Each one of the disciples followed Jesus with many expectations. It wasn’t just 12, there were more than 500 followers at the time of the ascension of Jesus. They were all alive when Corinthians was written (1 Cor 15:6).
Some began following Jesus because of the healing they received. Others had demons cast out of them, found meaning in life, found acceptance, received forgiveness of sins, and numerous other needs were met by Jesus.
But one day, their hopes were dashed as their master hung on that cross like a criminal after a cruel beating worse than an animal. His flesh was torn, as his body suffered extreme torture that was unheard of for any human. As he hung on that cross, it was more like flesh hanging on to bones as his appearance was almost inhuman.
As many were astonished at you — his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance, and his form beyond that of the children of mankind (Isa 52:14).
Then the dead, lifeless body of Jesus flopped down from that cross. Someone thought it was a good idea to bury him. Otherwise, his body would have been left to decay on the cross or flung somewhere for the animals (such was the end of men’s bodies after crucifixion).
But this was Jesus. He was their healer, deliverer, miracle worker, and a host of other adjectives that were incapable of describing him. But all hope was now gone. Maybe it was just a dream, a fleeting wish. So, it’s time to return to the daily routine of mundane tasks. After all, who was I to believe that life could have any meaning?
Then on the third day, Jesus rose from the grave, defeating death itself. It had to be done. He had to do it. He had to be the one to do it. He was the only one who could. Death had to be defeated.
The ultimate end of hopelessness is death. It is also the ultimate end of all sickness, abuse, rejection, hatred, violence, and any other form of inhuman act of injustice on this earth. Thus death had to be defeated. And Jesus defeated death.
The next time you suffer anything, think of the ultimate end of all suffering: Death. Then repeat these words:
“O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?” (1 Cor 15:55)
Then keep your eyes on Jesus.