I read through the entire NIV Chronological Bible’s Gospels, during the last two days, in order to have some sense of the events that led to Jesus’ final days, and how that had impacted His disciples and followers.
For three years or so, His disciples followed Him, and was around Him everyday. The rare moments were when He decided that He needed to be alone. Even if they had some doubts as to whether they were trusting the right prophet, we could surmise that, by and large, they had ‘put all their eggs in one basket.’
Let us step into their shoes. They had turned their backs on their livelihood, their families, their synagogue connections, their friends, and everything else we can think of, to follow Jesus. Those were His non-negotiable conditions!
Then the final days arrived. They heard His warnings about His impending death. They must have said among themselves, is He alright? Why is He talking like this? Then they watched His betrayal, the arrest, the humiliating tortures, the unjust trial, the trek to Golgotha, the crucifixion, and finally His death.
I felt confused and devastated! To put it in our context, I felt as though I had lost all my money, my job, my home, my wife, my children, my friends, my church connections, my confidence, my dignity, EVERYTHING. All at one stroke!
I too would crawl into a hole and wait for everything to pass; and wait for a long, long time wondering whether all that had happened was real. I would not dare to be seen at His burial. All their hopes dashed.
Of course, we know from hindsight how the story ended. But to those alive at the time, nothing was clearer than deep darkness. Nothing He said about the coming fulfillment of a better life meant anything. If I might add, perhaps they felt a sense of betrayal by Jesus Himself in His death.
Contrary to most paintings on Jesus’ burial, there were only a handful present; Joseph of Arimathea, Nicodemus, and a few Galilean women (who were from outside Judea.) None of His disciples were around to watch over their Master’s internment for fear of the Jews.
The story will continue at sunrise tomorrow.