When Everything Changed
Can you imagine that Sunday night and Monday morning following the Resurrection? The minds of those that had seen our Lord on that first day of the week had to be reeling. Truly, no one had ever seen anyone come back from a cross and be filled with life, strength, light, hope, and the power to comfort those that were His friends.
Mary Magdalene was the first to have a moment alone with Him after she found the tomb empty. She had mistakenly thought that He was the gardener. Her eyes were swollen from grievous weeping. Friday through all of Saturday, she had not stopped her crying as she tried to fathom that Jesus had been crucified. Scripture tells us that she was hanging on to Jesus so tightly that He had to tell her to let him go. (John 20:17).
Once Jesus left the encounter with Mary, she ran to tell the Disciples the good news. Strange, isn’t it, that Jesus would first appear to Mary and did not appear to the men in His circle of disciples until Sunday evening. Peter and John found the empty grave clothes and the stone moved from the entrance. But, no Jesus. Mary had not slept much Friday or Saturday night because of a broken heart.
And, what about Cloepas and the one traveling with him that walked from Jerusalem to Emmaus together, but did not recognize Him until they were at Cleopas’ home? Being good and merciful people, they extended what was commonly expected when a traveler was in your area near nightfall. It was too dangerous to sleep outside in a town or city. There were very few inns for guests. So, it was expected that gracious people would open their home to strangers as a safe place to stay the night. After all, the Godly folks knew that it might be that one would entertain angels unaware.
Who can possibly imagine the excitement and amazement when Cleopas realized that Jesus had walked that distance with them? He had been in their home. Who wouldn’t want to tell that news to everybody! He had prayed and broken bread with them. Once that fact was revealed, the two from Emmaus ran back the 7 miles to Jerusalem to give the report of the “Jesus sighting”. I suspect that they did not go back to Emmaus that Sunday night. There was such excitement in the Upper Room that the men were both stunned and thrilled by the news of the day.
Then, the most unexpected thing happened. Jesus came in. He was suddenly right there with them. He did not knock at the door or ask to be admitted. He was just there. Standing in the room looking at the bewildered faces of His friends. He spoke to them. “Shalom”. Dr. Luke records, “They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. 38 He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? 39 Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.” 40 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. (Luke 24:36-40).
Somehow, I don’t think you and I would have had a restful evening on Easter Sunday night either. Who could possibly sleep? In the last 72 hours, these witnesses had seen a horrific death; some had helped to bury Jesus; all had been crushed at the reality of their “loss” on Friday. Then Sunday came, and the resurrection changed everything. It was not academic, or rumors gone wild, or theoretical. They had seen Him, touched Him, eaten with Him, and conversed with Him. Jesus was alive. Who could possibly sleep? Things will never be the same…Hallelujah!