Most days are mainly like the day before. But every once in a while, a day sticks out among others. It is one that you couldn’t have really prepared for, and one you wish you could give back. Those days are life-changers.
My friends, Rick & Judy Taylor wrote a book years ago about the drowning death of their son. They started the day with a certain number of kids, but ended it with one less. I can’t imagine the hurt, pain and sense of loss they experienced as they lay in bed that night.
When I was in Israel, I realized something new about the death of Jesus. I’ve known the story of the crucifixion for years. I’ve read about it, seen movies about it, and even taught on it. But there is a key part of the story that is now new to me.
Yesterday, on the day we call Good Friday, Jesus was crucified. Scripture tells us that he was placed on the cross around 9am and was taken off the cross later that day in time to honor the Sabbath.
We read about it in the Gospels. At the end of Matthew 26 we’re able to read the story of the chief priests, the elders and a mob of people coming to arrest Jesus. They falsely accuse, and are eventually convinced that he must die. At the beginning of chapter 27, we see, “When morning came…”
Jesus was arrested at night. His “trial” lasted all night. His deliverance to the governor, and questioning before the crowd all took place early, in time for him to be on the cross by 9am.
So here’s my point: Those followers of Jesus went to bed one night, and early the next day they learned their messiah had been crucified.
I’ve had bad days. I’ve been surprised by bad news, or had to deal with emergencies that I wouldn’t have expected. But for those followers of Jesus, that day must have been unconscionable.
These past couple of days I’ve thought about those early disciples, and how hard these two days must have been for them. Everything that was true to them was suddenly turned upside down. It’s not that they didn’t have hope. They did. But their hope was in someone who had just been murdered.
That was a day when their lives were changed forever.