Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Saturday After Good Friday

This morning my friend Matt Botkin posed an important question on Facebook, a great platform for philosophical discussions of all kinds.  He said, "Can't help but wonder what the disciples were doing & thinking during the days before the resurrection."

His friend Tom wondered what the Romans were thinking and doing.  Or the Pharisees.

I'll add the people of Jerusalem.  The ones who had seen or experienced healing.  The ones who had demons cast out of them.  The ones who heard him speak.

The ones he forgave.

We can only imagine.  I mean, those of us who call ourselves Christians believe Jesus didn't stay dead.  We live in a resurrection world, at least cognitively.

I don't think the disciples, or the Romans, or the Pharisees shared this perspective.

The Romans were probably relieved, but living on edge for fear of an uprising.  They remembered Jesus said he would rise from the dead, and since that's impossible, they posted extra guards on Jesus' tomb.  Just in case the disciples or some fanatics might steal the body and claim that Jesus had come back to life.

The Pharisees, as Tom pointed out, should have been completely freaked out.  After all the earth shook violently.  The sky turned black in the middle of the day.  The veil on the Holy of Holies in the temple tore in two.  And the bodies of many holy people who had dead were raised to live, walked into town, and appeared to people.  Dead people walked out of their graves.  Crazy stuff.  

I'm sure they told themselves it was nothing.  Dead is dead, to quote Lost.  

But the disciples.  And the people who believed, who hoped that Jesus was the promised Messiah?  

Of course Jesus prophesied more than once that he would rise from the dead, but there's no evidence that they really believed this.  After all, some things seem bigger than anything God can handle.

So they ran away when the Romans arrested Jesus.  Peter denied him.  John stood nearby the cross, along with some of the women, but there is no mention of any of the other disciples.  

You know that empty feeling you have when someone you love dies? You gasp for breath, but the air has left the room.  The world keeps moving, and you want to yell, "Stop!"  You know even if you did, the earth would keep spinning.

Emptiness surrounds you.  You're with people, but you're alone.  You mourn.  You cry.  You get angry.  You can't believe it's true, but you know it is.  You hope you're wrong, but you know you're not.  

Yeah.  I think that's it.  

They can't see the hope of Easter.  They're afraid to believe in in the promised resurrection.  

Think of your greatest disappointments.  Broken friendships.  Unemployment.  Wounded marriages.  Lost children.  You fill in the blank.

Right now I'm pondering some difficult situations, and I wonder, is there anything God can do to change the situation?  Is there are a resurrection?  Is there hope?  What will happen next?

This post is rather depressing, and I'm trying to find some cheerful way out.  Some way to signal that there is hope.  That there is a resurrection.  That God can do anything.  I know there is, but it just doesn't feel like it today.

And that, I think, expresses Saturday for the disciples.

Matt thought this would make a great movie.  Honestly, I prefer lighthearted comedies, but if the director includes Easter Sunday, this could make an interesting psychological drama.

I'm looking forward to Easter.

P.S.  It is Easter Sunday morning.  As I suspected, the reality of Easter is sinking in slowly.  When Jesus walked out of the tomb, he conquered death.  Death is no longer final.  

I speak of physical life, of course.  But I speak of other things as well.  

The God who raised Jesus from the dead can do anything.  

Happy Easter.