Tomorrow is Easter. The day behind us, Good Friday. But what about today?
When Jesus’ followers were living the Saturday between, they had no idea what would happen the next morning. Their beloved leader had been mocked, beaten, humiliated and crucified. He was dead and gone. As much as we call it “Good” Friday, theirs was anything but a good day!
As my friend Esther writes, “Their worst fears had been realized and their prayers hadn’t been answered. Imagine the vicious, ripping pain that comes with the death of a friend, the fear that comes with the crushing of a cause, the hopelessness that comes with the loss of a leader.” That was the reality that set in on Saturday.
I wonder what it meant to the disciples when Jesus told them they needed to “take up” His cross daily, long before that history-changing day. What does it mean to us?
The fact of salvation is that Jesus had to die. And for His followers, their hopes had to die. Their plans to sit at the right and left of a king had to die. Yes, the resurrection was coming – but they did not know that! If we are to follow Jesus, something in us also has to die: maybe our plans to succeed… our desire to make money… our preferred ministry ‘job description.’
When we walk with God, it is highly likely that the plans, the provision, will be granted. But it strikes me that on Saturday, before the miracle comes, we don’t know what is ahead. We can’t know, or it would not be the cross. We have to let it die, without the secret expectation that God will bring it back. Perhaps carrying the cross has something to do with that.
(Actually, the theme “something has to die” is the first in a series of writings I plan to share about Abraham’s call and how it relates to us…stay tuned.)
Can we – should we – for just one day, meditate on the cross without jumping to the claims of the resurrection? The first disciples of Jesus certainly had to.