As Holy Week is upon us, I’ve looked around and taken stock of many hurting hearts.
So many are limping along, tethered by some very grave disappointments.
If you can’t put your finger on a loss you’ve personally felt, I suspect you can get your hands around a loss somebody dear to you has experienced.
And if you’re fortunate enough to not know either of the foregoing losses, then you can appreciate the weight of recent domestic and international tragedies in news headlines.
The sadness around us often feels like too much to bear.
But I write to remind you that Sunday’s coming.
This is the same Sunday Jesus’ followers could not possibly fathom on that dark Friday and Saturday following Jesus’ death.
Can we unpack the spectrum of loss Christ followers must have experienced during Holy Week?
Holy Week broke open with the crowd singing Hosanna—-save us–to Jesus, signifying a monumental shift in the public’s perception of Him. Much of the public at large finally recognized Jesus as Savior of the world.
On that Palm Sunday, don’t you know that many close to Christ had to be gallivanting around, taking a victory lap, as they celebrated the fact that people finally recognized Christ as King?
The disciples and those near to Christ were the first ones to leave everything to follow Jesus. So surely, those near to Christ felt a sense of fulfillment on that Palm Sunday, telling themselves their dedication and sacrifice was all worth it.
Many Christ followers had to believe on Palm Sunday that this was it? Perhaps they believed Christ glorified by members of the general public is exactly why they walked away from their lives to follow Christ.
We can imagine these same Christ followers had a play-by-play in their minds about how this grand salvation and glorification of Christ would finale following Palm Sunday.
It was all going so well and surely would continue crescendoing through this pleasant symphony of events.
Then we can imagine how Thursday evening must have pulled the rug right out from under the disciples’ feet.
The insecurities Christ followers must have felt during the Last Supper as they started realizing things weren’t going according to their plans.
Consider the dissonance as those who loved Jesus overheard Him plead with God for a different cup.
Imagine the panic these people experienced as they watched Jesus then arrested.
We know from scripture that everyone around Jesus fled upon His arrest.
Every step of the way to the crucifixion, those close to Jesus must have been telling themselves aha! This is where God intervenes.
How about now? Now is surely when God will turn this around.
God has to intervene here because the outcome is becoming irreversible.
What about the gravity of disappointment Jesus followers must have felt as they looked on the Son of God, convicted as a criminal?
Beyond the sorrow, don’t you think they felt like naive fools?
We can imagine.
In fact, many Christ followers hid themselves.
Perhaps we can start to put our fingers on the disappointment and hopelessness those near to Christ must have experienced as they watched the Messiah meekly surrender, agonizingly suffer, and ultimately die among convicts.
I could drone on for days about the spectrum of loss Christ followers must have felt on that dark Friday evening and Saturday.
I can’t possibly capture the bewilderment experienced on that dark Friday and Saturday.
And I certainly can’t capture the bewilderment you may be experiencing right now.
Maybe the spectrum of the crucifixion loss is more palpable this year for you.
Be encouraged, Sunday’s coming.
Even those close to Jesus that expected to see Him resurrected were aghast at the sight of Jesus on Resurrection Sunday because it turned even best expectations on their head.
I can’t ring this bell loud enough for you:
Jesus Christ will turn even your grandiose expectations on their head because we serve a God who cannot be outdone by our glib and boring ideas of how His plans should unfold.
The good plans our Lord has designed confound our most creative thinking.
The disciples expected a Savior.
God was bigger.
The disciples instead beheld the blameless Son of God crucified, buried, and resurrected on the third day, appearing to them in person, before ascending to heaven as the disciples looked on.
The disciples beheld a risen Savior who vanquished the sting of sin and death forevermore.
Now Sunday’s here forevermore.
God knew all along that He was going to redeem all losses on that Resurrection Sunday, even when those close to Jesus couldn’t see past the darkness on Good Friday.
Because of that darkness on Good Friday, Sunday is here forevermore.
Whatever loss has tethered you, Sunday’s here.
You had a plan that you believed was God’s best for your life and that plan has come undone. But Sunday’s here, and God is making straight paths before your feet.
You are exhausted from battling an illness that feels unending. But Sunday’s here, and you’ve gained new strength and power, rising like an eagle.
You’re watching someone you love walk an extremely painful path right now. But Sunday’s here, and God hears your prayers for mercy on that someone you love.
You expected a certain relationship to look markedly different and instead, that relationship is broken. But Sunday’s here, and the Good Shepherd tells you that you lack nothing as He walks you through this dark valley.
You’ve been waiting for God to fulfill a promise for years and you’re worried that promise will ring empty. But Sunday’s here, and God’s Word never returns void.
You knew you were going to grow old with this person, and this person isn’t on this side of heaven anymore. But Sunday’s here, and the Lord is close to the brokenhearted, providing you with hope that does not disappoint.
Sunday came for you.
More than 2,000 years ago, Sunday came.
And because of God’s faithfulness on that Sunday, the Lord Jesus is here alongside you, walking you through what feels like a dark time.
The same Spirit that raised Jesus from the grave lives in you.
Rise up, dear one. Sunday is here.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5,6 (NIV).
“But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31 (NIV).
“I love the Lord because he hears my voice and my prayer for mercy.” Psalm 116:1 (NLT).
“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. . .He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil for you are with me. . .” Psalm 23:1, 3-4 (portions, NIV).
“As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:10-11 (NIV).
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18 (NIV).
“Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory. . .And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” Romans 5:2, 5 (NLT).
“The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.” Romans 8:11 (NLT).
Happy Easter, and happy Sunday forevermore.
Much love to you,