Last week at our house was a bit of a fail. I totally missed a meeting. It wasn’t that I was running late or had a conflict; I just spaced, and didn’t go. At all. And due to an overbooked calendar we also missed a party for one of my kids’ sports teams. The rice I made to go with our dinner of Moroccan chicken had a dead millipede in it. (Ew! So disgustingly ew I can barely type it). I got a book proposal rejected, which always stings. One of my daughters had a four-day long fever. Insert frowny face here. And, I heard the news that one of my family members is splitting from her husband. Yup, last week was a rough one.
But it was nothing like what the disciples experienced over 2000 years ago, when the man they believed would save them and their people, who would redeem them and revive them, who would overturn the corrupt government and step in as a fair and wise king, the man who they loved and respected, who helped them with their problems, taught them how to get through life, their confidant, their best friend was falsely accused and brutally executed. All their hopes and dreams of what He would do for them, of what He could accomplish for them and their nation were shattered. Makes my week seem like a dance party.
But that was on Friday.
And then there was Sunday.
On Sunday, the tomb, which Jesus had been buried in, was empty. No one in their right mind would have made up this story, because it would have meant punishment and shame for both the Roman soldiers guarding the tomb and for the high priests who had ordered the execution. It would have meant probable arrest and potential execution for anyone spreading such a rumor. In fact, those in power at the time—Herod, Pontius Pilate, Caiaphas—tried to shush the fact that they had failed at killing Jesus, who was a threat to all of their power. But the truth got out anyway. Nothing the world could do, no government, or church, or public opinion, no physical pain, or ridicule could take our Savior down. Jesus rose from the dead. The stone blocking Him from his followers was rolled away. And after rising, He appeared to over 500 people on over 12 occasions; so that there would be no doubt that He was indeed alive.
But on Friday, the disciples couldn’t see any of that. All they saw was a dark, bleak, sad road ahead. But there was no need to stress or worry or fear or freak out. Jesus was alive.
Easter Sunday is in just a few days. And unlike the disciples, we already know the happily-ever-after to this true, eye-witnessed story. Are we living in that beautiful peace and joy that our savior, teacher, overcomer, redeemer, Lord, King and best friend is alive! Or are we sulking, stressing, spazzing out with uncertainty or doubt? The miracle of Jesus being resurrected is a-ma-zing, but even more amazing, is that He did it all for us—for you and for me. He didn’t take those nails in His hands for kicks, or because He was weak, or to make a point. He did it to nail all of our flaws, our mistakes, those things we wish nobody knew about, our ugly habits, our prideful moments, our insecurities, our doubts to the cross. He suffered, so we wouldn’t have to. Jesus allowed Good Friday to happen, in all of its nastiness and pain, so that we could experience the hope and love of Easter everyday.
I don’t know how your week is going so far (or your month or your year). Is it a fail like mine was last week? Are you in a desperate place? Or are you in the groove? Either way, next week could be different. But no matter where you are or how things are going, have hope.
Did you get that? If you missed a meeting, or an event, if you burned the cookies or got there late, if you threw someone under the bus, told a lie to cover your own mistake, didn’t finish your assignment, blamed someone else, all those things you’re beating yourself over—Jesus is not beating you up over. He loves you. If your body is struggling to do the things it’s supposed to do, if your relationship is falling apart—Jesus loves you. If someone told you you’re not worthy—Jesus challenges them with the fact that He died for you. He thought all of that pain and shame was worth it, so that God could see you as flawless. Talk about having value. And if that’s how Jesus sees us, then we should celebrate the reflections we see in the mirror, knowing fully that we are valued, treasured and loved by the ultimate King.
Are you celebrating Easter yet? Time to roll away any stones in your way, and savor the never-ending love of Jesus.
Laura L. Smith