The disciples mourned and wept. How had Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem a mere week ago ended in the unimaginable – his crucifixion. Jesus had spoken of His body given for them and his blood poured out in the Upper Room, but this was all wrong. “It was He who should redeem Israel,” to set all things right! They continued in their sorrow even when they heard from Mary Magdalene that she had seen him and he was alive.
I have often wondered why the disciples were not ready to believe all the good things that Jesus spoke to them at the Last Supper in the Upper Room. Why were they not ready to believe? Was it the might of Rome or the blind hatred of the Jewish leaders who demanded his death? Was it the quick reversal of the people who had welcomed him onto Jerusalem and cried Hosanna? Whatever may have been the case, Jesus finally appeared to them risen from the dead. He opened their minds and the crushing sorrow of the prior three days was forgotten and turned to joy. Seven weeks later at Pentecost, Peter boldly proclaimed Jesus resurrection and forgiveness of sins in His name.
In the present day, we may find ourselves surrounded by a world of trouble and it may seem that nearly the whole Earth has strayed from God. Perhaps, we might feel at times like Elijah. When pursued by the wicked King Ahab, he complained to God the he alone was left of the faithful. That wasn’t true in Elijah’s time and it isn’t true today. There are many who look past what may seem the worst of times, to a coming time when good will come.
Thornton Burgess’ animal friends give us a delightful illustration in his children’s book, At the Smiling Pool. The first chapter is titled the “Voice of Spring.” The springtime comes faithfully each year and may be welcomed even when all around is winter. Children, you can find “spring” when there is still snow on the ground, if you will look very closely. The buds that give us blooms and leaves in early spring can be seen on the trees and bushes in the winter, some even months before spring arrives. In our story, Peter Rabbit is eagerly looking for Mistress Spring’s arrival at the Smiling Pool.
Peter Rabbit has heard the clear high voice of Peeper the Hyla.
“Spring! Spring! Spring! Spring!
Peter can hardly contain himself. To him this wasn’t just Peepers voice. No, sir, it wasn’t just that. It was the voice of sweet Mistress Spring herself. She is here, really and truly here, isn’t she?, He cried, looking down from the bank at Peeper as the wee Tree Frog clung to a floating twig onto which he had climbed.
She is here,” piped the tiny Frog. “When I go to sleep in the winter I stay asleep until Mistress Spring herself wakes me up. No one else can do it. If she would fail to come I suppose that I would sleep forever. But she always does come and I know that she always will come.”
Again he pipes, “Spring! Spring! Spring! Spring!”
Jerry Muskrat sees no sign of spring, “There will be more cold weather”, he squeaks. “You mark my words, there will be more cold weather.”
“Of course,” agreed Peeper “A lot of people are going to complain and insist the Old Man Winter is still here. But I know better. Mistress Spring is here. Probably some days it will be too cold to sing, but what of it? It’s just like bad news. There never yet was any news so bad that sooner or later it wasn’t followed by good news. If Old Man Winter wasn’t so rough and tough as folks tell me he is I guess Mistress Spring wouldn’t be so sweet and lovely as she is.”
“You don’t know how rough and tough Old Man Winter is,” squeaked Jerry Muskrat.
But I know how sweet and lovely mistress Spring is, and that is enough to make me sing,” retorted Peeper.
Once more he swelled out his music-bag and began to pipe. From the far side of the Smiling Pool another Hyla began to pipe and another and another.
“Spring! Spring! Spring! Spring!” they piped.
“Spring! Spring! Spring! Spring!” cried Peter Rabbit, kicking up his long heels.
“Spring! Spring! Spring! Spring!” squeaked Jerry Muskrat.
The world around us seems to be snowbound in a winter of unbelief. Yet before us lies the unspeakable joy of seeing our risen Lord, when He returns to the earth to set all things right. We may give a new cry. “He is risen and he is coming! He is risen and he is coming! He is risen and he is coming! He is risen and he is coming!” Rejoice, the promises are all true!
These things I have spoken unto you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. John 16:33