Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.
It is 2,000 or so years ago, and it is Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath. For the disciples, the previous week ran the gamut from great joy to unspeakable sorrow. On Palm Sunday, Jesus was greeted like a hero, a rock star. People lined the streets and shouted, "Hosanna!"
For the next few days, Jesus taught through parables and, with divine wisdom, answered all the criticisms and arguments of the Pharisees and Sadducees. Then, on Thursday night, they shared a wonderful meal in the upper room. Christ washed their feet. What humility! He also talked about betrayal and death, but the disciples didn't understand.
Then, the soldiers came. Jesus was arrested, tried, sentenced, crucified, and buried. The disciples joy gave way to fear. They ran and hid. They denied even knowing Christ. Their only goal was self-preservation. All pledges of love, belief and allegiance were broken and forgotten. Now they cower in the upper room, waiting for the soldiers to come for them. What were they to do? Jesus was gone. If He didn't save Himself from agonizing death, surely His promise of resurrection was impossible. The disciples' expectations were based on their own human limitations.
In his letter to the church in Rome, Paul talks about how we find ourselves in that place of hopelessness and fear if we have faith in our own flesh rather than in the Holy Spirit. In Romans 8:5, 9-11, he writes: Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.
We celebrate the Resurrection on Easter Sunday, but we need resurrection all year long. No matter how strong our faith, no matter how we experience God's grace in our lives, we are hounded by fear and doubt. Like the disciples, we have roller coaster weeks when it appears that God has failed or abandoned us. We run and hide in our forts of flesh wondering what to do next. Paul tells us that if we dedicate ourselves to live by the teachings of Jesus and, through prayer, fill ourselves with the Spirit of God, we will overcome all fears. It doesn't mean we won't be afraid, but we will know that what we cannot do, God can.
If you are going through a Friday of death or betrayal, or a Saturday of darkness and despair, know without a doubt that a Sunday resurrection is coming. Hold on to Christ, lean on the Spirit of Him who raised Christ from the dead. This Easter, no matter how things may be in our flesh, let us shout for all to hear, "He is Risen Indeed", and set our minds that we will also rise again.