We begin the Lenten season on Ash Wednesday, which falls on March 1st this year. For the next forty days, we will travel with Jesus on the road that carries him towards the cross on Calvary. We will make several stops along the journey. Each Sunday we will pause our 40-day journey to worship our Lord and be refreshed and renewed for the journey which resumes the next day. Then in the final week we will stop and join Jesus at the last supper on Maundy Thursday. On Good Friday, we will experience the betrayal, trial, humiliation and crucifixion of Jesus, witnessing the injustice, and perhaps understanding what it may have been like to be a disciple in those dark days.
Following the crucifixion, we will wait, but not at all like the disciples did. The disciples waited and were in hiding because they thought it was all over. They feared for their lives, and their world had been dramatically changed as the rug was pulled out from under them. While we wait, we know we are waiting just a few days until Jesus emerges from the tomb and declares victory over sin and death, removing the powerful hold they had over humanity. Imagine how it would have felt to have been in the place of the disciples, seeing the leader they had followed for three years… arrested, beaten, and killed. No wonder they were in hiding. No wonder they were incredulous when they began hearing stories that the tomb was empty. No wonder there was doubt.
We still doubt today don’t we?
We doubt that God can handle our problems, so we try to handle them ourselves.
We doubt that God will forgive us, save us, view us as important and worthy of salvation.
We doubt the severity of our sin, the distance of separation that exists between humanities ways and the holiness of God.
The good news is this: Jesus came for all, even the fearful and even the doubters. Jesus appeared to the disciples first…who had abandoned him! The disciples who hid behind locked doors! He appeared to Thomas, who doubted! Jesus came for them and loved them, and Jesus came for us and loves us as well.
On this Lenten journey, take the time each day to be aware of Jesus presence in your life and his presence in all times. The times of joy and fear, of confidence and doubt, of joy and sorrow. Jesus came for you, and loves you, and wants to be part of your life. Let Him!