“See, we are going up to Jerusalem,” Jesus had informed his disciples in the final weeks before his death. “And the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day” (Matthew 20:18-19 ESV).

They didn’t remember what you had said. The events of the previous day crowded out your words – the shock of your suffering, their betrayal in your hour of need. They had fallen asleep as you cried. They had run. They had denied you.

How it must have hurt them to remove your stiffened, bloodied corpse from the cross, to lift your body down so gingerly, to smooth the matted hair back from your blood-caked face, to kiss your wounds, to wash and prepare your body for burial, to leave you in the cold cave.

How their hearts must have ached, their tears overflowed. The women were beside themselves with grief, the men stunned. What had just happened to all their glorious plans for your earthly kingdom?

How could they have been so wrong?

They were confused, terrified, and hopeless. You had known they would be, hence all the talking, teaching, reminding, and informing that you had carried out in the preceding weeks. The Holy Spirit would bring it all to mind when they saw you again—you had known this. But you had also been aware that in that dark day immediately afterward, they would lose hope.

And they did. And some scattered and ran.

Sometimes dark hours are necessary—they show us just how important the light is; they refine us, and we grow like sun-starved plants, stretching for the light. Glorious light was coming; but they hadn’t recalled it yet. They had forgotten your prophetic words, the predictions you had made just days before. It had made no sense to them at the time: Is he speaking figuratively again?

It was the worst day of their lives. You knew it would be.

Have you ever faced hopelessness? How did the Lord shape it to cause growth?


This post was first shared April 7, 2012.