Good Friday, Easter, and Fear(By Christopher Long, BodEquip Ministries)
Tonight I was thinking about Jesus' disciples and what they must have been thinking as Jesus told them He was leaving them, as Jesus prayed in the garden, and then as Jesus was arrested and crucified.
These men that had been with Jesus for the last few years and had left their previous "lives" so to speak to follow Him were now faced with the prospect that their entire world was about to be upended.
And then it was.
Can you picture them? Can you see the fear in their eyes? Can you sense the sorrow in their heart? I imagine questions like "What now?" and "What's going to happen next?" and "How do I go forward?" flooded their minds. They had banked everything on Jesus, and now this King that they thought was going to rule and reign was instead taken from them and condemned.
You know, right now there is a tremendous amount of fear going on in our world. Not just about some COVID disease, but about the world in general - financial stability, job security, etc. Many today are asking questions like "What now?" and "What's going to happen next?" and "How do I go forward?"
On the night of His last meal with His disciples, Jesus said many things to them to try and prepare them as best He could. One of the things He told them was: "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid." (John 14:27 ESV).
Jesus told His disciples, these ones He loved so dearly, that He was giving them His peace. But then He told them they had a part to play. He told them to "let not" their heart to be troubled and to "let not" their heart to be afraid. In other words, they needed to guard their heart from fear. They needed to not let themselves spiral in anxiety and worry, but instead draw on His peace - the provision of His peace that He had for them.
So too, you & I.
I'm sure it was frightening and discouraging for the disciples as Jesus was led away by soldiers. When Peter denied Jesus in the courtyard, I imagine the fear for Peter was intense and no doubt he was in "self-preservation" mode, fearful of what might happen to him also if he was discovered to have been one of the ones with Jesus. Rather than considering the bigger picture, in those moments he let his vision get clouded by his fear. Many today also are in a mode of "self preservation" acting and speaking out of fear.
I'm sure that as His disciples saw Jesus being lied about, and then horribly beaten and mocked and nailed to a cross, there was much anxiety and confusion about what this all meant and what was going to happen. Can you see the pain as John, the same John that shortly before rested his head on Jesus' chest, looks up at Jesus naked and bloody hanging on a cross? Can you see Jesus' mother and those around the cross weeping? And Peter weeping bitterly over the whole situation and of his denial of knowing Jesus?
Can you feel the pain? See the heartbreak? Sense the deep confusion about "what now?"
Jesus had told them, "You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I." (John 14:28 ESV).
He told them to rejoice, but there didn't look like much to rejoice about!
Oh but weeping lasts for a night, but joy is coming in the morning! (see Ps. 30:5)
They needed to not get caught up in the moment but see a bigger perspective. Jesus' peace was available for them whether they availed themselves of it or not. What they didn't understand would become clearer. Joy, and that indescribable, would be theirs as they beheld Jesus risen from the dead! There was so much more to the story then they comprehended in the moment. Such a bigger picture, a bigger view.
And their Jesus that "loved them to the end" (John 13:1b) still loved them and was for them and would always be with them. Jesus had told them, "I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you." (John 14:18-20 ESV).
This same Jesus is Our Jesus. This same Jesus that loved His disciples loves you and me. Can you hear Him whisper to your heart, "Peace, my friend, I love you. Receive my peace. I am in you and you are in Me. There is nothing to fear. Rejoice in Me! Rejoice! All's going to be okay. I'm with you every step of the way. Because I live, you live."?
The world fears and scrambles around and looks to try and depend on themselves.
But we are children of God Almighty thanks to the provision that Jesus made for us and our faith in Him! We are God's Kids and we don't just look to ourselves, but we look to our friend and High Priest Jesus, and our Abba Father who cares for us, and the precious Holy Spirit that leads us and comforts us and is with us always. There's nothing to fear. Let not your heart be troubled!
Easter is a time of joy and celebration! We remember with thanksgiving and gratefulness of Jesus' sacrifice and then we rejoice that Jesus ain't in that grave no more! He lives and because He lives, we live. Lift up your head, friend. Rejoice oh church, rejoice! "weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning." (Psalm 30:5 KJV).
There's reason to hope and look forward with expectation! God is working! He is our source in all things, including our provision and our health. We look to Him! He's on the move - can you feel the ground rumble? There's a bigger picture in play and that which the enemy meant for evil, God is working for good! He's got this whole world in His hands! And that includes you and me!
This same Jesus that rose from the dead brought us out of death and into life and into all the blessings of the Kingdom in Him and through Him. There's no place for fear. Christ has risen from the dead and through our faith in Him, the game's changed and it's rigged in our favor! We win!
With joy and confidence and with the peace of Christ in our heart, say with me what the church has said throughout the centuries, "He is risen! He is risen indeed!"
Hallelujah! Praise God!
Happy Easter friends!
This article is Copyright by Christopher Long 2020. All rights reserved. You may quote/reprint this article for any non-commercial purpose without obtaining permission as long as you use the entire text and that all text, including this and all following notices, is not modified or removed in any fashion. For any other usage, you must obtain written permission from the author.
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations marked (KJV) are from the King James Version of the Bible. Public Domain.
This is version 1.0 of this document (April 2020).
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This document is provided as a ministry outreach of BodEquip Ministries. http://www.bodequip.org