A few friends and I started a journaling group last October. We only meet once a month, but it is very interesting. We start with one or more possible journaling prompts, or we can just write a prayer or about whatever is on our minds. Then we share what we write. Yesterday I wrote about what I think I would have felt if I were at the first Easter.
What would it have been like if I would have been one of Jesus’ closest followers – a woman who followed and helped provide and care for Him (Mark 15:41).
I am standing back with some of the other women who are followers of Jesus. The soldiers are nailing our Master to a rough, wooden cross. With each swing of the hammer He screams in agony. I can barely see anymore through all the tears as they lift the cross and in lands with a jolt in the hole in the ground. He screams again!
I don’t understand why this is happening. What did He do, except love people, heal them, feed them, and bless them. He taught about repentance. He taught us to call God, Daddy. He taught us a lot of things and promised that His kingdom was still to come. Now He is slowly dying on a cross like a criminal. That dream of His kingdom is all but gone.
I love Him so much! It is so hard to stand here and watch Him suffering so much. Each breath is so painful! He speaks, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34). I know Jesus loves people, but how can He forgive these soldiers for what they are doing to Him? I just don’t understand.
There are two thieves also being crucified. One of them is just mocking Jesus. Unbelievable, that even as he is dying he doesn’t repent of his sins, and instead he mocks the one who has done no wrong. The crowd joins in hurling insults at Jesus. But, the other thief rebukes the first one and then says, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” I can’t believe Jesus’ answer, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:42-43). Amazing! Jesus is still ministering to people as He Himself dies a slow, painful death.
It seems like such a long time He has been hanging there. It is only about noon, but the sky is so dark. The sunlight hides from this terrible thing that is happening!
It’s about three o’clock now, and He is getting so weak, He can hardly lift Himself to breath anymore. He cries out again, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46). God, how can this be happening? Isn’t Jesus Your Son? Jesus says, “I’m thirsty.” (John 19:28). Those mean soldiers put some vinegar on a sponge and hold it up to His mouth. Then with a very labored breath He says, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up His spirit. (John 19:29-30).
I thought I was cried out, but the tears flow again. I can’t stop screaming. This man, this wonderful man who loved me when no one else cared. This man who said my many sins were forgiven and that I would have a new life with Him. Now what? How can I have any life with Him? He’s gone! Why God?! Why?!
Some men come and take His body down. They take Him and place Him in a borrowed tomb. It’s almost the Sabbath. They must hurry.
The agony and hopelessness are unbearable as we go through the motions of our Sabbath prayers and meal. I can’t eat. My heart is broken. I am so confused. Is this the end? What is the point? Jesus had talked of His kingdom to come, but now He is dead? How can this be? I don’t understand.
It’s late. I am all cried out. It’s been a long couple of days. I am hiding in the upper room with the disciples and the other women. We are worried that the soldiers will come looking for us next. The sun is starting to come up. It’s been another sleepless night. Suddenly, Mary Magdalene comes bursting into the room! She’s shouting something about Jesus being gone! We know He’s gone, Mary. We watched Him die. But she says, NO! He’s alive! I saw Him! He is alive!! I think she must be so overcome with grief and with little sleep, she is hallucinating. She continues, He told me to tell you, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.” (Matthew 28:10).
Peter and John ran to the tomb. When they came back they told us the tomb was empty as Mary had said. They found His grave clothes lying there and the cloth that was on His face was folded by itself. (John 20:3-10). We remembered that Jesus said He must die and rise again. I am excited, but scared to believe it is really true. We decide to go to Galilee as Mary told us and wait for Jesus there.
We traveled as fast as we could. Lack of sleep was overcome by our excitement at the thought that Jesus is really alive again!
We were still afraid of the authorities, so we gathered in a locked room. Jesus appeared to us there. He said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed us His hands and side. We were overjoyed when we saw the Lord! (John 20:19-20). Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on us and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” (John 20:21-22). I’m not really sure what He meant by that, but my outlook as really changed. A warm feeling of peace fills my heart. All my fears are gone! Jesus is alive! This is a new day! Life for me will never be the same again!
I wish you a very blessed Resurrection Day this Sunday! Everyday is Resurrection day when you are a Jesus follower. Jesus has really changed my life forever! How about you?