On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday everything was good. They were preparing for the Passover on Thursday night, one of the highest moments in their cultural celebrations. And Jesus was popular! They had just gotten to be part of His entourage as He entered the city of Jerusalem on Sunday, surrounded by crowds waving palm branches, spreading their coats and calling Him the king. It was exhilarating! How had they been so blessed to be invited to be part of His inner circle, His disciples? It was the best of times.
They didn’t have a clue that everything was about to change. Oh, Jesus had been telling them, but they thought these were just more of His cryptic statements, like the parables - things that required some time and thought to process. You could not have persuaded His friends that anything was amiss, that anything was about to happen.
Thursday’s events exploded like a grenade in their midst. They went to the Passover celebration, and Jesus seemed a bit off. He was talking about betrayal and leaving, and they couldn’t get it. They went to the Garden with Him. Not unusual; He often prayed there. They tried to stay awake, but He was praying so long, it was impossible. Then suddenly they were awakened by the noise of a boisterous crowd, and the clanging of soldiers’ armor. The dream was over. Now they were awakening to a nightmare. Surely Jesus would use His power and subdue them quickly!
He didn’t. He was neither angry nor afraid. But He didn’t subdue the soldiers or the loud cries of the crowd. What was happening? They weren’t prepared for this. They didn’t think they could stand it. What could they do? This was worse than their worst imaginations ever had been. By Friday morning, Jesus was on His way to a criminal’s death. Had they put their trust in the wrong place? Their only hope was a resurrection, and it seemed too far-fetched. Their minds couldn’t even conceive it.
Has that happened to you? Have you had a mighty mortar shell drop into your life unexpectedly, and blow your dreams and hopes to smithereens? Has Jesus appeared to stand meekly and powerless while your worst dreams seemed to be coming to pass? Is death all you can see, and resurrection seems a fantasy? It always does on our emotional and spiritual Fridays.
I want to tell you what the disciples told in the gospels and what they would tell you if they were here today. Don’t run away. Don’t be terrified or feel abandoned. Stick with Jesus. In your darkest moments you will realize He sees and understands. He is working the greatest plan. On Friday, remember that Sunday’s coming! In the middle of death, remember that resurrection is certain! New life is in your future! Don’t give up on Friday!