Jesus was crucified on Friday. This was not only the end of His life, or so everyone thought, it was the end of His legacy, His plan, His movement.
His disciples, disillusioned and discouraged, left. The crushing weight of what had just happened weighed heavy on the minds and spirits. They had given up everything to follow Jesus, and now… The significance of this event to them is life shattering. They were prepared for victory, for the movement to grow and change thing, but now…
Their minds raced through the dark cloud of despair. What could have gone wrong? What could they have done differently? Was this their fault, or was it some cosmic purpose gone tragically wrong? What do we do now? Their businesses probably had fallen off as they gave more and more of their time pursuing Jesus and His teachings. How do you rebuild your business and what will the cost be? And what do you tell your friends and family now that everything you had said over the past several years was about Jesus?
But alas came Sunday morning and Jesus could not be held by the chains of death, hell or the devil. Now their minds were racing again. Is this true? Is it really Him? How can we understand an event so spectacular as to ply in the face of all reason, science and history? What in the world is going on?
From this disbanded group of mere humans, filled with all the human emotions and thoughts of the Crucifixion and burial, something had to happen, and it did. Jesus did not just go away, but he walked and talked with them for 40 days, helping them to regain the vision, to regain their sense of self and affirming that this was not the end but only the beginning.
Then, in the presence of His disciples, He ascended, affirming by yet another spectacular event that He had triumphed over death and over the enemy of our souls. The spectacular did not stop there, for they needed to understand the significance of their role. They needed to understand that the God of creation, who was present with Israel in the Holy of Holies in the Temple was no longer going to be isolated to a place, but was going to be present in each life who opened to Him. So he sent them to the upper room to wait for the promise.
“And when the day of Pentecost was fully come” there were ready. The doubts and fear that followed the crucifixion were gone and in their place was a sure certainty that He who began this work would also fulfill it.
There numbers had grown by then, and the 12 had become 120. It was the birth of the church the body of Christ, the impartation of all of the fullness of Him who fills all in all. It was a commissioning and an empowering that would sweep the earth and alter the course of history.
No better description of what happen can be written that the old sermon entitled, One Solitary Life:
One Solitary Life –
Here is a man who was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman. He grew up in another village. He worked in a carpenter shop until He was thirty. Then for three years He was an itinerant preacher.
He never owned a home. He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never had a family. He never went to college. He never put His foot inside a big city. He never traveled two hundred miles from the place He was born. He never did one of the things that usually accompany greatness. He had no credentials but Himself…
While still a young man, the tide of popular opinion turned against him. His friends ran away. One of them denied Him. He was turned over to His enemies. He went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed upon a cross between two thieves. While He was dying His executioners gambled for the only piece of property He had on earth – His coat. When He was dead, He was laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend.
Nineteen long centuries have come and gone, and today He is a centerpiece of the human race and leader of the column of progress.
I am far within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, all the navies that were ever built; all the parliaments that ever sat and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as has that one solitary life.