Three, Two, one
But all His acquaintances, and the women who followed Him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things. Luke 23:49
This was a long day for Jesus. In fact, it started the day before. He was with His disciples all day the day before, celebrated the Passover with them and then went to the garden to pray. That is when He was arrested. All night long He was beaten and interrogated, mocked and spat upon. In the morning He was taken right to the high priests and scribes where He was questioned some more and condemned. Next, they took Him before Pilate to be questioned and punished. That’s when He was scourged by the roman soldiers. Then, even though Pilate wanted to release Him, He was sentenced to death on a cross. Not a beautiful decorated golden cross, it was an old rugged cross. The scriptures actually called it a tree. And that is what it was, two tree trunks made into a death penalty. He carried that tree as far as He could before collapsing in the street and when He finally made it to the top of the hill, the soldiers nailed His body to it and dropped it into the ground to be raised up for all to see.
There were many people there to see Him that day. Some were His accusers, some were His executors, there was an entire crowd there just sightseeing and then there were His followers who stood at a distance. It was a long day for them too. Jesus’ disciples had been there throughout the day to see what they would do with Jesus. Maybe they wanted to be close by when He put them in their place or maybe they wanted to be there for Him if they could do something to help Him. Really all we know is that they were there the whole time. At noon that day, which was the sixth hour, darkness covered the entire world for three hours, but still His followers stayed. I can’t even imagine what that would have been like, but certainly it was scary to be there in utter darkness, still hearing the commotion around them.
At the end of that three hours, the veil in the temple was torn in two. It was no longer needed to keep God’s glory in. Then Jesus offered up His Spirit to His Father in heaven and breathed His last breath. The countdown was finished and so was Jesus’ work in this world. His people and His followers were there with Him that whole day and when they were given permission, they took His body and laid it to rest. Of course, they thought that was the end of the mission. They were confused and frightened for their own lives, but they didn’t run. They loved Jesus and knew in their hearts that He was their Messiah and they knew they had to trust that He knew what He was doing.
This is where we come into the picture. You and I are Jesus’ followers and His disciples, but are we willing to stick with Him when things don’t make sense, and everything looks like it is falling apart? Are we passing the tests each day to trust Him and know that He is at work even in the darkest times? He is our Savior and our LORD, and He sits at His Father’s right hand as the head of the church, His people. He promised to be with us even until the end of this age, so it is up to us to believe and keep following Him until the end comes. Thankfully, we have His Holy Spirit in us to empower us to complete our assignment at this time, but He will not do it for us. We must seek Him first and His plan then He will lead us in that perfect path of righteousness.
Today I want to encourage you to hang in there. Stay close to your Savior and lean on His every word and direction. Search out the promises and directions He gave while He was here in this world, then make a plan to get in line with the purpose He has called you to and love the people He has given you to. The countdown is on again and the darkness is thick. This could be the last hour and we are the only light that can be seen in this dark world. Live this time on purpose with the intent to shine His light and lead all those around you into His everlasting Kingdom.
Today’s scripture reading: Luke 23:44-49
44 Now it was about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour.
45 Then the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn in two.
46 And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, “Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit.’ ” Having said this, He breathed His last.
47 So when the centurion saw what had happened, he glorified God, saying, “Certainly this was a righteous Man!”
48 And the whole crowd who came together to that sight, seeing what had been done, beat their breasts and returned.
49 But all His acquaintances, and the women who followed Him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.