We’ve all experienced it. The roller coaster of emotions. The highs and lows of life. Exhilaration to exhaustion. Excitement to Discouragement. Hope to despair.
Life is a mixture of good and bad. Sunshine and rain. Pay raises. But unexpected bills. The birth of baby. The death of a grandmother. A joyful wedding. A bitter divorce. Health and sickness.
But think of the incredible range of emotions the disciples of Christ experienced in just three days?
They enjoyed the Passover feast with their Master. But bickering arose among who would be the greatest in the Kingdom. Jesus doesn’t rebuke their squabbles, but surprises them with an object lesson on humility and ministry by washing their feet. Then he shocks them by identifying the one who would betray them.
As they walk from the upper room and journey toward the Gethsemane’s garden, the disciples minds are racing with questions. Their hearts are troubled. There seems to be a sense of foreboding. Jesus, of course, knows their perplexing thoughts. He says, “Let not your hearts be troubled.”
He offers hope. Help. And a Helper. But they don’t understand. What does it all mean? Where is Jesus going? What’s going to happen? Sorrow begins to fill their hearts. And fear grips their minds. They wanted to ask, but didn’t. Or couldn’t. And Jesus knew it.
The Bible says, “Now Jesus knew that they desired to ask Him, and He said to them, “Are you inquiring among yourselves about what I said, ‘A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me’? Most assuredly, I say to you that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; and you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy…. but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you. (John 15:19-22)
Over the next several hours, as Friday unfolds, the disciples will remember it as the saddest day of their lives.
Judas plants the kiss of betray on Jesus cheek. Grief overcomes him, and Judas takes his own life. Peter succumbs to temptation and denies Jesus. Three times. When the rooster crowed the second time, remorse filled Peter’s heart and he went out and shed bitter tears.
From Jesus’ trial to His appearances before Pilate and Herod, sad faces sought to get a glimpse of the Teacher. As He carried the cross to Calvary, the women who followed Him mourned, lamented and wept. As his mother, Mary, stood at the foot of the cross, you can almost see her tear-filled eyes. and feel the heaviness of her heart as she watched her son writhe in agony and pain.
Following His death and burial, the disciples are scattered. Scared. And sorrow filled. Hiding behind a locked door, for fear of the Jews, they probably ponder their own fate.
But incredibly, suddenly, and miraculously their entire demeanor changed. Sorrow was turned into joy. Despair gave birth to hope. And their sadness now became gladness. The tomb was empty. Jesus arose from the dead! Their Master was alive! Luke records they were filled with joy. John wrote, “Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.” Yes, Friday’s sorrow had become Sunday’s joy.
Jesus said, “Peace be to you. As the Father has sent Me, I also send you” (John 20:21)
Acts records the ministry of the apostles as they went forth with new-found faith, renewed zeal and genuine joy. They took the message of Jesus to the Temple courtyard. To the marketplace. To the synagogues. To rulers. Military men. And common folks. Jesus was preached in palaces and prisons. On ships at sea. And remote islands. Their infectious zeal spread from Jerusalem through Judea, to Samaria and from Asia to Europe.
What changed their sorrow to joy?
The risen Savior.
Almost 2,000 years later, we can all relate. We’ve experienced Friday’s sadness. In fact, some of you are reading right now with a sad countenance. Heavy hearts. Tear-filled eyes. Your sadness may be the result of sickness. Suffering. Or the death of a loved one. It may disappointment. Discouragement. Or depression. You may feel abandoned by God.
Don’t despair. Get a good look at Jesus. He can turn your sorrow to Joy. Ease your pain. Comfort your heavy heart. Provide solace for your suffering. And soothe the sin-sick soul.
It may be Friday. But Sunday’s coming!
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman