Easter weekend is always one of my favorite weekends. It is a time where I can just relax and truly reflect on how great of a God I serve. In my very busy life, I find myself often forgetting how truly amazing the sacrifice of Jesus was. While I am trying to work on that, Easter always allows me to take a step back from my life and just be in God’s glory and thank Him for who He is. Two weeks ago, people all across the world people gathered just to give appreciation for the one who died to save us. Jesus willingly gave up His life to save even me, someone who is flawed and broken. My sins were what kept Him on that cross as He endured a brutal death. A death so painful that even Jesus cried out to God asking why have you forsaken me. Jesus is asking His own father why have you forsaken me. I could never imagine the pain that He must have been experiencing in that moment to feel has if God has forsaken Him. Jesus was mocked, beaten, and wrongly put to death to allow me and you to have the chance to spend eternity in heaven. It is hard for my little human brain to comprehend how deep of a love you must have for someone to go through what He went through just for us. However, that’s not where His story ends, but rather just a beginning of a very important next chapter. Three days later, just as He said, Jesus did not lie in the tomb, but instead was resurrected from the dead. A true miracle story that we still today celebrate every year. No matter how many times I hear this story, I still feel undeserving of this deep love. I get chills every time I read or hear about this story due to the fact that I feel overwhelming and unconditional love. While it is easy to get caught up in stereotypical Easter celebrations, it is a time in which I can’t help but grow in my relationship with God.
However, as much as I love the resurrection story, this year something else stuck out to me. Something that I had never taken time to think about in all my life until now. I cannot help but wonder about those who loved and followed Jesus and how those three days after His death must they have felt. Those close to Him had to witness his brutal killing. I get emotional just thinking about losing someone I love, but to see someone I love killed in such a way I cannot even imagine the pain they must have felt. The pain that could only get worse when knowing that not only was He killed so harshly, but wrongly accused and put to death. Knowing that Jesus was enduring this beating for nothing He was accused of, but was still suffering the consequences. Not only did they have to witness this beating, they also had to witness how cruel others treated Him during this time. His clothes were auctioned off, a sign was placed over His head to mock Him, and even one of the others who was put to death mocked Jesus, as He was being beat. All of His loved ones had to watch and hear all of this. It did not end there though. They had to prepare His body for burial and watch as He was placed in the tomb and as the stone was rolled in front say goodbye. We now know that three days later, this would all change, but those who witnessed this were unaware of what God had planned.
This Easter for some reason, I just thought about how those close to Jesus had to feel about those 3 days. Yes, Jesus had prophesized that He would rise in three days, but I can’t help but think that in that moment that I would still be overwhelmed with sadness. When they went to anoint the body of Jesus, they fully expected the body to still be in the tomb. They went to that tomb ready to roll away the stone, place spices on His body, and show their respects. They were not looking to find the risen Jesus. To me, that shows that those three days were still a grieving period without much thought into what Jesus had said what would happen.
Right before what could be called Jesus’s greatest miracle in the resurrection, there was a time filled with sadness, grieve, confusion and I am sure some hopelessness. However, the Bible does not speak much to those days in between the death and the resurrection. We learn about His death and the way He died, and then it goes to the third day in which He arose. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John all give accounts to the death and resurrection of Jesus, but they give just that. However, as a Meyers-Briggs ESTJ, I am a very emotional person, and want to know more about how those around Jesus must have felt. I can only imagine how I would feel in that moment. The grief and sadness that would hit as I heard His final words. The anger that would pulse through my body as those surrounding Him made fun of whom He was. The little bit of hope that would leave when I saw his body hanging there lifeless. Wishing and praying on anything that this was not how it would end. Anger as those prayers don’t immediately become answered as his body is taken off the cross and laid in the tomb locked away forever. Those feelings that I feel would preserve for the three days as you would try to confront what you just witnessed. Jesus, the healer and miracle worker would remain dead for three days. Three days of grief, hopelessness, and sadness.
Thankfully, this is not how the story ends at all. Instead, three days after His death, those who went to the tomb were met with confusion as they saw that there was no body in the tomb. In Matthew 28, an angel appeared to them in verse 5 stating, “do not be afraid…” This would mean that even when Jesus rose just like He said He would, those who loved and cared for Him were scared. His resurrection caused fear that would soon turn to joy and peace when He appeared to them again. What a whirlwind of emotions those three days had to be. A short few days filled with a roller coaster of feelings about the events occurring in front of you.
I think for some reason this thought about those days in between His death and resurrection stuck out to me due to what this can tell us about God even in present day. I have had many times where I felt lost and fearful and confused, much like I imagine those loved ones of Jesus must have felt. Those three days probably felt like a lifetime without Him. However, those feelings did not last long, because Jesus is alive. Jesus rose again to life back then and is still alive to this day. Even when Jesus fully ascended back to heaven, He did not leave us here on the Earth without Him. Instead in John 20:22-23, He talks about giving us the Holy Spirit. He has not left us to our own selves, and I think that it is obvious based on His actions when He appears to many people after rising from the dead. He did not just die and go straight to Heaven. No, Jesus took the time to appear to others and bring peace to them. Twice in John 20, the first thing He says to those He appears to is “Peace be with you.” Of all things He could have said to these people, He chooses to bring peace and comforting. This never fails to just be in awe of God and who He is.
I have had dark days, and I am sure I will have many dark days to follow. Most, if not all or you reading this have most likely also experienced some dark days where you feel hopeless, angry, confused, fearful, and so many other emotions. Just remember, no matter how far gone you think God may be, He is always there. Jesus’s loved ones thought He was dead and gone, and were waiting to anoint His body, but there He was alive and well. He is as alive and loving and caring as He was the day of His resurrection. He is still the same Jesus who was saying “Peace be with you.” No anger or resentment over His death, just wanting to bring peace and love to those around Him. As cliché as it may sound, but God sure works in mysterious ways and even as I sit here anxious over my future, I cannot help but feel peace when thinking about how all of these events occurred. I may never know why one thing works out in my life, and another one doesn’t, but I know the Jesus I worship and love is the same Jesus that arose and brought peace. Every bit of the Easter story, from the crucifixion, resurrection, and the time in between just remind me of not only the unconditional love of God, but also that even in our darkest time He has the ability to bring us peace. Jesus knew from the beginning that this was going to be how it ended. However, He did it willingly to allow us to live the lives we live, and for that I will be forever grateful.