I’m sure it’s true of even those most deeply connected with You that a doubt about God’s existence or about an after-life is, now and then. entertained. Faith, in the shadow of doubt, is our most potent connector. Doubt, however, is a common saboteur.
I was trying to imagine what it would have been like to be one of Your apostles during that period of time between Your death and resurrection. Here was a group of men who had grown to accept You as the promised Messiah and, because of that, had given up three years of their lives to follow You. In each of them burned the fire of their own concept of hope in the “reign” of this Messiah. They had experienced Your kindness and compassion. They had been enthralled by Your teaching. They had witnessed Your miraculous powers. And then, somewhat suddenly, they see You handed over, abused, crucified, and put to death. You were gone! You who raised the dead, were dead! Now, here they are, certainly feeling abandoned, afraid, and confused. You were tried as a criminal and they knew they were Your accomplices. I can imagine them in hiding, looking at one another and asking, ‘What do we do now?’ Yes, they were Your apostles. They were closely connected with You, but now the door of doubt was ajar. What if they had given three years of their lives chasing a dream that was too good to be true ?
In John’s record of the discovery of Your resurrection by Mary Magdalene, he quotes You as saying to her: “Don’t hold on to me.” It is my belief that she reported these words accurately because what I think they really meant was not, “Don’t touch me.” but rather, “Don’t hold on to the past.” Death is defeated. Life is renewed. But only in hindsight does that gain clarity. At the time directly after Your death the bottom had dropped out for those closest to You. They lived with that door of doubt ajar. Not until news of Your rising spread; not until You appeared in their hiding place; not until Your Spirit descended upon them did that door slowly close. But the fact remains that without Your presence there was doubt. That is why it is so important for us, now, to keep You present in our daily lives.