Yesterday’s post focused on being an example and today marks the start of the best three-day example of what I meant. But I don’t want to focus on the many, many themes in what is traditionally known as the Passion of the Christ. Rather, I want to focus on how time and reflection changes both your perspective and understanding of events, that sometimes get skewed in the midst of the battle.
Looking at the events of that Friday, you would have to call it anything but good. For Christ, although He knew the ending, He still had to endure the pain, the humiliation, and he separation from the Father. He was brought down to His most human state, where even He had to trust in His Father despite the darkness surrounding Him. He was lied about, betrayed, mocked, beaten, and, ultimately killed that day.
For His followers, it was a devastating day. The man they followed for 3 years, the man they believed was the Messiah, was systematically and completely broken before them and they were scared to death that they would be next. Most didn’t stick around to watch, and only a handful stayed until the end. For these people, the dream of the restoration of the kingdom and the promises Christ made were completely destroyed and they feared they might be killed next.
For the people of Jerusalem, the skies went dark for about 3 hours in the noon off the day. At the time of his death, Matthew records that there was a mighty earthquake, tombs broke open, the dead were raised to life and moved among the people, and the curtain in the temple, which separated the people from the Holy of Holies, which represented the presence of God, was torn in two from top to bottom. While any one of these events may be disturbing, the combination would be downright frightening, and it was right as they were preparing for the Passover celebration, meaning Jerusalem would be packed with people.
When you look at all of this, realistically this was a very, very bad Friday, followed by a tense and pensive Saturday, and capped off with Christ’s resurrection on Sunday. It is not lost on me that incredible joy was preceded by incredible anguish or that victory was preceded by unrelenting hopelessness. All too often, the path to relying on God’s deliverance requires us to be in a place where our need for Him, whether we realize it or not, greatly exceeds our ability to persevere, remain hopeful, or even identify a path to our salvation. It is in the hopelessness and darkness of our circumstances that God is able to build our faith by providing deliverance and victory that we cannot explain as anything other than miraculous.
The Bible is filled with this example time after time, and in each instance, God took His people beyond their ability to believe to demonstrate His power and authority over every aspect of their lives, particularly those beyond their control. I find great comfort in that, because I know that if God supercedes the lack of faith of such figures as David, Moss, and Peter, He can certainly cope with and grow mine.
I hope you all have a great Eastern season, and that, as you go through “bad times”, you are able to remember, as the singer Carmen put it “…it might seem like Friday night, but Sunday’s on the way”.