Summary: This is one part of a series I did on eyewitnesses of Jesus Christ. Each message was prefaced by a dramatic monologue, which is included.
(Adapted from Curt Cloninger’s Witnesses)
(Consider getting taped music of men singing)
Fellas, what are we doing here? What are we doing here guys, sitting around in the dark singing worn-out songs? It’s over with, guys…it’s over. What are you guys looking at me like that for? C’mon Andrew, just cut it, man, I’m sick of it, Andrew, cut it…He’s dead, you got that, dead! Cut it, just cut it. He’s dead.
And it doesn’t matter now what he said, all right? I don’t care if he said he was gonna drink wine with us; I don’t care if he said he’d eat a steak dinner with us, it’s not happening. You got that Andrew? He’s dead. Dead. It doesn’t matter now. Guys, we can sit around in this room, we can wait; we can sing songs; we can wait ‘til this wine turns to vinegar, man, it ain’t happening. You can’t drink wine with a dead man. It‘s not happening; he’s not coming back…guys, why don’t we just admit it. Why don’t we drink the wine, at least get some kind of use out of it, cause he’s not coming back.
He’s not coming (BREAKS DOWN EMOTIONALLY)…back.
I wish to God he was, Andrew; wish he was here. But this isn’t some sort of fairy tale, man, where the good guy wins in the end. This is real life, man; the good guy is dead. Even if it was possible, guys, he wouldn’t have anything to do with us. We couldn’t even stay around to watch him die, man. Wherever he is, he’s written us off, man, you can bet on that. It’s over, guys, it’s over. Why don’t we just go home, huh? Think we’ve had enough trouble to last a lifetime. I don’t think I can take any more trouble, huh?
Yeah, Andrew, I remember when he said that. “Let the day’s own trouble be enough for the day.” Remember that Peter? Remember it like it was yesterday man? Remember, we’d been walking all day, and you kept griping about what we’d have for dinner? He’s laughing at you like he always did. Wouldn’t ever tell you; kept saying, “it’s a surprise.” Finally you got so mad man, you got right in his face, “come on Jesus, what we having for dinner, Jesus?”
I’m not kidding, man!
He’d laugh. You got so mad you turned around and stomped off. Remember? He came up behind you and tackled you; you guys are wrestling around on the ground, and then he starts tickling you, and you started laughing, and after awhile, when you quit laughing, you just said, “well, okay, so what we having for breakfast tomorrow. He didn’t miss a beat.
“Ah, Peter, why don’t you just let the day’s own trouble be enough for the…” (CRYING, SOBBING ALMOST UNCONTROLLABY) “day’s own trouble is more than enough for the day.’
I don’t understand why he had to die. He didn’t do anything. “It’s not fair…you hear me, God? It’s not fair!” Forget it.
Look guys, I’m sorry I got mad at you, ok? I’m sorry, Andrew. I just don’t’ know what to do. He was the only guy who ever picked me for anything. I really miss him today. I wish he’d come back and make me laugh.
Look, I’m going to go for a walk, okay? Don’t’ follow me, Peter, I’m going to be okay, I just need to get out for a little walk, okay? I’m sorry I got mad at you guys…
April 20, 2003
What a turn of events the followers of Jesus had experienced. In a period of just a few short days, they had ridden the “high” of marching with Jesus into Jerusalem to the cheers and hosannas of an adoring crowd of well-wishers. They had undoubtedly felt like kings as they accompanied Jesus on the way; why, after three years of ups and downs, of difficulties and miracles, of hunger and weariness but of celebration and profound teaching, this was the coronation of the king. And boy, it was about time, some of them no doubt thought! Jesus had been saying some strange things about death and defeat, and even something about rising again, but it hadn’t made sense; they now thought that He was about to begin His rightful reign, and they were sitting in the catbird seats! All of the naysaying religious leaders would be put in their places; the infernal rule of Rome would be brought to an end; their ship had come in! What we call “Palm Sunday” was just the beginning, they must have thought, the parade to usher in the kingdom on earth.
But it had ended just a few days after it had begun, ended with them scattered after Jesus had been summarily crucified as a common thief between two ne’er-do-wells. This week that had begun with such anticipation and victory had ended in astonishing defeat; Jesus had ignominiously been executed, and they were beat. But not only this, they were now bewildered by reports that the body of Jesus was no longer in the tomb where it had been buried! Peter and John had seen it with their own eyes: the stone that had been blocking the tomb was rolled away, and no body was to be found. John was talking about Jesus rising from the grave; Peter wasn’t certain what to believe; they were all cowering in fear that the Jews who had executed Jesus would be looking for them. They feared experiencing the same fate, and so, in a clandestine way, they huddled together to figure out just what to do next. Ten disciples are there; Judas is long gone, and Thomas is nowhere to be seen, likely overcome by frustration and discouragement.