A friend called and told me someone I cared about had died. I pulled off the road to cry. I was shocked. Stunned. Was it true? Surely not! I had seen her just a few days before! She wasn’t family but seemed like it. Her feisty personality made me laugh each time we talked. This couldn’t be!
I found out the arrangements, glad I could still make it to visitation.
When I got to the funeral home, I signed the book but was too late to get in; the service had already started. It was packed. She would have loved that! From the door, I could see her in the casket. She looked great even from a distance. I wanted to tell somebody that I was going to miss her. I slowly walked around looking for someone who seemed very sad. (They would probably be family.) I found a small group of women in a corner and asked if they were connected to the sweet lady who had passed. They were so I took a seat. For at least 20 minutes I tried to comfort the grieving relatives, telling how I had loved her and how I would miss her. They would, too. We all nodded and sat in silence for a bit, the services still going on. I hugged them all and left, still stunned that my friend was gone.
When Jesus died on the cross, His friends and family must have felt the same way, only much worse. Many of them had followed Him for three years. They had seen Him heal the sick, feed the hungry and bring the dead back to life. He had gone about doing good and pointing everyone to His Father. They believed, really believed that He was the Son of God. He was the promised Messiah in the flesh. So, when He had been arrested, it must have terrifying for all of them. In fact, at one point, all the disciples ran away and Jesus was left alone with the soldiers. He was beaten, mocked, spit upon and whipped with a cat-of-nine-tails, a favorite Roman weapon of torture made of strips of leather with pieces of rock, glass and metal tied in it. A crown of thorns was mashed on His head and a rough cross was placed on His back. He carried it through town and up a hill, needing help from a visitor named Simon. Then, Jesus willingly laid His life down and allowed soldiers to nail His hands and feet to the cross.
How could this be? How could they kill the very Son of God?! They had expected Him to come down off the cross, but He had not. They were devastated. Their hopes were dashed. They were not only concerned about their future, they were afraid for their lives. Where would they go, what would they do? They should pray, of course…but to Whom? The soldiers had killed the Messiah, the Deliverer!
Imagine on that Sunday morning when tales began to circulate about people seeing Jesus. It did not make sense. The stone had been rolled away. There was talk about angels. Jesus alive?! It was nonsense. The women who told it were crazy (Luke 24:11)!
Was it possible? How was it possible? They had seen Him perish on the cross. They had witnessed the spear shoved into His side. They had seen His lifeless body taken down, wrapped in cloths and placed in a tomb. They were there!
But it WAS true! Jesus had conquered death! He was alive again and appeared to many people. Those close to Him rushed to see Him! It was heart-pounding and mind-blowing! Soon, He would be returning to heaven, but until then, He encouraged skeptics to touch His Hands and feel the scars. He was indeed alive!
I found out a week after my funeral home visit that my friend was alive, too! It was the wrong person! (As I rushed in, I hadn’t looked at the name.) She was alive! She really was alive! I hurried to her place of employment as soon as I heard. I had to see her!