Yesterday was the 13th anniversary of 911.
It was a day of personal remembrance. Solemn reflection. And national introspection.
We all remember where we were and what we were doing on that day of infamy. Many of us know someone who was directly affected, killed, or either by chance or God’s grace missed being on one of those flights or in the twin towers. And, as Americans we wonder “Are we safer today than we were 13 years ago?”
It was a day of evil. Evil men with evil intentions attacked innocent civilians. Their evil was purposed, planned and executed in the name of twisted, evil religious beliefs.
Many fear that Americans have become complacent. That we have allowed the evil of 911 to become a blurred memory. And that we are not as vigilant as we were 12 years ago.
However, there is another day of evil that we must not forget. It was that Friday in Jerusalem when evil was in abundance. Evil hearts killed Christ. Think about it.
The Pharisees and religious leaders’ hearts were filled with envy. Pilate knew it. He said so. Evil plotting. Evil planning. Evil purposes. These men were outwardly religious. But inside they were corrupt. “ Whitewashed tombs,” Jesus called them. Evil.
Evil entered the heart of the betrayer who sold Jesus out. For thirty pieces of silver. He was a thief. A pretender. A traitor. An evil man.
Evil weakened the resolve of Peter who denied his Lord. Not once. Not twice. But three times! Peter wasn’t a bad man. But evil won out on that day.
Evil witnesses paid to perjure themselves. An evil High Priest that circumvented the law. An evil court that ignored justice.
An evil governor. He knew Jesus was not guilty. “What evil has he done?” Pilate asked the mob. But he caved in. He was an unprincipled man concerned more about his career and political standing than doing right.
An evil empire allowed Jesus to be crucified. Rome was powerful. Rich. Expansive. They ruled the world. But they were weak spiritually. The emperors were corrupt men with carnal lusts. It is said by the time of Jesus’ death, the Emperor Tiberius had retired to the island of Capri and was cavorting with young boys and engaging in all kinds of perversity. Evil.
Jesus was killed. Buried. Evil seemed to triumph. But that was Friday. They didn’t know Sunday was coming!
Because on Sunday everything changed. The God of goodness brought about a great victory over evil. Jesus arose from the dead. The enemies were dumbfounded. The scattered followers reunited. The dishearten disciples filled with joy. The devil didn’t win. Evil didn’t triumph. The man Jesus was proved to be the Son of God. And once more for 40 days he went about doing good.
And the gospel, the good news, was set to overpower evil. To diffuse its influence. To undermine its hold on the human race. To eradicate its eternal consequences.
Oh the evil of the empire continued. Men committed unspeakable acts. There was still treachery. Murder. Vice. But Jesus had shown men a new way. A better way. A way of goodness. A way that was God-ward. A way in which evil didn’t have to win. That through the victory of Jesus we don’t have to be servants of sin. We don’t have to be slaves to Satan. We don’t have to be subject to evil’s alluring enticements.
And so today in this 21st century, we often focus on “Friday’s evils.” Corrupt religious leaders. Cowardly Christians. Immoral and ungodly politicians. ISIS terrorists that threaten, bully, and behead Believers in Jesus.
But guess what? Sunday’s coming!
Literally Sunday’s coming. We will come to worship. To focus on God. To see His goodness. And hear the Good News. And to know that evil does not have to reign in our hearts.
But figuratively, Sunday’s coming! A day of resurrection. A day of triumph. A day when those who have done evil will come forth from the grave to the resurrection of condemnation. And those who have done good to the resurrection of life.(John 5:29-30)
One day our worries of physical safety will cease. Our commemorations of 911 will end. The threat of terror will be terminated.
It may be Friday. But thanks be to God, Sunday’s coming!
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman