Why stand ye here gazing?
BY PASTOR KAGAN YOUNG
As Easter is coming upon us, we are in the heart of Holy Week. According to the Bible, Holy Week starts with Jesus’ triumphal entrance into Jerusalem. Called Palm Sunday, the crowds laid down palm leaves as a symbol of honor to the resurrection of our savior who conquered death, hell and the grave.
Matthew 21:8-9 states, “And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strewed them in the way.” “And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.”
Jesus spent his last week preparing his disciples of what was to come. Jesus was sent by our father in heaven to give his life freely so we could have access to eternity in heaven.
John 3:16-17 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” Our Lord and Savior was beaten, mocked, spat upon and humiliated just because he loved us! Holy Week should hold a special place in our hearts as Christians and we should celebrate Easter every day because Jesus overcame the grave and arose from the dead in victory. The son of God became as we are. He took on an earthly form but what made him different was that he was perfect.
The Bible states in 2 Corinthians 5:21 “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” Jesus took on this world body so he could carry the sins of the world.
After Jesus was crucified, his mangled body was taken off the cross and placed in a borrowed tomb offered by a man named Joseph. At this very time, the world was shaken because a man that was so pure and innocent was put to death without a cause.
Matthew 27:51 states “And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent.” Could you imagine this scene in your mind? The veil in the temple that separated man from the most holy symbol, the Ark of the Covenant, was torn from top to bottom. Earthquakes caused rocks to break loose from their places. Graves of those who had died opened and the dead came alive. It may seem that those who rejected the teachings of Jesus thought they had done away with him, but his work was only beginning. For three days, the tomb where the Son of God laid was guarded by Roman soldiers.
As the third day approached, the Bible says in Matthew 28:1-7, “In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulcher. And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men. And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.”
The Bible clearly states that Jesus appears to his disciples, and many others over a forty-day period before he ascended back into heaven. The day arrived that the Son of God is to return back to his father.
Acts 1:11-12 states “And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel. Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.”
One thing that should grip our attention is the phrase “Why stand ye gazing up into heaven?” We are assured that Jesus will return! It should be no surprise that they stood paralyzed and in shock, witnessing this event. Jesus taught his followers from the beginning that we must always be about the father’s business.
If we are honest, too many of us become complacent and allow ourselves to sit idle rather than being about the father’s business. Jesus commissions us to work and not slumber nor sleep. This does not mean that we should not be watching for the return of Jesus. Rather, Jesus should return seeing the church at work in the fields of this world.
Ask yourself this question. Am I fulfilling my duties as a Christian the way Jesus intends me too? Am I too distracted by what’s going on around me? Every follower of Jesus gets to the place at some point where we lose our focus. Eugene Crawley states in his article called “Why stand ye gazing” that those who “gaze” are simply “spectators,” and there is no place for such in the kingdom of God. Each must participate in work and worship which the Lord has commanded. If more would realize this, there would be less need to keep reminding and admonishing some to continue steadfastly in service to God; they would be helping do so.
So this Easter and the days to come, I challenge you to do some soul searching and see if you are at a place where God may ask you “Why stand ye here gazing?” We must be out in the highways and hedges compelling those who don’t have a relationship with Jesus to receive him in their hearts. Jesus is soon returning and ready or not, he will come back. I hope today you are ready, watching for his return! The harvest is ready, but the laborers are few.
(Kagan Young is Pastor of Crab Orchard Free Will Baptist Church in Avery County, N.C.)