And so, it all came true, just as He said. He was betrayed, mocked, beaten, taunted, humiliated and crucified. Even though many had heard Him say this would happen, I suspect there were more than a few who were still shocked at the happenings they had witnessed.
How many of them felt anguish at what they had seen?
How many of them had felt sorrow over their response to Him?
Then, just as He said, in the early morning of the first day of the week, He was missing from the tomb and alive once more. He was back and yet not the same and not permanently. Even those closest to Him did not immediately recognize Him.
For forty days He will walk the earth and be seen by those who will then bear witness that He is indeed alive. Then, He ascends into heaven. How they must have longed for Him to stay.
Those who had followed Him were not leaders, not scholars. They were common people. He had taught them so much, but how much had they understood? How much had been woven into the fabric of their hearts?
Despite all that He had said, it would have been easy for some to think this was the end of it all. For some, He had again not met their expectations or hopes.
I think so often how much you and I are like them. When our expectations and hopes in Him are disappointed, it can be so easy to doubt, to turn away, to give in to our self-pity, and to give up on trusting Him no matter what.
He had promised them He was sending them a Helper, but I cannot help but think they could not have known what that meant. What would happen in the Upper Room had never happened before. They had no frame of reference, but from this ragtag group of followers, one hundred twenty would obey in this and wait in that room for what would come next.
They would discover that what they had witnessed was not the end. It was not even the beginning of the end. It was the beginning of the power of His life and ministry that would fill each of them in such a way that His message would spread across the entire world. Despite persecution, despite all obstacles, it would continue to spread and go on living to the present moment.
You and I are still a part of that “going on” in this present hour.
We have celebrated Easter, but what now?
Do we recognize that He has placed the path before us and entrusted that we would continue to spread the Good News?
It can be easy for any one of us to listen or read the story and think of it as a scene from “back there” and fail to realize it is still ongoing and if you and I are alive today, each of us who call Him Lord has been given a role to play.
Yes, He could do it without us, but He has chosen to invite us to participate with Him.
Each of His disciples had a different path. We, His current disciples each have a different path.
Are we listening?
Have we responded and if so, how?
They walked with Him, but we live by and through Him. They saw Him ascend to His Father. We may yet see Him return to the same Mount of Olives from which He ascended.