The room was dark. The disciples panted for breath, making no effort to light a lamp. All found their own corner or piece of wall to hunker down and ease their pounding hearts, the sound of those approaching boots still in their memories.
The sight of Judas walking to Jesus in the garden haunted them. The audacity of him to betray Jesus with a kiss. How could he? But then, how could each follower of the Master slip back into the bushes to hide? Not to mention running away in the night. They were betrayers too, in a way.
Matthew heard a whimper, heavy sighs, quiet weeping, but no one spoke a word. Each burying himself in his own emotions.
What would happen to Jesus now? Where were they taking him? Helplessness bore down on each man, fear and worry. Darkness.
Finally, Matthew decided he should count to be sure they all made it. He lit the lamp and counted. “There are nine of us,” he said. “Judas is gone. Peter and John are missing.” The others looked around the room. Matthew was right. Something to think about, besides themselves.
Exhaustion at this late hour overtook them and each man fell into fretful sleep.
Sometime after the crow of the morning cock, Peter came staggering into the room, wild with grief and anxiety. Shortly after, John came in with the news that after a mock trial of the Sanhedrin, the religious leaders had taken Jesus to Pilate. The leaders were stirring up the crowd to urge Pilate to crucify Jesus. Could this madness get any worse?
Darkness at noon.
Three hours later, John came back with the horrifying account of Jesus’ death: crown of thorns, flogging, dragging his own crossbeam, nailed to the cross, his mother weeping for her son.
Night came again. Then the long Sabbath day. No word. No peace. More agonizing questions.
[You and I have experienced darkness in the last few weeks. Questions. How long will we be held in, hardy able to get out? Fear of the invisible virus sneaking around to destroy us. We wait.]
On the first day of the week, strange reports from the women, the tomb empty —body stolen? Risen, they said. Peter and John run to see for themselves. Yes, an empty tomb, but the men couldn’t wrap their heads around the word “risen.”
That evening, in the midst of their locked-door room, Jesus himself appears to them. His first words?
“Peace be with you!” He showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed. John 20:19
Glorious light! Joyful light came into that room and into their hearts.
Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” John 20:21
That glorious light comes to us on this Easter week—even in quarantine—and all through the year. He says to us, “Peace be with you.” He sends us as well. Make your phone calls, send your letters, cards, emails, and texts. Give your donations, make your masks, pick up groceries, whatever he calls you to do. Walk in the light!
A blessed Easter to you,
~ Joyce ~