Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. John 20:19-22 (NKJV)
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:6 (NKJV)
I will confess that I rarely read or buy a book unless I know the ending first. I only like to read stories that are “happily ever afters” so many times will skim the first and last chapters of a book before making the decision to invest the time into reading it. My life is complicated enough without adding someone else’s drama to it, even if they are a fictional character. I don’t mind if there is sadness or even tears before the climax to a tale, but in the end, good must win and love prevail. I can’t imagine what the disciples must have been feeling the day after Jesus’ crucifixion and the day before His resurrection. They didn’t have the advantage that I do of knowing the end of the story. When they were in the midst of it, terror, fear, disappointment, frustration and even some anger must have ricocheted among them. The One that they had spent three and a half years living and working beside was gone. Not just disappeared, but terribly murdered and dead. Though Jesus tried to warn them, I know that up until the soldiers led Christ to the cross and He breathed His last breath, they held out hope that God would intervene. That the same power and strength that Jesus had used to heal the sick and raise the dead would be unleashed. Once, He was laid in the tomb, wrapped in grave clothes until He could be properly anointed and prepared for burial, the life He lead and the beliefs that they held about Him were crushed. Or so they thought. It is ironic that the same men who witnessed Jesus raise the dead failed to recognize that what He predicted about Himself could really come true. Jesus would not disappoint. Only on the second day in the midst of their grief and for some of them, shame, the disciples did not see that tomorrow everything would be changed. Some days, like the disciples, my burdens seem so heavy and my heart so full of sorrow, that I can barely look ahead to tomorrow. Many times, I come home from work so tired that I rest my head on the steering wheel and sit for a moment in silence before I can gather the energy to go inside. But, no matter how stressful, no matter how uncertain, I have hope that the future will be better. For Christ died not just so we could go to heaven, but so that we can live this life in a relationship with the One who holds the future and Who loves us enough to give His life in our place. What the disciples didn’t know was that not only would Christ defeat sin and death, but He would send the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, to live within us. He gives us direction, peace, power and strength so you and I can keep stepping forward. I know the end of the story. Do you?