Friday, April 06, 2012

Life without Jesus...

 I'm not much of a holiday person since becoming older.  So it's hard for me to get all worked up for holidays like some of the people I know.  But sometimes...  I think about them.

This year is the first time in a while I have been off for Holy Week and Good Friday.

It doesn't really feel like Holy Week or anything, so it's hard to get into the spirit of things.

But today I had some time to myself that allowed me to meditate a bit on Good Friday.
 I was thinking, have you ever put yourself in the disciples' shoes?  Imagine for a second what it must have been like...

First you run across this man who completely changes your life.  He's amazing.  He says things you have never heard before.  He does things that should be impossible.  And he draws you to him with a force you don't understand.  He inspires you.  This is a man you would leave your job for.  Heck, you'll take an "extended vacation" from even your family just for the chance to travel with him.  He's that amazing.

Since living in Japan, I've learned what it means to be a fan.  A real fan.  I had students who would travel all over the country to go to every single concert of the band they liked.  They spend insane amounts of money, time and energy on whatever it is they are a fan of.

At one time I would have thought they were crazy.  But I'm learning more and more what this looks like.  After all, I follow my own little band now.  And they have invaded my life, and changed it.  If they suddenly weren't here anymore, I can only imagine how empty my life would become.

And so I look at my own small obsession, and think about "What would happen if you were that obsessed with Jesus?"  And I think...  "I would probably look a lot like the disciples."

They followed Jesus for 3 years.  (This was back when "following" someone involved more than just a click on the internet.  "Following" someone meant action and consequences.) They ate with him, traveled with him, listened to him, lived with him...

That's devotion.

They threw in everything to be with Jesus.  This man was their hope, their purpose, their "Messiah."

And then he died.

I've never had someone close to my heart die.  Perhaps I don't allow enough people close to my heart.  So I can't really understand this fully.  The best I can do is imagine what that must have been like....

Jesus.  The man I left my home for. The man I've been following.  I believed him.  He said he was the son of God.  He was supposed to save us.  He was supposed to change the world.  So...  Why?  Why did this happen?  I can't believe he is gone...  I can't believe this happened.  Why???  Why???  What do I do now?  Where do I go?  How can it just end like this?  It's all over...  I don't know what to do anymore.....

At some point, I'm sure your mind just shuts down.  You can't eat.  You can't sleep.  You can't think.  You are too stunned even for tears to flow.  The muscles in your body can't seem to hold you upright anymore.

Everything is gone.

Just like that.

One minute we are celebrating the passover.  We were laughing and having a good time.

Now we are in the same room...  lifeless.  hopeless.  Jesus-less....

I can't claim to love Jesus with the same love that the disciples must have had.  I can't claim to understand what it must have been like to know him in person.  And I can't even begin to understand what it was like to loose Jesus, to watch him die, to spend a day without him here in this world.

But even with my limited imagination...  I can feel the hollowness.  The emptiness.  The fear.  The feeling of abandonment.

From the hour of Jesus' death, to the morning of his resurrection, how did the disciples live without Jesus???

I doubt they did.  They locked themselves and their hearts in the upper room, too shell shocked to do anything else.  A loss that great, you can even begin to rationalize it yet.

So empty...

As I was thinking about all this, I thought about those I love, the people I know, and the country I love, all who don't know Jesus.  They live their lives everyday without Jesus.

I can't understand it at all.  Just imagining a life without Jesus paralyzes me.  It's too much of a shock.  I'm not strong enough to go through this world without Jesus.

And my heart breaks for those who do.  Japan has the highest suicide rate in the world.  Is it any wonder?  They work long hours under obligation, and their free hours are spend sleeping, eating, and chasing after anything that might fill their empty hearts: shopping, drinking, hobbies or even their favorite "celebrity."  But they are tired.  And they are numb to the emptiness inside of them.  If they stop for even a minute, the hollowness might consume them.

Japan is stuck in the twilight after Good Friday.  In a world without Jesus.

If my heart breaks this much when looking at the people here, how much more must Jesus' heart break for them?

The disciples suffered Friday night and Saturday with no Jesus.  But Sunday morning brought unbelievable news and joy.  Jesus was alive!  The impossible had happened!  Their joy must have been in proportion to their sorrow.  What a roller coaster of emotions they must have had!  The shock of loosing Jesus must have been enormous.  The joy of getting him back must have been indescribable. 

So I thank Jesus that he came back, and that I have never known a world without him in it.

And I pray that those I love will one day experience a Life With Jesus that will fill their hearts and heal their souls.

(If you are wondering about the pictures, they are of a building in Fukushima City that was damaged in the Earthquake {I'm assuming}.  I visited some friends who live in Fukushima last week.  The pictures seemed to capture the emptiness of life without Jesus, the brokenness of life without hope, the sadness of structure with no life.)

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