Is There Not A Cause For Celebration?
Dr. Richard L. Hamm4 years ago
Everyone has experienced that bad couple of days when things just could not have been any worse. The first followers of Christ had such a few days the days of their greatest disappointment and disillusionment.
There was an unexpected arrest that took place under the cover of darkness in an olive grove. Then, a quickly held trial by the religious leaders, that was filled with false testimonies that condemned him to death. The appeal process before Pontius Pilate that should have brought his immediate release, “I find no fault in him.” Instead, the horrific numbing words “take him and crucify him as you wish.” A savage and barbaric beating that followed that pronouncement almost killed Him. A cruel and painful crown of thorns was placed upon his head and He was forced with a brutal and humiliating trip down the Via Dolorosa. His bleeding and mutilated body was so traumatized and weak that He was unable to carry His own cross. After what seemed an endless excruciating journey, He arrived at Golgotha’s Hill. Immediately, He was nailed to a crude and rough cross for all to mock and scorn; “He saved others, if he is the Messiah, let him come down and save himself.” Finally, in the middle of the day at 3:00 PM, He said, “It is finished. Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” And He, the Son of the Living God, died!
At that precise moment, their dreams were shattered and destroyed. Their prophetic understanding was razed. The eerie sound of a whip was heard, ripping through flesh and cracking of bone, the loud and echoing sound of iron striking iron, dancing in echo through the small hills and valleys. Their expectations snatched away, their hopes set adrift in the midst of these raging events, caused their joy to sink into the darkness of the abyss. When they heard the voice of the one they believed to be their Savior and King speak his final words: “It is Finished.” Upon hearing those three words––He died.
Dead? How could this be? They could not have felt any more lost and abandoned. In fact, everything they had believed just died within them. Filled with disappointment and despair, they walked toward the sunset that would soon bring darkness. What had been the longest day of their life, was quickly becoming the longest night of their life!
Would the sun rise the next day as it had every day before? Or were they to live the rest of their lives in the darkness of despair? The hopes and dreams, their thoughts of the Messiah that was to be, now dead and buried in a cave. As Peter had proclaimed just hours earlier to his beloved Jesus and to others, “Lord I am willing to die for you.” As he dropped his head sobbing, and with tears streaming down his face, in a soft voice he moaned, “I wish I had!”
Things could not have ended any worse. What can we now do? Perhaps, just stay out of sight for a few days and let our raw emotions heal. Then, I guess, we go back to what we were doing before and try to make the best of what was not to be. So they sat and waited in silent disbelief as they tried to make sense of the events of the past hours. As they wrestled with the thought of what might have been, the thoughts of “what might be” never entered their minds. Sometimes it is easier to remain trapped in the “what might have beens of life” rather than being moved by “what could come out of these events.”
Would they forever be lost in their darkness and despair? Could they, would they ever remember Jesus’ words of hope and promise? Would anyone say, “Do you remember when He said...? Did anyone have the courage to speak Jesus’ own words, “Destroy this temple and in three days it will be restored?” Could they possibly imagine something miraculous coming out of their brokenness and hurt?
When they least expected it, they received the amazing news which Jesus had previously told them that would happen; “on the third day, He would rise from death and the grave.” And indeed He did! Up from the grave He arose, with a mighty triumph over His foes. Instantly, their mourning and despair turned into a “Resurrection Celebration.” The story was not over and two thousand years later, new chapters are being written by people who have been changed, redeemed by His message of a “New Beginning.”
What about you? What has life done or not done for you? Are you stuck where you are because of your own refusal to acknowledge that you really do not have to be stuck at all? You do not have to be penned in hopelessness and despair. Angst does not have to control your present or dictate your future. Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God is alive! He has great plans for your life. However, you must receive Him as your Savior and submit to His Lordship. If you do, you will no longer be trapped. He can immediately fill your life with confidence and assurance that He will begin moving you from where you are to where He wants you to be.
Sometimes when you least expect it (just like His first followers) a miraculous celebration is inserted and infused into ones mourning and hopelessness. Billions of people, just like me have had their mourning turned into joy! Everyone likes a celebration! Only true followers of Christ have a reason to celebrate because we have eternal life through Him and with Him! “Christ the Lord is risen today. Sons of men and angels say. Raise your joys and triumphs high; Sing ye heavens, and earth reply.”
Today can be that day for you. Because He lives, we can and will live also. Your story is not over––it is just beginning! Life in Christ begins now, today and for all eternity!
Let your celebratielebration of life in Him begin NOW!