In the wake of Easter, it's empty tomb and it's King revealed, we are left to answer significant questions. If Jesus Christ is King and His Kingdom has come, then what is my response? How does my life change in light of that? The answer, in part, is found in Mark 1 when Jesus calls His first disciples. It is initially a call to repentance. Jesus says the "Kingdom is near", so repent – literally "turn away from" – what we are currently doing and turn towards the living God. Often, we think that means we must turn away from what we enjoy. We have to turn away from the fun. False. We are turning towards LIFE - towards the very thing we are seeking – towards a God of grace and hope and love. What could be better than that? However, in order to do that, what did the disciples have to do? They had to drop their nets. They had to let go of what was in their hands - be willing to give up job and family and comfort and all that it entailed – to follow a man who hadn't even revealed where he was leading them! Even so, they left "without delay" and went "all in." Therein lies the key. You can't learn to swim and get a little bit wet. It's only when we go all in to become fully devoted followers of Jesus that we lay hold of the life He has called us to know. So, what's in your hand? What's impeding you from fully committing yourself to follow Christ? Whatever it is, drop it. Trust the One who calls you, for He has been revealed at Easter as Lord and King of all.
Wedged between the agony of Friday's cross and the glorious hope of Sunday's resurrection is the seldom mentioned in between day: Saturday. It's not something we want to talk about much because it's not a pleasant day. Matthew 27 tells us that soldiers went to guard the tomb and seal it, but that's it. It's a day filled with darkness and fear and unknowns. It's a day of mystery and doubt and deep sadness. No one knows what will happen, so it's long and it's hard, and in the end, I find it's where we tend to live most our lives. We live in between the atoning sacrifice of Christ which reconciles us to the Father and the glorious fulfillment of what the resurrection means. In between lies Saturday where we encounter real life: mysteries and questions and hatred and violence and evil and events we simply do not understand – everything seems dim, shrouded, veiled. Yet it is in the darkness of Saturday that we learn to form words we have never spoken because, on Saturday, nothing else can help us – not our jobs or our money or our address or our appearance or our wine or our friends or even our spouse. The darkness of Saturday teaches us how desperately we need God, and in that darkness, we form the words to express it. God actually created the darkness because we need it. We need it to know we need Him. Thankfully, Psalm 139 reminds us that "the darkness is as light to you." We can't see in the darkness, but He can, and it is His voice that will guide us out. Thus, no matter what we may be enduring today, we need to be drawing close to the Good Shepherd, so that when we find ourselves in the darkness, we will know the Voice that will lead us home (John 10). Don't rush to Sunday. Linger in the reality of Saturday. Those who know the darkness rejoice all the more at the dawning of the light.