The time of Jesus was near and Satan was working overtime. Judas, one of the twelve, was the first to betray Jesus. But he wasn’t alone. All the disciples scattered in one way or another. Fear causes people to do things out of the ordinary. We can either shrink away, or become embolden. It was the same for the disciples. We all have a choice when making decisions. We can either work on Jesus’ team or on the devil’s team. The night when Jesus was arrested, it seemed that all were on the devil’s team. I probably wouldn’t have been any different. I am not judging. Just observing.God’s ways are not our ways. Jesus was a Peacemaker, a Healer, a Redeemer, a Forgiver, and a Savior. When the men came to arrest Jesus, the disciples immediately thought to fight, but Jesus wanted to remain peaceful. Jesus spoke truth, but Peter chose to lie. Jesus healed the crowds, but they chose to forget and follow the new crowd. Everything was turning upside down, because it was the devil’s hour. A dark hour, a dark night, in more ways than one.
The third person to say Peter was with Jesus—in The Message version said ‘He’s got Galilean written all over him’. Even though Peter denied it, what a compliment. To be said to have Jesus written all over you. Again, I don’t know how I would have responded in a crisis situation, but I do know I would have done exactly as Peter when I realized that I betrayed the one who was so dear to me—cried and cried and cried.
And so, Jesus was arrested. First, He was made fun of, then it escalated to beating him. It seemed that all they wanted Him to do, was to admit ‘He was the Messiah” or ‘The Son of God’ or ‘The King of the Jews’. Something, just say something Jesus. But Jesus chose to remained silent. Maybe He was trying not to fuel the flames, but to keep his words and anger in check. This was incredible from a human angle. It is essential for us to clear our name if wrongly accused, but not Jesus. He was upside down again!
Pilate told the high priests and the accompanying crowd, “I find nothing wrong here. He seems harmless enough to me.”But they were vehement. “He’s stirring up unrest among the people with his teaching, disturbing the peace everywhere, starting in Galilee and now all through Judea. He’s a dangerous man, endangering the peace.”When Pilate heard that, he asked,” So, he’s a Galilean?” Realizing that he properly came under Herod’s jurisdiction, he passed the buck to Herod, who just happened to be in Jerusalem for a few days. Herod was delighted when Jesus showed up. He had wanted for a long time to see him; he’d heard so much about him. He hoped to see him do something spectacular. He peppered him with questions. Jesus didn’t answer—not one word. But the high priests and religion scholars were right there, saying their piece, strident and shrill in their accusations. (Luke 23:4-10 The Message)
Pilate and Herod found no wrong doing. If they could have put the crowd on trial, they would have found plenty of offenses. Lying, inciting a riot, premeditated murder. But they were not on trial, they were in charge. Since darkness was in control, the people let a murderer and a rioter go, and gave Jesus the sentence that belonged to Barabbas. People like to follow the crowds. Sadly, this crowd was leading Jesus to the cross. Some people cheering “Crucify Him”, and some weeping and carrying on because of their love for Jesus. All was topsy-turvy. Still Jesus just willingly took what was appointed for Him to do. His love for people never left Him.
Jesus prayed, “Father forgive them; they don’t know what they’re doing.” (Luke 23: 34a The Message)
While on the cross, Jesus was still thinking of others before himself. Before He died, Jesus saved the one of the criminals whose eyes were opened to Jesus’ innocence. The other criminal did not have the same revelation. That is how the kingdom works, some believe, some don’t.
By now it was noon. The whole earth became dark, the darkness lasting three hours—a total blackout. The temple curtain split right down the middle. Jesus called loudly, “Father, I place my life in your hands!” Then he breathed his last. (Luke 23:44-46 The Message)
When the people saw the events that occurred, some of them saw things differently. Some realized His innocence, some remembered His goodness, and so became overcome with grief and headed home. His followers kept watching the events. They asked for Jesus’ body to give him a proper burial, and they went home to prepare burial spices and perfumes. Then they rested quietly because it was the Sabbath. As soon as the women could resume their activities (which must have been torturous for them), the ladies took the spices and perfumes they prepared, only to find an empty tomb. They were puzzled, wondering what happened.
Then out of nowhere it seemed, two men, light cascading over them, stood there. The women were awestruck and bowed down in worship. The men said, “Why are you looking for the Living One in a cemetery? He is not here, but raised up. Remember how he told you when you were still back in Galilee that he had to be handed over to sinners, be killed on a cross, and in three days rise up?” Then they remembered Jesus’ words.They left the tomb and broke the news of all this to the Eleven and the rest. Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them kept telling these things to the apostles, but the apostles didn’t believe a word of it, thought they were making it all up. But Peter jumped to his feet and ran to the tomb. He stooped to look in and saw a few grave clothes, that’s all. He walked away puzzled shaking his head. (Luke 24:4-12 The Message)
Didn’t the apostles listen as Jesus was talking. I know some things are contrary to the circle of life, but they walked with Jesus. They saw His miracles, knew He was The Christ, The Son of God. But even after Jesus told them He was going to die and then rise again, they still couldn’t comprehend it when it actually happened, they were just puzzled, shaking their heads, and in disbelief.
Father God, thank you that you said blessed are they who don’t see and still believe. I get just as puzzled at times, shaking my head because I see things that should not be, but I choose to not just think it was a coincidence, or that I couldn’t have seen what I saw. I choose to believe it is You. You still work today, just as You worked then. You are the same God, and I need you every day in my life. I am asking You to continuously fill me with Your wonder and with Your Spirit. In Jesus’s name I pray-Amen!