During the trial and after the death of Jesus the disciples were a bunch of scared men who were hiding away. Terrified that the Romans would come to get them, they hid behind locked doors. Probably ashamed of deserting their beloved Rabbi the self-hatred that must have consumed them; their once complete assurance in their own devotion to Him was turned to doubt, perhaps self-loathing and even despair. For 3 years they had walked with this man, listened to His amazing teaching, watched Him heal the wounded, love the unlovable and raise even the dead. Was there nothing this man could not do? He could calm a storm with a word, feed 5,000 with mere loaves, and look into your very soul and see something worth cherishing. Who was this amazing man?
And then He’s dead, brutally dead. There is no doubt about it, the Romans knew what they were doing too well. Hundreds if not thousands of people were killed on crosses by the Romans, this would be no different. In a moment their dreams were turned to nightmares, their hopes to dust. So much for Jesus of Nazareth.
It has been stated that the death of Jesus was not unique in many ways. Many many Jews were killed on crosses by the Romans. Thousands were mocked and flogged. What made Jesus’ death different? What made the disciples different? Not many mos later men and women were out in the Temple, on the streets, and in the synagogues filled with a fire and a passion proclaiming this same Jesus as Lord and King. Filled with a hope that could never be shaken, a love that could never be quenched, and a truth that could never be stopped.
The difference??? Jesus was alive. Jesus’ death was different bc His death was a sacrifice for sins. It was not simply the death of a good man who was misunderstood but the planned sacrificial death of a God-man who was determined to bring glory to His Father no matter what the cost. But it is the resurrection of Jesus that is the proof and the assurance of who He was, what He said, and what He did.
It is good to remember the death of Jesus and we are commanded to. But in remembering His death do not forget that He is alive and that is just as much a reason for celebration!!
I've long thought that the real difference became evident after Pentecost. They were often cowards *before* He died as well, but once they were indwelt with the Holy Spirit *everything* changed for them. They became fearless champions of the faith, paladins of God.
They became alive.