Yesterday morning I sat on my front porch with a cup of Italian roast and decided to read the Easter story (the Jesus version not the bunny version…just in case you were wondering!).
I have read the Easter story so very many times…and from each of the Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. (Just a bible side note- each Gospel tells a slightly different account of Jesus’s life and death…and His ministry. As you read each account, you start to pick up on each writer’s ‘style’. It’s very interesting for the nerd in me!) Anyway, most people focus on Jesus’s death and the day the tomb was found empty when reading this story. But for some reason, I was struck by the days after He was risen. The days He started to reunite with His friends and followers.
I have never appreciated the frustration Jesus must have felt after He arose from the dead. Jesus although a man was really The Savior and He told his buddies (aka the disciples) that He would die and be risen from the dead. He even gave them the 3-day timeline.
Luke 24:6b – 7 (to the women that went to the tomb)
"Remember what he told you back in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and that he would rise again on the third day”
And yet when all of these things actually happened, His followers (and friends!) still didn’t believe Him. The women that went to His tomb, shared with the disciples what they saw (or rather didn't see!) and this was the disciple's response:
But the story sounded like nonsense to the men, so they didn’t believe it.
After He arose, He appeared to several different people and yet His own disciples still demanded “proof”. He was walking along the road with two of His followers on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-21) and they were discussing His death. Jesus (disguised to them) asked them what they were talking about and they basically went through the events that He had just endured. Can you imagine the patience it took for Jesus to listen to them go on and on about things he just experienced? Have you ever had to listen to someone tell a story that you experienced...and then have to listen to them tell it wrong? Did you keep your mouth shut or did you offer your two cents? I don't know about you, but odds are that I wouldn't remain silent. I would have to tell my version. But Jesus didn't. He just listened and I imagine He was a bit disheartened by it.
The theme of disbelief post-empty tomb is threaded throughout each account of the event. And for the first time in my life, I am overwhelmed by this part of the story. How incredibly frustrating it must have been for Jesus to keep telling his friends the same thing over and over and over again and yet still have them be in disbelief and doubt. And yet Jesus never demonstrated frustration. (I would LOVE to learn how to conceal frustration...this is something I am particularly challenged by!)
When His disciplines demanded to see the scars in His hands from the nails, Jesus didn’t say, “What idiots! Haven’t you heard the things I have been telling you?!? (insert eye rolling!) I have told you over and over and over again. (more eye rolling)”…Nope, that wasn’t His response at all (although He did quote Scriptures that basically implied this same concept...minus the eye rolling!) His response was to gently lift His hands and just show them.
John 20: 27
Then He said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!”
His patience far exceeds my understanding. And yet this makes me wonder how many times Jesus looks down at me and thinks the same thing…”Ashley why aren’t you listening to what I have been trying to tell you? How can you not understand?” And it scares me to think how many times I have disappointed Him or how many times I have broken His heart, as the disciples did after He sacrificed so much.
It's a powerful, passionate part of the Easter story that is often not a focus. The focus is on bunnies, Peeps, colorful eggs and occasionally a cross and an empty tomb. I'm so thankful for His patience...and His sacrifice.
Sacrifice, patience and a whole lot of disbelief,
Just a few reflections about everything God is teaching me in this life...a journey deeper into His purpose for my life.