29 June, 2022

April 17 | Application

by | 11 April, 2022

When the Crocuses Bloom

By David Faust

If you survey a crowd about their favorite flowers, crocuses probably won’t make the list. They aren’t tall like sunflowers, elegant like orchids, or fragrant like hyacinths and lilacs. Love songs mention roses and lilies, but no songwriter compares his lover to a crocus.

Barely 2 or 3 inches tall, these little flowers grow close to the ground. Their petals bear bright colors (yellow, purple, and white) but they are easy to overlook. A creative arranger might use them as a table decoration, but crocuses are too small to display at a banquet or feature at a wedding or a funeral. I have never seen a groom with a crocus pinned to his lapel or a bride carrying a crocus bouquet.

Last fall, though, I planted three dozen crocus bulbs in flower beds near my house. These little blossoms are some of my favorite flowers because in northern regions, crocuses are one of the first signs of spring. Hardy enough to poke their way through an inch of snow, they break winter’s icy grip and brighten the lifeless landscape. When the crocuses bloom, they are a harbinger of better things to come—a first glimpse of warmer days ahead. Soon the grass and trees will turn green, and more spring flowers will appear.

Spiritual Winter

It was early spring when Jesus was nailed to the cross. In the spiritual realm, it had been a long winter—cloudy and dark ever since Adam and Eve ate the garden’s forbidden fruit. On that dark afternoon outside Jerusalem, onlookers moved by Jesus’ brutal crucifixion “beat their breasts and went away” (Luke 23:48). Others “stood at a distance, watching these things” (v. 49). Still today, many stand at a distance—aware of the cross but choosing not to get too close.

One soldier couldn’t stand at a distance. His job was to monitor the proceedings. Hardened by battles and familiar with bloodshed, he stood so close to the cross that he could hear the gasping conversations of the three men being crucified. Two of them were known as thieves and the one in the middle was identified as “King of the Jews.” What happened that day, including Jesus’ dying words, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit” (v. 46), moved the centurion to praise God and exclaim, “Surely this was a righteous man” (v. 47).

In biblical times, mourners expressed their grief by tearing their garments. At Jesus’ last breath, the heavenly Father reached down and tore the temple curtain in two (v. 45), opening bold new access to his presence. Spiritual spring was coming.

Spiritual Spring

What happens after our hearts stop beating and our lungs stop breathing? Is there more to come after we die? Everyone asks questions like these, but the good news found in Luke 24 changes our perspective and points firmly in the direction of hope with its bold declaration, “He has risen!” (v. 6).

At first even Jesus’ disciples didn’t grasp this grand miracle. They dismissed initial reports of it as “nonsense” (v. 11). It took solid evidence, including a close-up look at Jesus’ hands and feet (vv. 36-40), watching him eat broiled fish (vv. 42-43), and 40 days of “convincing proofs” (Acts 1:3) for them to accept that Jesus truly had risen from the dead.

Like a bright-colored crocus emerging from the icy ground, Jesus’ resurrection shows it is possible to survive the spiritual winter. More life and beauty are yet to come.

Personal Challenge: With a friend or small group, talk about the difference Easter makes in your life. Explain how Jesus’ death and resurrection have transformed you from light to darkness and from spiritual “winter” to spiritual “spring.”

Christian Standard

Contact us at cs@christianstandardmedia.com

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