Read: John 18, 19
I want you to imagine, for a few moments, that these 2 chapters are a stand-alone short story that you’ve never read before. There is nothing written after ch 19 v 42.
Think about how we begin.
Jesus is betrayed by one of his own and arrested (wow that’s a sinister start to a story, they must be starting with shocker so it’ll get better and end well)
Peter, who should have been loyal, denies Jesus! Pilate questions Jesus, and despite being clearly innocent, the crowds outside want a hardened criminal to be released instead.
Jesus is beaten, crucified and prepared for burial. Well, that’s a pretty grim story. At so many points we would think “well it can’t get much worse than this!” But of course, it did.
Here’s my point. It’s only a grim story because we aren’t aware of what’s coming next. In the context of the entire Gospel of John, we know that better things are coming. Eventually good will triumph, death will be defeated and Jesus would have victory.
Now let’s think about our current circumstance today, in the face of unprecedented threats to our health, our economy, our society as we know it. I’m sure at some point in the past few weeks you’ve thought “This can’t really be happening, can it?” Sometimes it’s surreal to think about the way we are now living — and it might be tempting to think, “well it can’t get much worse than this”. But the reality is, it might get harder, we might shed a lot more tears in the days to come.
But, there is more to the story! Just like we can’t read these chapters as a stand-alone story, we can’t allow ourselves to define our current heartache as our new normal. Nor can we think that this the end. Eventually, just the same as our Easter story goes, Jesus will reign victorious, goodwill triumph, death will be defeated.
Lord, I thank you for the hope that is found in the Easter story. Thank you for the knowledge that you are in control, you are a loving a Father to your children and you are continuing to bless us in these difficult times. Help us to love one another well, and build up your church. We love you, Lord, Amen.