Saturday, April 11, 2009

What Good is a Kingdom Without a King?

This morning I woke up to an uncommon stillness. Yes, it's Saturday - and it's the tail end of Spring Break, so I didn't expect the rush of traffic and the general noise of a weekday; but this morning is heavy with a sense of everything being stopped...

The feeling is probably subjective on my part, a response to the powerful Good Friday service at my church last night; I'm caught up in the stark fact of crucifixion...
  • "At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no-one had ever been laid. Because it was the Jewish day of preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there." (John 19:41-42)
Jesus was dead. There was no getting around it. Christ's life was over and yet there was no perceivable change in the state of things in Israel. My kingdom is not of this world.

So they dragged him down from the cross, wrapped his body with spices and strips of linen, and sealed it in a nearby tomb. My kingdom is not of this world.

Funerals always have this stunning air of finality about them. I can imagine the dark, empty emotions that Christ's friends must have felt through that Friday night and Saturday. Passover was being celebrated all around them, but instead of festivity, the angel of death had visited the disciples with devastation and finality.

My kingdom is not of this world.

All of the hopes and the dreams that had been kindled and nurtured through the past years had been wrenched from the cross and buried - in haste, before being sealed a a tomb; a burial that signified the end of everything they cared for. Jesus was not just their future - they loved him too; he was their best friend, and how his life had been snuffed out.

What was there to do? Where could they go? Would they be next? Or would they all be such obvious failures without their Master that no-one would need to even bother...

My kingdom is not of this world.

And what about his teachings? What about all the talk about The Kingdom of God is like this, or this? What good is a kingdom without a king? And how could they continue to follow with their leader cold in the grave?

Such a desperate day. Passover? Not likely. Would that this experience had simply passed them all by. It was left to Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus to take care of Christ's body, because his disciples had crumpled, drifting off in their depression and their fear.

This Saturday had to have been one of the darkest days in all of history.

PRAYER: Even with our hindsight, Lord, we forget that your kingdom is not of this world. Show us your way and lead us into understanding. Amen.

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