It’s often said that if there are 10,000 steps between us and God, He will take 9,999 and leave one to us. We’ve spent 40 days allowing Him to move deeper into our hearts, souls, minds and efforts, and during Holy Week, we will respond by taking 1 step toward Him each day, and enter into something Jesus emulated during the week of His crucifixion.
Entering into waiting:
“As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him. Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there opposite the tomb. The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. “Sir,” they said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.” Matthew 27:57-64
It truly was finished. All the work the elders and priests put into ending Jesus’ ministry had finally been accomplished. I imagine them back at the temple, drinking wine, preparing for Shabbat, congratulating each other when suddenly, the ground quaked and a sound unlike they had ever heard, almost as if the sky was being torn open, emanated from the Holy of Holies. They grew paranoid, and made a decision to go speak to Pilate the next day about having a guard put on Jesus tomb. The last thing they needed was for Jesus body to be stolen in the night and have it claim he did indeed rise from the dead.
Now, all that was left to do was wait. The disciples were also waiting. They had just dedicated the last 3 years of their lives watching Jesus perform miracles, teach about the true heart and will of the Father, and now he was dead. In their overwhelming grief, the disciples had to ask themselves some hard questions: Were they supposed to return to their homes? Were they supposed to go back to their professions? How long were they really supposed to wait and see how things played out, especially after Peter was interrogated and lied to ensure his own life was spared?. Was Jesus really going to rise from the dead?
Many of us are also in a period of waiting to see if what Jesus has promised will come to pass in our own lives. Will we really experience freedom from the heavy chains that burden us? Will we have victory in overcoming the roadblocks and setbacks in our life? Will we be healed of the disease we’re battling? Will we truly…?
Satan may have been defeated at the moment Christ declared it finished, but the the fulfillment of that victory was still to come. It is in that same tension that we live, referred to as the now and not yet, where we have seen the Kingdom of God initiated, but not yet fully realized. We see the Spirit move and heal, restore, and bless abundantly while we also see others stricken and afflicted, without relief. You may even be living in that active tension, wondering when the Kingdom of God will manifest in your own life and body.
Today, we lean in to the only thing the disciples had while they waited those three days, directionless, heartbroken and full of questions: Hope. This is not pie-in-the-sky, wishful thinking, “fingers crossed that everything turns out ok,” hope. This is the hope that the writer of Hebrews refers to as an anchor for the soul (Heb 6:19.) It is the steady assurance that God is who He says He is, that all He says is true, and that His story is a good one. We wait full of confidence that resurrection life is right around the corner.
What are you currently waiting on God for? Have you been able to maintain your hope for it?
How does holding onto the idea that God is who He says He is, what He says is true, and that His story for your life is good change the way you wait for the Kingdom to come in your life?
Lord Jesus, you are intimate with waiting for the Kingdom of God to be revealed and know my struggle with living as things are and in the victory you proclaimed on the cross. Give me peace as I wait and anchor me to the character of the Father, who is good and keeps his promises. Strengthen me as I continue to lift my anxieties to you, and give grace that I may be present in what You are doing today. Amen
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