Summary: Many emotions make an appearance in the Scriptures during Holy Week and only the resurrection of Christ brings their resolve.
Responses to the Resurrection: Confusion
It all happened so fast! The arrest, the trial, crucifixion, the strange testimonies of Jesus’ resurrection – it all came with a flurry – it was like a time warp. And then there were moments of lucidity; followed yet again by more confusion. Sometimes what they learned in the moments of clarity ironically brought further confusion! I can hear them, at various times throughout these days, saying “What just happened!?” can’t you?
Have you ever had moments of confusion? I mean real confusion where you could not tell which end was up – what was happening?
None of us are immune are we?
What do you do when there is “fog”?
What is your typical reaction when you really have no idea what the proper response is, or what you should do, or what is going on?
• I have seen some people that, when confusion surrounds them, shut down.
• I have seen others go into “clarity mode;” they start seeking answers and become lost in the quest (okay – I do that sometimes).
• I have seen some that just start laughing; they start acting as if it is all a dream. Denial becomes their coping mechanism.
Do you think the followers of Jesus utilized any of these coping mechanisms? I wouldn’t be surprised.
When we read the apostle’s accounts of Holy Week (the Gospels) we tend to read them as methodical, historical, and maybe even tedious; but I think a more complete reading must infuse chaos into the narrative. I am not so sure that their stories are meant to communicate order and procedure (at least not on their part – Jesus certainly had a grasp of what was happening). I am pretty certain their week was quite a blur and I am even more certain the 50 days after Jesus’ crucifixion were blurry. The fact that the Gospels have less-than-cohesive accounts of what happened suggests that it was all so unexpected and unplanned. They had no clue this would happen. They did not know what was around the next turn in the road.
There are all sorts of hints to this confusion, even after the resurrection.
• Matthew 28:16 says, “Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.”
• Mark 16:8 reads, “Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.”
Eventually, confusion gave way to clarity. But, as you have probably caught on by now, it did not happen overnight – or in a flash. I mean Jesus made appearances for 40 days after the resurrection (it was 50 before Pentecost). At least some of the reason must have been because God knew that is was going to take a few “visits” to convince His people that He had risen from the dead.
Even the good news of the resurrection caused confusion for a little while.
What changed all this? I see at least three things hinted at in Luke 24 that God used to give them (and us) clarity.
First, the teaching of Jesus, both before and after the resurrection, helped answer a lot of questions – God’s Word does that you know.
Luke 24:6 - 8 illustrate this: …Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” Then they remembered his words.
I want to encourage you to regularly read the Word of God. It is this book that discloses the heart, character and plan of God. And he often uses it to give us “ah ha!” moments of clarity.
The second means of clarity is the presence of the Holy Spirit.
When Jesus was with the disciples after the resurrection they had joy, peace and clarity. But when we went away the despair and confusion returned. This seems to be a recurring pattern you find in the stories.
The presence of God is such a wonderful gift. When God poured out His Spirit on the church He was giving us the presence of Jesus. We now join Cleopas and the others who walked with Jesus and listened to His instruction. At Pentecost we were given continual access to God’s presence, comfort and direction. Christ dwelling within his church helps bring clarity to confusion
I see a third element that is designed to bring clarity and direction – the church – one another. Not only did Jesus walk with them and share His Word and wisdom, but they frequently shared it with each other as well.
• Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James ran back and shared their new discovery with their friends.