An Easter message from Grace Downtown of Winchester

The Apostle John certainly did not know on that Friday what we know today. He didn’t know that the tragedy on Good Friday (it wasn’t even called “Good Friday” yet) would be Sunday’s victory. John wrote many years later that the lot of them still “hadn’t understood the Scriptures that said Jesus must rise from the dead” (John 20:9).

That’s why what John did on Saturday is so amazing.

Of course, we really don’t know much about Saturday; there are no verses to read, no history to glean, no wisdom to share. What we do know is this: When Sunday came, John was still in Jerusalem.

Jesus was dead. Gone. It was over. Locked up in a borrowed tomb, guarded by Roman Centurions. John’s hope and friend and future were buried deep. But John didn’t leave. Why? Was he waiting for the resurrection? Nope. What he labored for and with for three long years died on the cross at Calvary. He certainly wasn’t expecting the Sunday wonder. So why then? Why was he still in Jerusalem?

I would have left. You probably would have, too. Why not John? You’d have to figure that the same ones who crucified Christ would have come after him too, right? After all, the crowds that cried out “Hosanna” the previous Sunday loved the crucifixion on Friday and those Pharisees might call for more. So why didn’t John get out of town?

Maybe the answer was practical; maybe he was honoring Jesus’ dying wishes by taking care of His mother. Or maybe he just didn’t have anywhere else to go. Could be he didn’t have any money or energy or direction … or all of the above.

Or maybe he lingered because he loved Jesus.

To some, Jesus was a miracle worker. To others, Jesus was Rabbi. To still others, Jesus was the hope of Israel. But to John, Jesus was his friend.

You don’t abandon a friend — not even when that friend is dead. John stayed close to Jesus.

John had a habit of this. He was close to Jesus in the upper room. He was close to Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. He was at the foot of the cross at the crucifixion, and he ran to the tomb Sunday.

Did he understand Jesus? Nope.

Was he glad Jesus did what he did? Nope.

But did he leave Jesus? Nope. No way. No how.

What about you? Are you in John’s position today? Is it “Saturday” in your life, meaning somewhere between yesterday’s tragedy and tomorrow’s triumph?

Jesus is your friend and He wants you to be His. He loves you more than you could even know even if you don’t know Him.

Remember, John stayed in Jerusalem. And because he stayed on Saturday, he was around on Sunday to see the miracle.

Maybe you’re one of those folks who only go to church on Christmas and Easter. Maybe you don’t even like going because of the “looks” you get when you walk in the door.

Come out this Easter Sunday for a new experience with Jesus, with church, with people. “Come as you are” is who we are and you will receive no judgment, no pressure, and no “looks.”

Four Easters ago, we of Grace Downtown of Winchester had our first service in the back of a bar. With 40 people (now that’s a nice Biblical number!) Pastor Brad Hill started something of a revolution that has changed the lives of many all because of Jesus Christ.

This Easter we have our first service in our new 7,200 square foot facility at 35 E. Jubal Early Drive, Winchester. “The Church in the bar, ain’t moved far.” Come out and see for yourself how God has moved in the lives of so many. Come and see how faith and hope and love and grace transforms
and renews. Come and see how a church family grows and laughs and loves. But most importantly come out to meet or renew your friendship with the only One that matters, Jesus Christ.

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