Typically, I don’t write about matters of faith or politics on this site. It’s not my strength, and there are a number of authors who share my beliefs in part or whole who write much more coherently on the subject than I can. Also, given my youth in both age and experience, I’d often be lecturing people that I could do better to listen to and learn from.
On certain occasions, I disregard that rule of thumb. Easter is one of those times. I believe the message of Jesus Christ is far too important, too big for me to say nothing.
But He answered and said to them, “I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.”
Several millennia ago, eleven men huddled behind locked doors, hiding from the local authorities.
They had followed a man into Jerusalem the week before, in preparation for the Passover. That man, they believed, was the prophesied Messiah, the son of God! The Christ rode into Jerusalem on a colt and was greeted with praises and cheers.
A week later, their Messiah was dead – crucified at the hands of the Roman authorities at the insistence of the Sanhedrin. One of their own had betrayed him, and the other eleven had been too frightened to stand up for their leader. Only Peter had dared strike at the enemy, and mere hours later he had cowered away from claiming the Rabbi as his teacher.
These eleven survivors had thought they were going to change the world.
The day before the Passover, their dreams were crushed.
And now they hid from the prying eyes of those who had killed the Messiah, striving only to preserve their own lives.
Perhaps chief among them was Peter. He had been the loudmouth, bragging about how he would never fall away from the Christ. Yet he had denied the Master thrice and slunk away in shame.
Andrew, Peter’s brother, lived in his shadow, and now hid in it. He had left John the Baptist to follow the Christ, but perhaps in those dark hours he regretted his decision.
James and John, the Sons of Thunder, were silent in the aftermath of the crucifixion.
Philip was an early follower the Master, and recruited Bartholomew to join as well. Now they, too, felt the heavy guilt of abandoning him in the Garden.
Matthew had been a tax collector, as corrupt as the others of his profession. He had given up wealth and power to follow the Son, but now his sacrifice seemed in vain. He had traded the world for Heavenly concerns, but now had neither – only his own life, which was precariously in the balance with the Master’s enemies surely looking to eliminate the heretics.
Thomas had risked his life to follow the Master; his faith had been bold, and now his doubt was a dark reflection. Had he badly misstepped when he chose to follow the Christ? He had been so certain, and now all was lost.
James was perhaps the quietest of the group, observing rather than speaking, thinking rather than proclaiming. His silence now was in mourning as he wondered how he had been so wrong.
Simon had been called the Zealot for good reason, but now was only zealous in fear for his life.
Jude had always been humble, but it had never know the extreme he felt now. The Master had been taken from them, and there was nothing more he could do.
And the Twelfth among them, Judas Iscariot, had betrayed the Master – had betrayed them all! Unlike the others, he did not hide away in fear or shame; he instead hung himself, unable to live with himself after delivering the Messiah into the hands of those who destroyed them.
Eleven broken men. Confused, lost, mourning, regretful, ashamed.
And the Messiah arose.
And eleven men changed the world.
Eleven broken men crisscrossed the world they knew. Eleven broken men taught the gospel of Christ. Eleven broken men followed their order: to preach to everyone. Upon the truth of the Messiah, they built a church: not a building of stone or wood, not a chapel or humble country building, but a body of believers.
Upon simple truths: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. Love your neighbor as thyself.
I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
Eleven broken men were defeated with the death of their Messiah.
And when He rose, when he shattered the bonds of death, he brought victory where only defeat had been.
Eleven broken men changed the world, with only the faith and power of a living Messiah: Jesus, the Son of God.
Because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.