Can you imagine the hopeless desolation of that first quiet interlude between the horror of the crucifixion and the hallelujah of the resurrection? Even two millennia later, there is no greater epitome of grief. The identity and hopes of every disciple imploded with the death of their King. All that they lived for seemed lost.
God never allows needless hurt; therefore, the necessity of that quiet space for grief is sure. The disciples on the Road to Emmaus give us a glimpse into the hearts of those who had loved Jesus. They mulled over his words and the events of the day with open hearts. Surely, Mary and John repeatedly recounted the final words from Christ as He died upon the cross…let us, as disciples, give thought to them as well!
Seven brief statements, spoken in the depths of pain we cannot imagine, offer for us a pure look at the divine heart of Christ our King. In the very throes of the judgment of sin, Jesus Christ, God incarnate, seeks forgiveness. Christ spoke as the One who accepted and bore the curse of sin, honoring the holiness of God and revealing the great cost of forgiveness.
His next utterance went beyond forgiveness to His passion for fellowship. To the repentant thief, Jesus did not just offer forgiveness. He said, ‘you will be with me today in Paradise.’ Christ died that fallen man might be unified with God.
A passion for nurturing relationships flows from his next words as well. Looking down on his mother—and a disciple who fled but returned, Christ committed them to one another. He did not dwell on the moment or even past failures or joys, he simply focused them on the future. Committing these two to one another, Jesus showed the value of spiritual fellowship on earth as it is in heaven.
In the despairing cry, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” we must not overlook the beautiful faith. Feelings must not dictate reality! Christ knew the Father could not look upon the sin, and the absence of the fellowship He treasured pierced his soul. His words trumpet faith that the Father still listens and cares! Jesus spoke, knowing the heart of the Father is for fellowship…and it remained His greatest desire as well.
“I thirst,” embodied much of the very mission of Christ. Yes, his physical body clearly thirsted by now, but more than that, He thirsted with all His being. Christ thirsted for the fulfillment of prophecy—, which those words were. He thirsted for souls to know the full glory of God. He thirsted for unity that is only in the Father.
Finally, finishing the work assigned, Christ gave the victory claim, “It is finished.” The character of God revealed in its fully glory of holiness and love, Jesus then released His Spirit to the Father. Fellowship restored!
The empty quiet between the crucifixion and the resurrection created space for eternal communion. It is a blessed place we have the privilege of occupying. Enjoy Him. Exalt Him. May we worship while we wait!