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I think about the disciples today. I think about their mourning,  their grief,  their confusion as they tried to comprehend that their teacher,  their friend, had been crucified.

We are all touched by loss and absence of our loved ones at some time. Unfortunately, death is a consequence of this fallen world. Unfortunately,  we cannot talk with those who have gone to the grave, those who sleep.

HOPE
But Jesus Christ triumphed over death. You see, the disciples didn’t know it yet,  because they didn’t yet have the gift and the evidence to testify to them that the victory was won. They didn’t yet understand what Christ meant when He said,  “It is finished” and gave up his last breath.

They didn’t yet know that in Gethsemane that He had taken on the weight of the world’s sin and hardened hearts so that it could be crushed and deeded through His sacrifice. They didn’t yet know that their hardened hearts and lack of believing God were going to be changed forever once the gift of the Holy Spirit came.

FAITH
However, I’m sure they were talking about everything that He had been telling them. Remembering His words and seeing how they played out to be true before their eyes. I’m sure they were comforting each other as a close group of friends,  encouraging each other,  finding themselves vulnerable and open heated to each other in ways they had never opened up to each other before.

John 13:34-35 ESV
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.  By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

LOVE
You see, in this moment of darkness before the dawn, they were becoming the church. They were together, loving and comforting each other. Seeking to understand what was happening. Caring for and helping each other through the difficult times.

And even though they didn’t know that this darkness was only going to last for a few moments longer,  even though they didn’t know that His return was imminent and that He was almost at the door,  even though they had no idea yet that the stone would be rolled away and they would undergrad and see the evidence of God’s glory, they understood enough about Love from His teaching that they were loving and caring for each other in their time of need.

And this is a beautiful and necessary party of the church,  to love and encourage each other and serve one another, because that is how He tells us that people will know that we are His disciples, by the way that we love one another.

But it is about to get even better than that,  friends. Because they haven’t yet received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. They haven’t yet been filled with the gift of Christ living in them. They haven’t yet seen the empty tomb and the glory of a risen Savior. They haven’t yet trusted fully that God is in control of all things and there is no reason to fear or be anxious.

So today,  we should ask ourselves –

Am I far away from God in a rebellious life filled with sin and empty from love?
Am I practicing church?
Am I still in the darkness of a hardened heart?
Am I still struggling with unbelief?
Is my belief only that Jesus Christ is real (even the demons know this and tremble)?
Or do I trust that His promises are true?
Am I waiting for proof or believing?

Will I continue waiting,  or will I surrender my life fully to Jesus Christ,  now and every day for the rest of my life – seeing in my life a softened heart, a repentant disgust towards sinful things, a love and care and helpful attitude towards those still trapped in sin, a brotherhood and fellowship with those who are also changed?

Or am I satisfied and comfortable right where I am today?

I pray that none of us will be comfortable where we are,  but examine our lives and grow each day. If we are not alive and growing,  there is only one explanation – death.

Arise.
Awake.
Be renewed Children of God.
For today is a new day.
The dawn is just ahead.
It will be here in a flash.
Are you ready?
Do you believe Him,  believe His Word?

If you do,  take comfort in –

Revelation 21:3-4 ESV
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”