Saturday, March 26, 2016


On September 1, 2014, my niece Meaghan Elizabeth McNutt started having a reaction to a new medication she was taking.  I was sure that it was going to be fine, that she would have a recovery, that life would go on and be fine.  Except it didn't.  In the early morning hours of September 21, Meaghan died in the hospital.  I walked around the house numb for weeks and the one thing that I thought ~ and often said out loud through my tears ~ was, "I don't understand.  How can she just not be here anymore?".  To this day it still often catches me by surprise, and again I find myself saying, "How can she just not be here anymore?".  No one has been able to explain it to me and I doubt anyone ever will.

Meaghan is my niece, and I love her dearly. 

As confused as her death has left me, I can barely begin to imagine the confusion the disciples felt on that quiet Saturday after Jesus died.  They did not know that Sunday was coming.  They did not understand that the story really was not over.  All they knew on that Saturday was that Jesus was "just not there anymore".  They had seen what Rome, along with the Jewish leaders, had done to Him.  They had seen His body taken down off the cross.  They knew He was dead.  They had seen His dead body laid in Joseph's tomb.  They knew that the tomb had been sealed.  They knew that there were Roman soldiers guarding the tomb.  And they knew that Jesus was dead.

Jesus was dead.  The one who did all those amazing miracles; who brought dead people back to life; who healed blind people, deaf people, mute people, lame people, and even lepers; who cast out demons; and who forgave sins.  He was dead.  The one who taught them about God; who He is and how He wanted His people to behave.  He was dead.  He was not there anymore.  The one who said He was the Messiah, that He would one day reign from a throne in heaven sitting next to God Himself...He was gone.  He was not gone away to another country, or off on a trip, or visiting family, or even doing business overseas.  He was dead and He was not coming back.

How could that happen?  How could He just not be there anymore?

Can you imagine the emotions of Saturday?  Can you imagine the exhaustion that came after the tears and fears of Friday?  What were they to do?  What did any of that teaching really matter?  Jesus had lost and Rome had won.  Jesus was dead.  Dead and gone.  There would be no more fishing trips, or late-night talks, or walks on the road, or praying together, or meals together, or working to help the people of Israel together, or......or any of that.  It was over.  Because Jesus was just. not. here. anymore.  He was gone.

Modern American culture sanitizes death, but in those days even the youngest child understood the finality of death.  And Jesus was dead.

The disciples hid themselves in grief and fear.  But.

But the curtain in the temple had been torn from top to bottom; almost as if a hand had reached down from heaven and torn it on purpose. (Matthew 27:51)

But there was a massive earthquake when He died.

But the darkness that had covered the earth for three hours while He was dying went away, and light came back (Mark 15:33)

But some of the graves outside the city of Jerusalem were unaccountably empty.
(Matthew 27:52)

But even the soldiers who crucified Him proclaimed that He was indeed the Son of God (Matthew 27:54)

The disciples were in despair.

But creation knew the Creator.  

And creation held its breath.

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