What did John—the disciple Jesus loved—think about as he stood just feet away from his dying Savior? He saw Jesus change water into wine, walk on water and even raise Lazarus from the dead. How could such a man now be killed?
As for Thomas—the doubter—were all of his doubts about Jesus valid? Was He truly the Son of God, or just an imposter? What was he thinking as he escaped into the early morning?
What about Joseph who buried Jesus in his own tomb? Surely there was some sort of mistake. Surely Jesus couldn’t be gone?
And what of Mary Magdalene? As she walked to the tomb blanketed by unspeakable sorrow, what raced through her mind? How could Jesus have died? How could God have allowed the Messiah to be killed?
Good Friday was a day of complete devastation. And even though Jesus had predicted this day would come, those closest to Him believed it never would.
The aftermath was full of anxiety, worry and broken hearts. The ultimate crime had been committed and there were no answers for it. The only Hope the world would ever know was just murdered on a cross.
Many persecuted Christians around the globe live days like this all too often. Their tormentors continue harassing them. They’re avoided like a contagious disease. Spouses get up and walk away. Parents are ashamed. Many are called “traitors.” When will their persecution end? When will they be exonerated?
A couple of years ago, on Easter Sunday in Sri Lanka, six explosions hit three churches, killing and wounding hundreds. More pain and more agony. Thousands are killed in Nigeria each year for their faith. Countless are imprisoned in North Korean prison camps. Christians are hunted door-to-door in Afghanistan.
Today, for many of our persecuted brothers and sisters, what is the hope ahead?
Praise be to God, their hope is in Jesus!
Good Friday, the day of the crucifixion, was seemingly hopeless, but days later, Jesus brought the only hope anyone would ever need.
John, Thomas, Joseph and Mary—their story didn’t end that day. There was pain and heartache, but thank God for what we now call Resurrection Sunday.
For those who survived the Sri Lanka bombings, there has been redemption and restoration. There is revival happening in Nigeria. Goods are being smuggled to those in deepest need in North Korea. Christians in Afghanistan are experiencing dreams and visions of Christ. There is hope!
Looking at the pain of persecution today, Pastor Touwende in Burkina Faso says, “The situation has strengthened our faith and has taught us that if God allows something to happen, it means that He has prepared something else ahead.”
Situations may seem hopeless, but there is hope ahead. Jesus has overcome death and the grave and has gone to prepare a place for those who follow Him.
Believers can remain optimistic—no matter the situation, no matter the persecution.
Let’s pray for our persecuted family. Ask God to encourage them to continue through their situations, whatever they are, because Christ has overcome the grave. He took the worst event in history and turned it into the greatest.
Because of Christ’s resurrection, we know our persecuted family can flourish and remain hopeful, no matter their circumstance. Worship Him this Good Friday.