We should endeavor to forgive one another. (Photo: KMPZZZ / Adobe)

By Joshua Stevens, Faith Contributor, Valley Ag Voice 

The disciples’ response is one of the most fascinating parts of the Easter message. Until the moment of the resurrection, they were seemingly clueless about God’s plan. Peter cuts off a man’s ear in the garden of Gethsemane (Mark 14:47) and continues to lie about his role in Christ’s ministry while Jesus is likely within earshot being flogged (Mark 14:66-72). Judas was so racked by guilt, he hung himself (Matthew 27:3-5). Other disciples hid away in fear and were rebuked by Christ for not believing He had returned (Mark 16:14)  

These individuals spent years beside Christ, learning from Him directly, following Him so closely they were physically covered by the dust He kicked up, yet they did not understand what was to come. They acted in fear and selfishness. It wasn’t one of the 12 who came to Pilot and asked to bury Jesus or brought supplies to bury Christ, but instead a pair of men, also disciples of Christ, who had the courage to do so (John 19:38-39).   

In the hours after Christ’s death, we see that the people who stand out for their courage are the least of these. For example, Joseph of Arimathea is sparsely mentioned in the gospel accounts, and Nicodemus, whose main features include being a small tax collector goes on to follow Christ. Then, two women discover the empty tomb—a point that by modern standards wouldn’t pass the Bechdel test but, by ancient standards, would have been an attribute of the story that hurt the testimony’s credibility.  

Beyond unlikely heroes in the hours and days after Christ’s crucifixion, we see a quick reconciliation upon his resurrection. How quickly the disciples turned from fearful men cowering behind closed doors to authoritatively speaking out, being persecuted and killed for what they believed to be true—only after it was revealed to them.  

It would have been easy and justifiable for Christ to cast out the disciples and appoint those who had shown up as the chief ministers of the early church. Instead, we see an example of outstanding forgiveness, compassion, and love. One that mirrors a popular parable, “And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him” (Luke 15:20). 

Every Christian and every church should endeavor to forgive each other even in the face of great betrayal or suffering, to continuously love and put one another’s needs above our own, and to hope each one of us is seeking Christ in the darkest of times like Joseph, Nicodemus, and Mary and serving Christ as boldly as the disciples after the resurrection.  

Will you pray with me?  

Lord, thank you for your son, who entered the world to dwell among us, set for us an example to strive for, and died in our place so that we may be reunited with You. Continue to sanctify us so we may reflect You more in every aspect of our lives. Give us hearts that break for the lost and rejoice for the found so we may join in Heaven’s glorious procession as we participate in the plan of and worship, He who is the one true God.  

In Jesus’ name, I pray, 


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