Saturday, April 11, 2009

The burden

We all have them, right?  

Things we wish we hadn't done?  Things we wish we could take back?  You know, the burden!?!

A rude comment or something we said or did that was hurtful, embarrassing, or painful?

I sit this Saturday morning wondering what the disciples of Jesus, who was crucified yesterday, must be thinking today?

When Jesus was betrayed by Judas and arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane, the account of Matthew 26 concludes this way in verse 56:  (from The Message)  The disciples cut and ran.  In the NIV it says that the disciples deserted him and fled.

Here are these 12 guys whom Jesus had singled out, had told to drop everything they were involved with and to follow him.  And they did it.  While they followed him they saw signs and wonders, witnessed miracle upon miracle, and heard teachings that baffled the teachers of the law and the Pharisees.

They lived and breathed with Jesus.  And yet, when one of their own betrayed Jesus and the crowd came for him to arrest him - the other 11 betrayed Jesus, too.

Jesus foretold of Peter's denial, and he knew that the other 10 would cut and run, too.

After he had been handed over, tried, flogged, beaten and crucified - what must they have been dealing with this Saturday morning?  What was running through their minds?

Part of me can identify with them, I think.  Every time I louse things up (which is often, unfortunately) it is as if I have handed him over.  Every time I neglect someone in need, it is another swing of the hammer.  Every time one of those horrible thoughts enters my mind, and I allow it to germinate for just a moment, it is as if I spit in Jesus' face.  Every time I do what I want and know it is against his will, it is as if I cut and run.

Increasingly those feelings bother me.  There was a time when it didn't matter, because Jesus didn't really matter to me.  It was a story from a book written hundreds - no thousands - of years ago.  It had no significance in my life.

Jesus matters to me now.  Jesus is everything to me now.  The fact that it was my sin that nailed him there, that forced him to have to endure all he did on Thursday night and Friday is weighty.  

So are the guilty feelings of Saturday.  It had to be for the disciples, too!  All of the "what ifs" they had to be asking themselves this morning!   Uuuuggghhhh!  

And the sorrow of the death of their dear friend and King - the one they had hoped in - the one they had dropped everything to follow - must have been incredibly painful.

Praise God we know Sunday's coming.  They should have, too, since he told them over and over again that he was going to handed over to sinners, crucified and risen on the third day.  But even as he returned to them following the resurrection, they still doubted.

My prayer today, this Holy Week Saturday morning, is that we are able to take a few minutes between the grief of Friday and jubilation of Sunday and perhaps deal with all of the feelings that come in between - the feelings that accompany Saturday.  

The remorse...the guilt...the sorrow...the grief...the pain.

I pray we address them all so the fact that the stone was rolled away and the tomb was empty - that Jesus is Alive - may be a time of celebration in our lives like none other.  That his sacrifice was not in vain and that it is extremely personal.  That Jesus' sacrifice on that cross gives us hope, life, grace and peace!


patty said...

Oh that His sacrifice would not be in vain in my own life! Thank you, Chris and welcome back ;)

Billy Coffey said...

It's easy to look back a couple thousand years and say that the disciples really screwed up. But I'm like you-I would have fled, too. No matter how many miracles I saw or how much wisdom He gave me, I would have cut and run. Like Peter, I would have denied Him.

Because I do that sometimes now, here, in my life.

But I remember the story, too, of Christ rising. And I remember Him giving instructions to go and tell the disciples and Peter that He had risen.

The disciples. AND PETER. Christ singled him out, I think, to let Him know that it's okay. He was forgiven.

And I am, too.

Chris Godfredsen said...

Amen, Billy. I even love how Jesus gave him three chances - just as Peter had denied him three times. He knows we are going to screw up - it's in our DNA - and yet loves us anyway!

Thankfully, I am forgiven, too!

janelle said...

I'm struck by this right now: no matter what we've done, or how many times we done it, he always takes us back - it's that easy for us. That we can turn our backs on him time and time again and he says, "just come back" blows my mind.

Jennifer said...


What Patty said.
What Billy said.
What you said.
What Janelle said.

Glad to be in good company, and of course, in the company of Jesus.