Hindsight is easy. It is all clear to us about the cross and the incidents of Good Friday but, for the disciples, this day meant running for their lives into the scary night.
But, look at what happened afterwards. Another piece of the Easter puzzle by Dr Coleman to give us faith and life. – Bob
Living on “This Side” of Easter – A Meditation for Easter
In many ways it is much easier for us than it was for them; we stand on this side of Good Friday. In fact, it is that perspective that enables us to call it “good.”
What was there so triumphant, so holy or so good about these episodes in the life of Jesus that brought him nearer to the cross which meant death?
We see it because, from our perspective, we know the end of the story. The end is not death and a lonely garden grave, but resurrection and life.
We sometimes read the New Testament account hoping that in it Peter, John, Paul and these early Christians will explain to us the meaning of the resurrection. In a real way, however, they do not explain the resurrection, but it explains them. There they were then: frightened, frustrated and running away into the night.
Peter denying, Thomas doubting, and James and John no doubt still fussing over who was to sit on his right and left when the “kingdom” comes. Look at them now at Pentecost, after that tragic night of the cross and the victory of “the morning of the first day of the week.” They are different men (no, rather: The Same men whose lives have been transformed by the risen Lord!!)
Peter, now becomes the spokesman for the “good news” in his sermon at Pentecost after the Spirit came. Thomas, now comes to the first full-blown confession of faith in his declaration:
“My Lord and my God.”
These early disciples passed, painful as it must have been, from “sight” into “the experience of faith.” Their relationship to Jesus would now be on a different plain. They must get used to the fact that even though they do not see him with the naked eye or hear him with the physical ear, he is just as real and is indeed with them.
God had taken man’s worse and made it into what was best—out of hatred came love, out of darkness came light, and out of death came life. God has taken away the power of sin and the terror of death. He did not take away death, for we all must die, but the Easter message is that Jesus revealed that death is but a door to that greater life with God.
The writer of Hebrews in the New Testament declares that Jesus is “the pioneer” of our faith—He has been where we are and can sympathize with us. So, even in the light of death, we can be comforted in the knowledge that he has already been there. Out of death came freedom to live (I Corinthians 15:55-56).
Let us meditate again on the old story that is forever new in the Gospels. Read Luke 24.
Despite the emphasis on materialistic sights let us pray that we may move from sight into a more realistic and genuine adventure of faith. Even in a world of pain, sickness and death, let us pray for the courage to acknowledge: he is “the resurrection and the life.”
Prayer: Father, may the Easter faith enable us to know that death has been defeated and we are set from its terror—in this freedom of faith. Amen.
About the Author
G. Byrns Coleman is a retired Professor of Religion and Chair of Department of Religion & Philosophy, Wingate University, Wingate, NC . He is also a member of Wingate Baptist Church .
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