Have you ever been on the tide of fast-moving events where each episode was unfolding with such speed that you felt your safety and well-being were imperiled? You wonder if your own actions might have ignited the sudden change in the status quo.
The hours between Christ’s crucifixion and his resurrection have been written about and discussed by believers and skeptics alike. As we come to the end of this day in our own time, we well know it’s hard to separate truth from rumor. Only a first-person account could separate truth from fiction. If you and I had been in Jerusalem for Passover, we might have been gathering our possessions to return home, when suddenly, we were swept up in a crush of incident upon catastrophe.
Confusion reigns and the entire city is in an uproar. There has been an arrest of one man. His name is Jesus and he claimed to be the very Son of God. If the stories were true, he had performed miracles, healed the sick, the maimed, the blind; he’d fed thousands with a few pieces of bread and fish and quieted a stormy sea with a word.
Such were the stories. But why would a God/man be taken prisoner? We go to the place called Golgotha and arrive in time to see three men—still alive—on Roman crosses. All attention is directed to the man in the center. As thuggish soldiers gamble for his meager possessions, he cries out, “It is finished!”
As if on cue, an intense darkness blots out the sun. We stop in our tracks as wails of grief permeate the air. We learn that the veil of the temple has been rent from top to bottom. A violent earthquake rattles the city, and us with it. Only after scattered torches bring light do we move. For three hours, we feel only an unnamable fear, compounded when those about us report that tombs were opened, bringing forth people long dead … Out of the chaos, we hear of further grief. Followers of Jesus are not to be found.
The next day, we find ourselves with a man who claimed to have been given his sight by this Jesus. A smear of mud across eyelids that never before squinted at sunlight. There are others there, too; a woman whose leprous son was healed by Jesus, a synagogue ruler and his daughter—once dead—who had been raised to life. Several families claim they’d all been fed by Jesus on a barren hillside as he taught them about loving one another and seeking the kingdom of God. Two men, once demon-possessed, tell how they were given peace in their lives.
It being the Sabbath, we wait and listen. There are many who’ve heard of Jesus and some who knew him by sight. One young man, dressed like royalty, cannot stop weeping; he says he would give anything to see the Savior again.
Savior? We want to know more. Throughout the night, we listen to the testimonies of scores of those who encountered Jesus, the Christ.
A cock crows. A thin cloud blossoms with an ethereal color and soon the bowl of heaven gleams with the light of a new day. Two men rush by; others follow, and so do we.
The air is vibrant with expectation. In a few brief hours, a crowd of several score waits. A hubbub of speech erupts and centers on three words, repeated over and over:
“He is alive! He is alive!”
We will not go home today.