It’s after Easter – now what?

So Easter was officially a little over a week ago. Really, that was the most important holiday of the year for those of us who claim Christ as LORD and Savior. Without the resurrection, our hope is futile (1 Cor 15:12 – 19). But praise the LORD, He did rise (1 Cor 15:20-22). Hundreds of people saw Him with their own eyes (1 Cor 15:6), including the apostles (for example, John 20:19-23). First-hand witnesses are always the most compelling.

Wow – 40 days!

But what’s amazing is that Jesus hung out for 40 days after His resurrection (Acts 1:3). I was thinking about this and thought to myself, why? Couldn’t he have just shown up and said, “Hey all! I’m here! I’m good! Told you so, remember? Chin up. Tell everyone you saw me! I’m out.” But He didn’t. He stayed for over a month. That’s a significant amount of time. Apparently, that’s the amount of time He needed to confirm the faith to them, to strengthen them, and to continue to teach them from Scripture.

As I was thinking about what that time would have been like, I would imagine all of His disciples must have had spiritual whiplash. One minute, they were desperately hopeless. All of their best-laid plans were dashed to pieces. If it were me, I wouldn’t be able to think much about the future. Would the Romans be after each of Jesus’s followers next? Would I be on that cross? When would they come? Now? Or in an hour? The fear and uncertainty must have been unbearable.

And then out of nowhere, there’s Jesus.

Just, wow! What was going on?

The reality of death

In our culture, we see death (for the most part), cleaned up and tidy. Even the meat we eat obviously had to die. But we are so far removed from the messiness and reality of death. We know it obviously exists and that things die all the time, but it’s much more a conceptual reality rather than an in-your-face, visual one.

Not so for the followers of Christ and all those living in that time of history. Although it’s hard to imagine being in the shoes of someone who saw the death of Jesus, they would have had the authority of knowing death when they saw it. Death was familiar. Just think about all of the sacrifices at the Temple. They would have known what death looked like. Smelled like. Whether that was from animal sacrifices or people’s diseases or accidents or whatever. They would have been much more familiar with death.

Besides the people surrounding Jesus, obviously, the Roman soldiers knew what they were doing and were very familiar with both causing deaths and assuring someone was dead. It’s the familiarity that gave them and the surrounding crowd certainty that, yes, that person was definitely dead. No question. That was part of life. That person was gone forever. Or at least, that’s what their perception was.

Why Jesus stayed

Maybe that was such a big reason why Jesus didn’t just show up and then quickly leave. He had to assure His disciples that it was really Him and what He had taught them was really true. He had to review the Scriptures with them again, helping them make the connections to open their eyes to God’s incredible plan of redemption for His people. God is so good, He stayed for a time. He wanted to assure His people, He was truly alive and He really was Who He said He was. They would absolutely need that assurance, as well as the Holy Spirit, for what they were soon called to do.

After Easter party?

Easter is absolutely an important day of remembrance for the Body of Christ. But there should be a continuation of jubilation and joy that we share with others for the next 40 days after Easter, to remember how Christ delayed His return to heaven. Lent obviously commemorates the 40 days leading up to Easter, but again, I’m voting we make up a holiday for after. Sort of like an After Hours Easter Party. Usually, people give up things for Lent in order to remember the great sacrifice He made. Maybe for this other After Hours party, though, we can have a daily celebration in honor of Christ, speaking more about Him and standing even more firmly in His promises and His Word. He rose, people. He died, but He now lives! If that’s not something to celebrate, I don’t know what is.

Joyfully glorify our Savior!

We are wretches that don’t deserve His grace or mercy. But He gave it to us anyway. How do we repay such an incredible gift? We obviously can’t. But since we know our “chief end is to glorify Him and enjoy Him forever” (Westminster Catechism), then we need to do just that. We glorify Him by walking by faith rather than fear. We honor Him by giving Him the glory rather than trying to snatch it up for ourselves. And when we obey Him rather than man, bending our knee not for the benefit of man’s plans but for God’s, we are better suited to be used as His instruments in the fallen world we live in.

There is no better way to live our lives. We are in the midst of the days after Easter. I pray we live in hopeful joy and awe over the free gift of salvation that our Savior offers those who repent and choose to love Him over this world and anything or anyone in it. He is good, even when it’s hard; even when we don’t understand. Praise Jesus for Easter and praise Jesus for His patience with His sheep, continually showing us Who He is and how faithful He is no matter who we’ve been or what we’ve done.

We serve an incredible God. Let’s joyfully party on for His glory. Amen?

©2024 Mud Hen Mama


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