“ALL HIS ACQUAINTANCES…STOOD AT A DISTANCE” Luke 23:49
It was the ultimate sacrifice for the sins of all mankind. Darkness had covered the sun’s light and the curtain of the Temple was torn in two. It was a time to fear. It had been agony. Those who knew Jesus..and perhaps…knew Him well…stood at a distance watching the spectacle. This man, Jesus, was young…only in his 30’s. Yet, in His short life, wonderful things happened. What had He been busy doing that caused such distain? He was healing the sick, teaching how the Father wanted us to live, gathering the little children around him, caring for the outcast, but the politicians of the day hated him. He was a threat. The people followed him openly; carrying palms to line a path for Him to walk. Yet, in His darkest hour…they stood in the distance. Fear takes a grip when we think we may fall into the hands of those who would crucify us. We are afraid…like Peter, that someone will recognize us as a follower. Jesus told His disciples that he would see this day. He knew the agony that was coming. His prayers in the garden showed his dread as He sweat. He knew who would betray Him; even as He knows who will deny Him today. They did not understand. Like those in His day, we not only have fear to hinder our walk, but the lack of understanding of God’s plan and purpose for us.
There was one man named Joseph, who held a position as a councilman in the group that had condemed Jesus. He shook off his fear and ask for the body of Jesus. Was he not afraid of association? He asked women to help in preparing the body for burial in a borrowed tomb. Somehow this man saw the importance of caring for the one whom the soldier had called “innocent”. He was willing to come out of the shadows and stand up for Jesus…not at a distance. He did not know that the day of Resurrection was coming within a few days. The sorrow that had filled this time would end. Those who wanted to mourn Him would instead run with joy to tell all they knew that He was not in the tomb. He had said that in three days He would rise from the dead. Still, their understanding was cloudy. The grave would not hold Him. He told them He would go to prepare a place for them. They would not be left alone for the Holy Spirit would be sent to teach men the ways of God. Eventually, the people would see Him transfigured and taken into heaven. His promise that He will return is looked for by all His followers…then and today. Like Joseph, they are the ones willing to come out of the shadows and know him up-close….and not at a distance.