“Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen!” Luke 24:5
Read Luke 23:55-56, 24:1-12
Have you ever used the phrase “It’s been a roller coaster week”?
Maybe your experiences have been all over the place: working, grocery shopping, talking with friends, visiting a loved one in Hospice, attending a funeral, celebrating a new baby in the family, enjoying a few days of vacation, taking a business trip.
Maybe your emotions have been all over the place during the “ordinary” week: happy, sad, joyful, angry, peaceful, anxious . . . all of the emotions wrapped in one mind and heart – YOURS!
For me, the very nature of ministry is a roller coaster. One moment I am praying with a church member who is preparing for surgery. The next moment I’m completing a report that is due to someone. From funerals to new babies, from reports to rehearsals, from worship to meetings, ministry life is a constant up and down. Throw in family concerns and vacation . . . well, you get the picture.
It happens to all of us. Long ago, it happened to Peter, Mary, the mother of James, James, Mary Magdalene, John, Joanna . . . to all who followed Jesus from Galilee to Jerusalem. It was a roller coaster week!
The followers watched as people cheered the Savior as he entered the city. It was a joyous time! Everyone seemed happy except the Pharisees, but then again, they were never happy. They tried to hush the jubilant crowd but Jesus quickly told them: “if these were silent, the stones would shout out!” *
The followers experienced the angry Jesus, the one who threw out those selling and buying in the temple, turned over the moneychangers’ tables, and called them robbers. Jesus was furious – quite a change from compassionate Jesus who welcomed the children with loving arms.
Then they watched as Jesus cried over the city, desiring to gather His children under his wings as a hen gathers her brood. †
The followers were shocked as Judas, one of their own, betrayed Jesus with a kiss. Most likely, they were fearful as they wondered: “would they be next?” They wept as their friend, their son, the person they believed to be the ONE to save them all, died in agony on a cross. They sadly followed as Jesus was laid in the tomb. Then they rested on the Sabbath as they were commanded.
Happy, sad, shocked, fearful, confused, disillusioned . . . all of the emotions of life in one week.
But it’s the beginning of a new week. Maybe things will be different. Maybe somewhere in the darkness some light will shine. Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others go to the tomb.
It IS a new DAY! He is not there. He is risen. Jesus is resurrected! The complicated emotions that have filled their souls are gone, replaced by the sheer joy of LIFE!
Sarah Young, in her devotional book Jesus Today, writes that often the Evil One uses the 3 D’s to draw us away from Jesus: deception, discouragement, distraction. ‡ The followers of Jesus were indeed deceived, discouraged and distracted by the events of the week.
My guess is that you may have experienced these same D’s. I know I have. I get deceived in my thinking that God is not in control. I get discouraged when I hear the complaints over the little stuff of life. I want to say “Really?” Sometimes I say it. I get distracted by the clutter of my desk . . . yes, the clutter of my life.
But then I go to the ONE whose light may be shining, to the place where new life may be springing and I am never disappointed!
Christ the Lord is risen! He is risen indeed!
* Luke 19:40
† Matthew 23:37-38
‡ Young, Sarah. Jesus Today. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publisher, p. 108.
Photo by Jon Strother
This blog entry is adapted from my message at Pine Valley UMC’s sunrise service this morning. If you are an early riser, you’ve “experienced” it twice!