Rooted - Disappointment
It is hard, standing on this side of the resurrection, to fully understand what it must have been like for the disciples to wake up on Saturday morning, the day after Jesus’ crucifixion and death. Maybe, they had never really slept, the events of the past day and a half playing over and over again in their minds. It is easy to imagine them having difficulty turning off their thoughts, and the stress of what they just experienced robbing their bodies of its ability to relax enough to drift off to sleep. When the sun finally came up, they may have even found themselves wondering, “Was it all just a bad dream?” But they could not wish it away. It had happened. The one they followed. The one who held their hope had been brutally beaten, crucified, and was now dead.
Before we rush to the resurrection, it might do our souls a bit of good to sit awhile with the disciples on the Saturday morning and allow the images and words that were probably playing over and over again in their minds to occupy ours. Take the next hour to sit with the final moments of Jesus’ life and allow them to speak deeply to your soul.
Meditation - Take a few moments to slowly read the following passages over several times. Let each reading help focus your heart and mind on the word or thought which stands out to you. Ask yourself: What might the Holy Spirit desire to speak to me from this passage and how does my heart react to what I hear?
Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman,[b] here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.
Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. – John 19:25-30
Exploration - Take the balance of the hour to consider with God in prayer the following prompts. Do not rush. Allow the space necessary to listen for the still small voice of God. Do not feel like you have to complete every prompt. Allow the Holy Spirit to guide you to the places He would desire to explore with you. Talk to him about what you discover as you follow him into these places.
How do you imagine the last words of Jesus, “It is finished,” landed on the disciples? What meaning must they have placed upon them when they awoke on Saturday morning? What questions did these word raise in their hearts? What emotions were they feeling? What fears did they experience? What anxious thoughts must have been going through their minds? In prayer, explore these questions and the feelings they surface in you.
Is there any place in your life where you are experiencing similar thoughts and emotions to what you imagine the disciples must have felt on the Saturday between Jesus’ death and resurrection? What circumstance in your life is giving birth to these? Do you have any fears associated with this situation? What anxious thought do you find going through your mind? What does recognizing and exploring these things surface in you.
Now, take a few moments to imagine how different Jesus’ final words, “It is finished,” must have felt when the disciples discovered he was alive. How did this reality change the meaning they gave to these words? What effect do you imagine it had on their thoughts and emotions? How did the power of the resurrection impact their fears and anxious thoughts? Take a moment to notice what contemplating these things surface in you.
Finally, return to your own circumstance and the thoughts and feelings it surfaced. In light of the resurrection, what meaning does Jesus’ “It is finished” have in this place? What invitation do they speak to you regarding what you think, feel or fear? What peace do you hear in these words? Talk to God about what is surfacing in you as you think about these things.
Ending Your Time – Though on Saturday, the disciples might have felt Jesus’ last words were an acknowledgement of defeat, in reality they were words which affirmed the completeness of Jesus’ ministry and his triumph over sin and death. Take a few moments to simply hold these words in your heart and mind in an attitude of celebration and praise.