Jesus came to earth in the flesh to change everything. He came to redeem the world, teach his law, and demonstrate his kingdom to all of us.
12 men gave up everything to follow him. What they experienced during that time could never truly be captured. It’s the type of experience that changes ones life forever. You don’t spend 3 years listening to Jesus teach and watching him perform miracles and walk away unaffected. That kind of thing leaves a mark forever. That is until the unthinkable happens.
On the third morning after Jesus crucifixion the 11 remaining disciples had barricaded themselves behind lock doors. The bible says they were afraid of the Jews but if they were anything like me that’s not all they were afraid of. Jesus was dead and as far as they were concerned that wasn’t supposed to happen. They never understood a single thing that Jesus taught about this day. All they knew was that everything they had believed so strongly in for the past 3 years had been destroyed.
With confidence I can tell you that they weren’t afraid that God was dead. They weren’t afraid that God had given up and abandoned them. My guess is they were afraid for the very reason we are sometimes.
They were afraid that what they experienced wasn’t even God at all.
I can imagine their conversations as they are hulled up in that room, discussing the events of the past 3 years. Was any of it real? They saw Jesus open blind eyes and deaf ears. They witnessed him walk on water and command a storm with only his words. They got goosebumps as he fed 5000 people with only a couple loaves and some fish. The hair stood up on the back of their necks when they watched him command demons. It was real wasn’t it? I mean, we experienced it first hand. So how did we end up here?
I wonder if you can see yourself in the disciples predicament. I’m curious if you’ve have had similar conversations as you were locked in the dark recesses of your own thoughts. “I’m afraid that what I experienced wasn’t even God at all.”
For many the day they surrender to God can be an emotional experience filled with goosebumps and tears. Over the next few weeks, months, years they are amazed at the wonders of God’s grace and provision. Miraculous things take place. They couldn’t imagine walking away from these experiences unchanged. That is until the unthinkable happens.
A family member or friend passes away. Unanswered questions flood your mind and capture your every thought. When spoken out-loud the answeres that are offered aren’t really answers but excuses or you are shunned for asking them in the first place. You come to a new understanding of a strongly felt belief and the church rejects you. You come to a new understanding of yourself and the church rejects you. Injustice, hatred, cruelty, gossip, and greed all on display. And the ones practicing these acts ought to know better. They’re Christians after all.
“What if what I experienced wasn’t even God at all.”
These are the events that create exiles today. This is my story. I bet I’m not the only one.
…to be continued.