Surviving the Worst of Times ~ podcast

The Saturday, after Jesus’s death, was probably one of the darkest days for the followers of Jesus. The images of the crucifixion of Jesus had moved from the shock and horror of His death to the devastating reality that He was gone.  Crucified, dead and buried this band of brothers were together … somewhere.

I can imagine that for a while there was very little being said. He died on Thursday and was buried before sundown. His dead carcass was prepared for burial and placed in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea.  Roman soldiers rolled a large stone to cover the entrance and then placed a seal across it and they stood guard at the tomb.

I wonder where the disciples and whoever else were there in Jerusalem went after the body was placed in the tomb?  We are not told where, but we do know from Luke 24 that the 11 were together and there were others with them.

Death of loved ones, if not the most, is certainly one of the most painful things that any of us will ever have to deal with.  The death of a loved one, the death of a child, the death of our spouse or close friend shocks us.  I remember receiving the call from my brother Chris and the moment he told me our brother Roger was dead.

I was in my car backing out of my driveway and when he said over the phone those words; “Roger has died.” I literally felt something deep in my heart.  It felt like a part of me left me and he was suddenly gone.  Now, for me, that was not all that traumatic.

I can only imagine what it was like for these 11 men who were with Jesus 24/7 for three and a half years. Or for the women who were also part of those following Him and caring for the needs of the pre-emergent church.

Then add to that the horror of watching the hours of His crucifixion with the jeers and public humiliation of the words being yelled at Him. And that moment He cried out “It is Finished” and died. To literally be there and witness the brutal destruction of this most beautiful man must have ripped their insides out and left them destroyed in so many ways.

Now it is Saturday and they are all still together.  Can you imagine what they were feeling?  The utter emptiness with thoughts echoing inside their hollowed-out hearts. The unimaginable reality played out before their very eyes and now they are still together in hiding.  Who could even be able to speak anything into the silence and darkness of that tomb in which they all were residing?

They had no idea what would happen the next day even though Jesus had told them.  Their hearts and minds could not have been able to shake what they had witnessed. A sense of complete despair filled the air and their grief was holding them all on the cliff of their existence. Oh … the pain they must have been feeling.

For some of us, our sexual brokenness and its disclosure may have taken us into one of those “worst of times.”  As I confessed to my wife and family my horrible list of sexual sins it was the worst moment of our lives.  And it did not end with my finally telling the truth.  There was the ripping away of the mask I had worn for years. Only to be revealed to them and myself the miserable Gollum living inside of me.

My friends, I want you to know that I have lived in the pain that some of you are experiencing.  And if there is one thing I know from surviving that moment over 13 years ago and the days, the weeks, and the months of being in that darkness … there can be for you a resurrection.

God breathed the breath of life into the dirt of the ground and produced Adam.  The Spirit breathed the breath of new life into the crucified body of Jesus.  And God can breathe the breath of a new life into you as well.

Our sexual sins have brought a kind of death into us, our loved ones and others.  But this very painful experience, in and of itself, is the work of God to begin the journey to a Christ-centered and Spirit-filled life. It is His way of removing the cancer that has been eating you alive day after day.

It is showing all of us how empty and futile our lives become when we choose sin to be our master instead of Jesus. As Paul writes in Romans 6:12-14;

“Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.”

Tomorrow we celebrate the Resurrection as we should celebrate every new day God gives us to experience His Grace, walking filled with His Spirit, and wearing the full armor of God so that we can stand strong in the strength of His might.

He is risen.  He is risen indeed. And so can we be as God gives us grace for today.

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