the world.
What must it have been like? It’s hard for us to understand because we know what happened. We know that Mary and Martha were heading for a shock in the garden. We know that Peter, John and the other disciples were about to have their world rocked to the core. But I wonder what it must have felt like in those hours before the first shafts of new day sunlight began to warm the cold early morning air of the garden as the disciples hid somewhere in the city, believing that they were being hunted and feeling their world had just collapsed. The man they had risked everything to follow over the last three years was now dead, their dreams and expectations of a new day for their nation under God now in tatters, ripped apart by the cruelty of the occupying Roman military at the behest of their own spiritual leaders. Surely it wasn’t meant to be like this?
What must have been going through their minds? Their plans were in ruins. Jesus was dead.
The Messiah…their Messiah…was dead.
I love the lyrics of one of my favourite Michael Card songs “God’s own fool”.
Come lose your life for a carpenter’s son
For a mad man who died for a dream
And you’ll have the faith His first followers had
And you’ll feel the weight of the beam
There are always going to be times in our lives when we will think our world has come to an end, that there’s nothing more to be done. No plan B. No escape route. Our life’s plans in shreds before our very eyes. But how many times have we looked back in our own lives and experienced unexpected turn arounds? Unforeseen blessing in the middle of a storm. And if we had the opportunity, wouldn’t we want to go back in time and tell our younger selves that it will all be ok?
The disciples had no idea what was ahead for them.
Of all the circumstances that they would have possibly imagined in those dark hours before dawn, coming face to face with a resurrected Jesus would probably not have been one of them. There was no precedent after all. Their collective experiences didn’t include someone coming back from the dead unless Jesus was the one raising them. But Jesus was dead…and none of them had ever raised anyone. Perhaps they may have even been feeling guilty that their faith wasn’t strong enough to raise their own Master?
Just because they had never experienced a miraculous turn around like the one that was ahead of them however…doesn’t mean it wasn't about to happen. Our expectations are shaped by experiences: our own and those of others. And it’s easier to believe for something that we have previously experienced, but a whole other ball game though when we’re in new territory with no reference point to focus our faith. Thankfully, God isn’t limited by our lack of experience and Jesus wasn’t depending on His followers for a solution, because Jesus Himself was the solution, and in a few hours time the disciples would realise just how unlimited the power of God actually is and their lives would change forever.
Whatever the dilemma…God is the solution.
We may not know be able to see a way forward, feeling just like the disciples did…in the darkness, confused and disheartened - but listen to the words Jesus often said to His disciples: “Do not fear”. Believe in Him. Put your trust in Him because God always has a plan that’s immeasurably bigger and of a grander eternal scope than any of us could ever imagine.