Jump Start # 2069
Matthew 28:1 “Now after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to look at the grave.”
This is Easter weekend. The world pauses for just a moment to think about an empty grave in Jerusalem. The weekend is filled with eggs, candy, dressing up and family gatherings. For those early disciples, every Sunday was resurrection day. For the world, as soon as Sunday passes, it will return to the way it was with little change coming from a tomb that was emptied by God to save our sins.
But for those first disciples, that resurrection weekend was filled with all kinds of tears and emotions.
On Friday, Jesus was crucified. Everyone scattered. The heavy hand of Rome came crashing down. The disciples were in utter shock. Jesus who had changed the weather, cured lepers and seemed unstoppable was now at the hands of Roman soldiers. Jesus didn’t get out of this. He was brutally executed. It was not quick and merciful. It was slow and torturous. That night, I expect those disciples huddled in fear. Would someone turn them in? Would the doors burst open only to reveal more soldiers? The blood was everywhere. It was so terrible. Like a horrific crime or car accident, the hours following are lived retelling and reliving the horror over and over again. Talk would have turned to how terrible it was to be living as prisoners of Rome. If they could only break free from Roman dominance. If only the Messiah would come. He will restore our nation, they thought. He will make all things right. We will once again be the glory as we were long ago. Wasn’t Jesus supposed to be the Messiah? But now, he was dead. Tears filled their hearts as they sat in silence, thoughts swirling in their heads. How could this have happened?
On Saturday, the reality of Jesus being gone started to sink in. Is this all over? What are we supposed to do? Who will lead us? Are we supposed to go back home? Was that it? He had helped so many people but now he was dead. What are we gong to do? Should we go back to Galilee? Should we stay here? The emptiness and the pain of Jesus being gone was felt. Why did Judas turn Jesus in? What happened to Judas? It was so great being with Jesus. He always knew what to do. Remember the time he healed the man with the withered hand? Remember the time we were all stuffed in a house and some guys lowered a crippled man through the roof? And, do you remember Jesus telling that man to get up and to walk and he did. Remember the demon possessed man who ran at us, screaming and shouting. Remember the Lord demanding those demons to leave and they entered the hogs and they all jumped off the cliff. Remember? But now, there was just the loneliest of each other. Confusion. Uncertainty. That long, long Saturday. What do we do now?
On Sunday, early, while it was still dark, some went to the tomb. They rushed back with excited words that He was not there. What about the Roman soldiers? What about Pilate’s seal? What about the stone in front of the tomb? Others hurried to the tomb. It was empty. Grave clothes remained inside. What does all of this mean? If someone took him, why did they unwrap him? Were the Romans involved with this? Where would they have taken his body? The pain of Friday and the emptiness of Saturday are now filled with questions on Sunday. What does all of this mean? Some women claimed they saw him alive. Others have reported seeing him. And, then He appears. There He is. Alive. Resurrected. He’s back. But we saw you killed. There was no way you could have survived that. We saw them carry your body into the tomb. You were dead. But now, here you are. Sunday quickly turns into a day of excitement and joy. He is alive. He is with us.
As the Lord talks, they remember He had said this. He told them that He would be killed and then be raised on the third day. Now, it’s making sense. Now, they are starting to get it. Now, they are seeing Him as they never saw Him before. It’s one thing, quite remarkable, to raise the dead. But to raise yourself after you have died? Unbelievable. But it’s true.
Friday, Saturday, Sunday—for you and I, it’s the weekend. For those first disciples, it was shock, pain, emptiness, confusion and then celebration. He is alive. Rome couldn’t defeat Him. Pilate couldn’t defeat Him. The Jews couldn’t defeat Him. Jesus is Lord. Jesus is God. Jesus is alive.
You and I have our own Friday, Saturday, and Sunday moments in life. Grief, shock and pain. Emptiness of a loved one gone. The confusion of what to do next. But for believers, Sunday comes. Hope renewed. There is life after death. There is joy after sorrow. There is peace knowing that this life isn’t it. There is confidence in knowing that the best is yet to come.
Up from the grave He arose. Not just an Easter thought, but the exclamation point of the Bible. Not just a Sunday thing in April but the foundation of our belief. Every Sunday is resurrection day. Every Sunday is indeed, the Lord’s Day.
That Sunday encounter for those first disciples put a fire in their belly. They now knew. No one could silence them. Arrest them. Imprison them. They would never be quiet again. They knew. They believed. They were changed. It’s that same fire that we need in our bellies today.
Up from the grave He arose…