an ancient “24”

My husband and I recently stumbled across a one-day marathon of the TV show, “24.” Each suspense-filled show represents one hour in the “longest day ever” for federal agent Jack Bauer. Even well into the night hours of the season, the story never slows down into the predictable.
Another, centuries old story of a long day begins with the announcement that the cousin of the day’s star has just been violently killed. The central character and his cohorts begin to make arrangements for a time of grieving only to have a huge crowd of the star’s fans show up expecting him to entertain them, give them a speech or two and make them feel better. He notes how far they have traveled, takes pity on them and lays aside his plans for some R&R.
Hours later, his closest friends weary of it all, pull him aside and say, “Hey, enough already. It is time to send these folks home to eat.”
He waves their advice aside, “They don’t need to go home right now. Let’s invite them to supper before they go. It’s been a long day, let’s feed them.”
His supporters drop their jaws in astonishment. He has got to be kidding. There is no way they can whip up enough food for this crowd!
The dude shrugs off their concerns and demonstrates why he is “The Man.” Using his own resources and unique ability to make the impossible happen, he takes what they have, tells his helpers to get the company lined up to eat and voila! presents them with a simple picnic supper.
The crowd loves in. They dig in, fill up, settle back and loosen their belts over their stuffed bellies. The lead guy directs his friends to clean up the mess and he tells everyone else, “Thanks, it has been a great day. And now it is time for y’all to go on home.”
Finally! (You can almost see their shoulders slump in relief.) They can go find a quiet corner, mourn the lost cousin and gather their thoughts after one very long, exhausting day. The lead especially feels the need for a bit of “me time.” He waves the others off, tells them to take the ferry across the lake and promises to catch up with them the next day. He just needs some quiet time.
But the longest day ever is not yet over.
He has barely settled into his favorite spot – up on the mountain overlooking the lake – when he notices that their boat is caught in the onslaught of a night time storm and they are struggling to just stay afloat.
The thing about being the star of “24” is the ability to step in and solve the most impossible situations.
He races down the mountain to their aid. They cannot believe it is him. Surely they are seeing a ghost.
But no, as the “24” hours draws to a close, he suddenly appears before them, literally walking on the water. The most eager follower of our star recognizes him, but cannot believe his eyes. “Hey, if it is you, tell me to come join you.”
“Come,” he said.
His disciple starts walking across to him, only to look around, notice the tumultuous wind and begins to sink until The Man reaches out, pulls him up and helps him back into the boat.
“And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God.’” (Matthew 14:32,33 NIV) concluding one of Jesus Christ’s longest days during His time on earth.
In one day, He healed the sick, taught the people, fed 5,000 men besides women and children and then walked on water in the middle of a stormy night to be with his disciples.
As we enter the holy week before Easter, a fresh reading of that one day’s events in Matthew 14 underscores the miraculous, unpredictable character of the Super Star of Christianity: Jesus Christ.