What did you do three days ago? In our busy lives, it is often hard to remember the events because they go by so quickly; we barely knew what happened. What will you be doing three days from now? Some of you probably started thinking about what is coming up on your calendar as soon as you read that line. Maybe you even took a quick glance at your calendar to see what is ahead.
Are you looking forward to those events? How long those three days seem depends on what events are coming up. If it is something you are dreading, then you most likely are filled with some anxiety as the next 72 hours fly by. But if it is something you are looking forward to, then three days seems like an eternity. If it is a vacation or a visit from someone special, those three days can’t go by fast enough.
In reality, though, no matter what is going on in our lives three days is three days; a total of 72 hours on the clock. It is the same amount of time every person on earth has. What you do with that time, however, can make a huge difference in what the rest of your life will be. Consider, for example, the most critical three-day period in history: those days between Jesus’ death and his resurrection.
A number of things happened during and following those days but let’s focus on the disciples. Jesus’ biggest supporters and his closest friends had gone into hiding. They believed they were next for persecution and without their leader, they were unsure of what to do. They were afraid. They were hiding from the wrath of the religious leaders and puzzled over the death and disappearance of their friend and mentor. Could he really have arisen from the grave? Although each of them suffered in his own way, Peter was probably the most troubled. He had been one of Jesus’ closest followers and yet when he was asked if he was one of Jesus’ disciples, he denied Jesus—not once but three times! Just like Jesus had predicted. While the others were hiding and hurting, Peter was grieving his own weakness.
But then in their hideout, Jesus appeared! According to John’s Gospel: “That evening, while the disciples were behind closed doors because they were afraid of the Jewish authorities, Jesus came and stood among them. He said, “Peace be with you’” (John 20:19 CEB). He appeared and all ten disciples had the privilege of seeing him. Ten? Where were the other two? Everyone knows Jesus had twelve disciples.
Thomas was absent that night, but got to see the resurrected Jesus later. The other disciple missing was Judas Iscariot. Before Jesus was crucified, Judas hanged himself because he was so distressed over his actions. He was the one who had betrayed Jesus; he couldn’t take the pressure of what he had done so he killed himself rather than trying to live with the consequences of his actions.
If only he had waited three days to see the good God made of his horrifying betrayal. If only….
How many times in our lives do we use the words “if only” to think about what might have been if we had taken a different path? One of the biggest questions in history has to be “What if Judas had waited just three days?” What if he had been around to see Jesus after he had been raised from the dead? What if, like Peter, Judas would have been able to see Jesus again and apologize for betraying him?
Three days. If only Judas had waited three days, Jesus could have forgiven him. Like Peter, Jesus would have told Judas that yes, he messed up, but everyone can be forgiven no matter how bad their sin.
Sometimes our lives seem hopeless. We find ourselves caught in a sin, dealing with financial pressures, uncertain about a medical test, stressing out over people and situations—and we fret. We see only the bad that has happened; fear the bad that can happen. We see our faith weakening but we need to be patient. As hard as it is sometimes, the period of a few days can show us a vastly different conclusion than the one we see. It’s God’s timing, not ours, that we need to focus on.
The story of Easter is a story of hope. No matter our circumstances, hope in the Lord is always the best path to take. Life may not work out exactly according to our plans but they will always work out according to God’s plan. Put your trust in him in every area of your life. Find today a new hope for the future. Wait those few days that Judas did not to see a vastly different world. If only Judas would have waited, he could have seen a glorious new day of redemption dawn. He could have seen the risen Savior instead of a broken body in a grave.
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