Had we been there, at the crucifixion of Jesus, that which our eyes beheld, would have confirmed a rather bleak reality. Like the disciples of Jesus, that which we had hoped in, that which we believed, would have borne witness to the appearance of being brought to nought. Jesus, the Son of God, who healed so many, who raised the dead, who calmed the stormy seas, and bore witness to the truth of His heavenly Father, had been nailed to a cross, and Jesus had literally died.
I don’t think we can even imagine what went through the minds of those disciples, the confusion that they would have experienced, the disheartening dismay they would have felt, the lostness that they would have felt within their heart of hearts. How could this possibly be? And yet it was. Undeniable. Jesus had died and He was not among the living on this earth.
But Jesus had told them, what would happen, before it actually happened, so that when it happened, they would not despair (John 14). Judas (not Iscariot), even asked Jesus “Lord, what has happened that You are going to reveal Yourself to us and not to the world?” Emphasis is mine. “What has happened?” sounds like a question, seeking an answer of understanding, to me.
That is one of the reasons why I think that they did not fully understand, they did not thoroughly comprehend, not only what, but also why and how, at that point in time. They had heard the words that Jesus spoke about what was about to take place, but the words that Jesus spoke and the reality of seeing Jesus die on that cross, was not the picture of God declaring Himself to the world, that they were possibly expecting. God’s plan of redemption, was much bigger than their perception.
And when Jesus did rise from the dead, who did He appear to? The Apostle Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 15:3-8. But also of importance, is who did Jesus not appear to?
Jesus could have appeared to Pontius Pilate, but He didn’t.
Jesus could have appeared to the Sanhedrin, but He didn’t.
Jesus could have appeared to the common unbelieving masses, but He didn’t.
Have you ever wondered why? I believe the answer is God’s requirement of faith. Believing in God. Trusting in God.
Remember Abraham? Genesis 15:6
Remember what Hebrews says about believing in God? Hebrews 11
Yes, that would be the whole of chapter 11.
Having faith in God (believing in, trusting in), is NOT a new concept in the New Testament of God’s Holy Word.
If Pontius Pilate had seen the resurrected Jesus, maybe he would have believed.
If the Sanhedrin had of seen the resurrected Jesus, maybe they would have believed.
If the unbelieving masses had of seen the resurrected Jesus, maybe they would have believed.
But if they had believed, they would have believed because they had seen. And that is not faith or belief in that which cannot be seen. That is faith or belief in that which has been seen. There was, of necessity, some that bear witness to what they had seen and what they had heard, but for the vast majority prior to and after the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus, faith in the unseen, remains the vital necessity.
God the Father’s plan to save all those who would believe in Him and trust in His Son’s righteousness, was much bigger than the immediate audience. Think the Great Commission.
Remember what Jesus said about believing in Him and not seeing? John 20:28-29
The Apostles and early disciples that witnessed the death and resurrection of Jesus, who witnessed His ascension through the clouds, back to His Father, saw and believed, and then, they also, could no longer see. They, like us, also came to depend on the Helper, God’s promised Holy Spirit, who lives within us, as Jesus promised. And they, like us, were/are not left as orphans.
Do you recall how Jesus told us that with people, it is impossible, but with God, all things are possible (Matthew 19:26)? There is another impossibility with people, and that has to do with pleasing God, without believing in Him (Hebrews 11:6), where we are told that “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for the one who comes to God must believe that He exists, and that He proves to be One who rewards those who seek Him.” Read all of Hebrews 11 if you have the time.
Faith is critical. Faith is required. Faith is the path chosen by God in His wisdom, to restore what Adam and Eve chose to walk away from. God is the great “I AM”, and the reality of believing and trusting in God, is pivotal because it is our acknowledgement of, and our dependency in Him, that literally changes everything.
Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!