A ruminant is an animal that chews its cud, swallows, brings it back up to chew again.
For humans, it’s a thinking habit. To ruminate is to consider, think about, and possibly obsess over a certain thing. It’s not a good habit. People who ruminate tend to over-think things, becoming fixed on a thought or idea until it consumes way too much of their time.
Today, I’m going to indulge in a little rumination.
Saturday. The day after Jesus’ death, if He indeed died on Friday. For me, it doesn’t compute because Friday afternoon to Sunday morning is not three days. However, that is not my point of rumination this morning. Too much time and energy has been put into “proving” on which day He died.
The fact is that He did, indeed, give up His life in our behalf. He was entombed on the same day. What I’m thinking about right now is this: What kind of condition were His followers in during the intervening period between His death and His resurrection? What did they do? How could they keep on? Had anyone remembered that Jesus had declared that after three days He would rise again (Mark 9:31; Matthew 27:63)?
I suspect that at least two primary reactions were shared among them all: Shock, and despair.
They were shocked because they, too, had seen Him as the Messiah who would free them from Roman rule. They had seen His miracles, heard Him preach, and come to know Him on a very personal level. Think of it: They walked with the Son of God, ate with Him, shared sleeping quarters–even on the bare ground–with Him, prayed with Him. They loved Him, and He loved them. And they had just placed his tortured, tormented body in a tomb!
Despair? Of course, because all their hopes were dashed to pieces. They believed the Roman hammer could fall on them at any moment, and they hid together in an upper room, behind barred doors, while they prayed for some kind of direction from God.
The women who had followed Him tended to do what women do. They planned to take care of His body as best they could. At least they had some sense of purpose in the midst of this great, cataclysmic loss. I’m sure it was the women who took care of the details of living during this time. They prepared food, tended to housekeeping, perhaps cared for children and other family members as they bore their grief and wept while they worked.
No one had heard the classic sermon, Sunday’s Coming! If they had, perhaps they would have faced these days with a sense of excitement and anticipation rather than one of fear and dread.