If you’re reading this the day it’s posted, then it’s the Saturday before Easter Sunday. Saturday was the day after Jesus’ crucifixion, and the day before Jesus’ resurrection. Saturday. That was the day Jesus’ disciples were hiding in fear. They saw how the world treated their Savior, and they were afraid they would be treated the same.
They were afraid, even though Jesus told them what would happen. And he didn’t just tell them once, he told them repeatedly. The third time he told them (that we know of) he put it this way,
“See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished. For he will be delivered over to the Gentiles and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon. And after flogging him, they will kill him, and on the third day he will rise.” (Luke 18:31-33)
“On the third day he will rise,” he told them. Still they hid themselves. They hid, but I have to say, I admire them for this: they didn’t leave. They hid themselves but they didn’t leave Jerusalem. They hid themselves out of fear they would be treated badly, but they stayed in spite of their fear.
That’s how it is for many Christians today. (And to be honest, I feel this way myself sometimes.) They’ve heard Jesus’ words. Maybe they’ve even heard his words repeatedly. But they see how the world treats him. They see how the world gravitates toward science and discounts those who believe in Christ (a false dichotomy, we should look to both for wisdom). They see how too much Jesus makes you uncool in our culture. They see how their Savior is treated, and they become afraid. So they hide themselves. They hide themselves from scripture, and church, and open displays of affection for Jesus. They hide themselves out of fear they would be treated badly, or even because they fear they’ll be perceived as too far out of step with culture. But, they stayed in spite of their fear.
They haven’t left Jerusalem so to speak. They haven’t left Jesus. Their hope remains in Him.
What Mary Said
Easter morning, when Mary ran and told the disciples in hiding that Jesus has risen, it was something they’d heard before. But it was of great benefit for them to hear it again. That’s the way the Christian life works. That’s the way all life works.
What Peter Said
This is the way Peter puts it when he addresses his fellow Christ followers in 2 Peter 1:12: “Therefore, I will always be ready to remind you of these things, even though you already know them, and have been established in the truth which is present in you,”
What Chris Kaman Said
A good illustration of this idea happened the night before last during the Blazers game. Damian Lillard hit a clutch 3 near the end of the game, and as he passed the Blazers bench on his way back down the floor, the old man of the team Chris Kaman yelled at him, “Now we need a stop!”
Damian Lillard already knows they need a stop. Kaman, who’s the oldest member of the team and whose role is that of player and assistant coach, shared a truth Lillard was already well acquainted with. Ninety percent of what the players hear from the coaches is information they’ve heard before. But the Blazers have a culture of accountability on their basketball team. A few weeks ago Lillard yelled a simple reminder to his teammate Allen Crabbe and the announcers commented that if the roles had been reversed, Lillard would want Crabbe to remind Lillard. A culture of accountability is an essential ingredient to a successful organization. The players, or team members, or organization members need to want to hear constructive feedback if they want to be as successful as they can. There’s great research behind this idea. (see Jim Collins)
It’s the same for Christ followers. We need to want to be reminded. Basketball players who welcome reminders become better basketball players. And Christ followers who welcome reminders become better Christ followers. It all lines up with Proverbs 9:8-9, “…reprove a wise man, and he will love you. Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.” And it fits perfectly with Hebrews 10:24-25 too.
A Great Example
If you read this blog you know I’m big on finding and studying great Christian role models, beginning with Jesus of course. I was talking about that with someone younger than myself (a rapidly growing demographic) and I said to him that he would be happier if he focused on great Christian role models rather than negative Christian examples.
He told me, “I’m already happy.”
And you know what? He’s right. I used the wrong word there. Finding and studying great Christian role models won’t make you happier. Finding and emulating great Christian role models will only make you better at loving God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind, as Jesus commands us to.
The thing is, nothing is more important.
And who doesn’t want that? Who doesn’t want to follow Jesus’ words and who doesn’t want to love God the very best they can?
So maybe this Easter you’re feeling stuck in between Jesus’ death and Jesus’ resurrection, as the disciples in hiding were on that Saturday 2,000 or so years ago. If you feel that way, come out of hiding. Find and study great Christian role models. Dive into the scriptures and study the greatest role model ever. Welcome reminders and accountability. Find a church filled with people who love Jesus with everything they have and join their community.
He is risen.
You can rise too.
“Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Ephesians 5:14
Image via David Goehring – Creative Commons