It doesn’t matter if the disaster is an earthquake, a tornado, a hurricane, or a neighborhood fire, people come out of their homes and places of business to talk to each other and to help each other. Whether or not they personally experienced physical or personal loss, people find comfort in the presence of others. The need to assess what has happened and each person’s particular story can draw even strangers together. Processing with others the reasons for the emergency situation and the impact that it may have helps people begin to sort out truth from their imagination. As the hours pass by following the trauma, people also want to tell their story to family and friends who were not in the situation, as well as to receive their consolation, advice and practical help. It can be somewhat surprising to discover the wide gamut of reactions, emotions, and responses that come to the surface as people continue to get together and to talk about the reality of what happened and what the next steps will be. Two big questions will quickly surface in the minds of the survivors, “What shall we do now?” and “What’s next?”
Can you even begin to imagine what it was like for those 11 disciples after the crucifixion, death and burial of Jesus? Did they have any idea how this tragedy might turn out? What was it like for the women who cared so deeply for Jesus? What kinds of conversation did those who had just begun to understand many things about the Messiah and His coming Kingdom have? What did they think when darkness came over the land that afternoon? Did they feel the “violent earthquake” that day? In Matthew’s biography he gives us small glimpses into the groups of people who came together and into the kind of support they gave to each other. For Jesus’ opponents there were other kinds of discussions and concerns that drove them to also wonder and discuss what would happen next. For everyone, the consequences of this event were troubling and very unsettling.
Where do you think you would have been standing if you had been near the road that went outside the city walls to the place called Golgotha or Calvary? With whom would you have shared your questions and concerns or would you have chosen to be by yourself? Would you have gone on to the place of the burial on that Sabbath night? Where would you have looked for a word of hope or consolation?