Summary: A look at what the disciples may have gone through between the Resurrection and Pentecost.
“What Do You Do When You’re In-between?”
April 22, 2007
The disciples had the time of their lives for about 3 and a half years. It all started at a party. Actually it was a wedding party. We don’t know who got married. We never learned their names. We do know that Mary, the Mother of Jesus was there. And we know she had great faith in Him. When they ran out of wine she instructed the servants to tell Jesus - and then do whatever he tells you to do. It makes me wonder if Jesus helped her out when she was in need. Did she say, “Jesus, we are out of flour. Could you give me a cup?” or “Jesus, we are out of olive oil. Do you think you could make me a couple of gallons?” I don’t know if anything like that happened – but Mary did have the faith that Jesus could do something about the wine shortage. And He did.
Shortly after that, Jesus walked along the shores of Galilee and down the dust roads of Judea and began to pick Him team. We call them disciples. But they were His team. They were His church family. They were His board members, so to speak. They were called and they followed - and for over three years they watched and were even involved in many miracles. They saw the lame and the sick healed. They saw the blind receive their sight. They saw the hungry fed. They saw Jesus walk on water. They even saw the dead brought back to life again. And they began to believe that Jesus was really the Messiah – the Son of God – the Savior of the world.
Don’t you think their hearts must have trilled at being a part of Jesus’ team when He began that triumphal march into Jerusalem? Do you think their chests swelled a little with pride when the people began to praise Jesus and take off their coats and place them in Jesus’ path? Do you think they felt pretty good when the people cut palm branches and waved them and cheered Jesus and hailed Him as the King of the Jews? On April 1st this year, we celebrated Palm Sunday and praised Jesus, ourselves, as the King of kings and the Lord of lords. But it was less than a week later that Jesus was crucified. I suppose there were a few people that were a part of that crowd on Palm Sunday and who were also a part of the crowd during the crucifixion. Probably that Pharisee who yelled at Jesus to make the people stop praising Him at the Triumphal Entry was also one who screamed at Pilot to crucify Him on Good Friday. And they did. They crucified the sinless Lamb of God. They crucified the only perfect person who ever lived.
What do you think those disciples were going through then? In less that a week they had gone from potential rulers in the Kingdom of God to outlaws, fearing for their lives. They locked themselves behind closed doors. Peter probably wept a lot, ashamed of his failure and cowardly acts.
But in three days, Jesus came back to life. The bible says,
“… he was buried, and three days afterwards he arose from the grave just as the prophets foretold. He was seen by Peter and later by the rest of "the Twelve." After that he was seen by more than five hundred Christian brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died by now. Then James saw him, and later all the apostles. Last of all I saw him too, long after the others, as though I had been born almost too late for this.” 1 Cor 15:4-8 (Living)
How do you think Jesus’ team felt then? We see Mary Magdalene, who was saved from a life of sin and shame, falling at Jesus’ feet and worshipping Him. I imagine that Mary felt like Jesus was the only one to love her unconditionally; the only one who saw value in her; the only one who saw the potential in her. Then He was killed and when she saw Him alive – imagine how she must have felt.
And how about Peter? The brave boisterous one who failed. But Jesus, in spite of Peter’s cowardly deed, welcomed Him back into the fellowship. Not only that, but Jesus made him a leader. He knew that one act, or three acts, do not define our lives. Jesus forgave and restored and recommissioned Peter. What do you think that did for Peter?
Then there was our doubting friend – Thomas. Remember the story?
“When they kept telling him, "We have seen the Lord," he replied, "I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands--and put my fingers into them--and place my hand into his side."