“Sitting In Stunned Silence”
Try to imagine what was taking place in the lives of those who loved Jesus and had witnessed his brutal execution one day earlier. Much has been written about that day as well as the third day, when Christ rose from the dead, but what was life like for those who were the closest to Christ before His death on “The Day In-Between”?
Most of us have dealt with the death of someone we love; deaths which come about simply as a result of old age, as well as those that are sudden and unexpected. Those of us who have experienced the sudden and untimely loss of someone can probably recall how we were stunned into silence born of disbelief.
I remember when my best friend, Tommy Meister, was killed driving home after an evening of partying at my house. Awakened by a phone call at around 3 AM by another friend who informed me of the news, I was stunned into silence for several minutes before I broke into uncontrollable sobbing. For days and days – perhaps even weeks – following his death, there would be periods of sobbing, but there were many more times where all I could do was sit in that stunned silence of disbelief.
How could God allow this to happen? Tommy Meister was a very good person. He was only 17 and had his entire life before him. He was kind, compassionate. gentle and soft-spoken. He was capable of making those who were not generally accepted or well-liked by others (yours truly, for example) feel special. Tommy was a young man people gravitated to, much like Jesus. In fact, Tommy, with the long hair and beard popular in the 70’s, even looked like the illustrations of Jesus Christ we have all seen.
So what about the thousands and thousands of people who had the unimaginable privilege of seeing Jesus and hearing him speak? What could have gone through their minds? And what about those who were closest to him? How did they deal with the aftermath of His execution in-between the time of His death and His resurrection? Certainly there were the sounds of weeping and the wails of grief, but there also must have been blank stares of disbelief and stunned silence at what had transpired the day before.
Did they blame God?
I watched Mel Gibson’s “The Passion Of The Christ” again yesterday, as I wrote I was going to. I must be honest and tell you, I was rather taken aback by how intense my reaction was as I used the vividness of Gibson’s film to help my mind connect with what actually happened that day. I was alone in my room and sobbed uncontrollably at several points as I thought back to the pain and suffering He endured on our behalf.
And I paused the DVD several times and sat in stunned silence, contemplating the truth of His crucifixion.
The women who portrayed His Mother and Mary Magdalene appeared stunned and disbelieving throughout the film. How horrible it must have been for the real women who loved Him to witness His brutal murder. How empty the day after must have been for them as they tried to accept the fact He was gone.
Think about the other things that occurred the day before which must have contributed to their collective disbelief: Judas’ betrayal and consumption by guilt leading to his suicide; Peter’s denying His Lord three times out of fear for his own personal safety; the abandonment by the rest of His apostles and others who had followed Him; the realization that He had foretold of the events they had just witnessed and what must have been the certain knowledge of their personal failures of faith.
Each person, stunned into silence by the murder of the Son of God.
Before we move forward into the glory of the Third Day and that perfect ending to a shockingly painful story, perhaps we could all use the day in-between to spend a few moments in our own stunned silence and give thanks to the One who took on an unbelievably heavy burden so that the opportunity to be free of our burdens is there for the asking.
Thank you, Lord, for the gift of this “Day In-Between”.
(Originally posted in 2015)