“I see that the Lord is always with me.
I will not be shaken, for He is right beside me.
No wonder my heart is glad,
and my tongue shouts his praises!
My body rests in hope” (Acts 2:25-26 NLT)
Hello fellow Jesus Followers,
Have you ever wondered what you would do the following day after winning a lottery…millions of dollars? Would you rush to the car dealership and place your order for the car of your dreams? How would the greatest event in your history change the way you do things? For many, sadly, maybe there would be no change. For others, it might be different for a while, but over a period of time, a return to “the way things used to be” would be the fruit of a momentary joyful event. It’s Easter Monday, the day after the greatest event in history – the resurrection of the Son of God. Maybe we participated in a wonderful, triumphant Easter service only to have to return to work and resume life as we know it. I noticed this morning that the neighbours have their garbage out by the curb. That can only mean that the garbage trucks are operating. I remember a day when Easter Monday was a holiday…for everyone. So was Good Friday. Yesterday, on Easter Sunday, while on my morning walk, I noticed a group of construction workers working on the new Muslim center. I have not seen them for weeks, but there they were on Easter Sunday, pounding away on the steel beams. I was surprised since this was supposed to be “Holy Week” for Christians, Muslims and Jews alike. Once every 30 years the three faiths share a common religious holy time: Easter, Ramadan, and Passover. This year was one of those years. The mosque near my house was a constant bustle of activity. Easter Sunday was back to normal, as Easter Monday is for many “Christians”. Why is that? Can anything be normal again when Jesus has risen from the grave and revealed himself to you…personally?
When I read the narratives of the death and resurrection of Jesus, I am always amazed at the response of the disciples. Jesus told them over and over that He would be killed and raised on the third day (Matt. 12:40; 16:21; John 2:19). Yet there was no excitement to rush to the tomb and see if Jesus’ words were true. The women – Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of James were the first ones there. They experienced what the others did not – the earthquake, the angel rolling away the stone so the women could see the empty tomb, the glory of the brightness of the new dawn, the guards shaking in their boots. They were the first to hear that Jesus is risen, and the first to meet Jesus and worship Him after the resurrection (Matt. 28:1-9). Mary Magdalene found the disciples and told them that Jesus was risen from the dead, but they did not believe (Mark 16:10-11). The women experienced the risen Savior first – they were eager to see and their eagerness paid off. Luke’s resurrection narrative paints a larger portrait of Jesus’ interaction with the “slow to believe” and “startled and frightened” disciples (Luke 24:25, 37). In John’s account, the disciples, even after finding out Jesus had been raised from the dead, were hiding in a house, afraid of the Jewish authorities. Even after Jesus appears to them, it is written: “after eight days again His disciples were inside” (John 20:26). A week later and they are still in hiding! Peter and others finally left the house and went fishing (John 21:3). What!
You just experienced the greatest event in your life and you return to the status quo – the same old humdrum life you used to live! God have mercy on us. Well… we can cut the disciples some slack since they were not yet filled with Holy Spirit, which happened at Pentecost – 50 days later, recorded in Acts 2. After that event, they were new creations, living loudly and boldly for Jesus. But what about us? Did this Easter fire you up to live for Jesus or is it just another holiday where we get to do spring cleanup and put away our winter paraphernalia. What is the Monday after the Sunday of all Sundays to you, if Easter Sunday is even a thing for you? For many, it is like what I hear people say when getting married after living together for several years – “no big deal…just a piece of paper.” “It’s just a day when I feel I have to go to church.” Maybe you are beyond that, and it is not even a feeling anymore.
Friends, it's never too late to get fired up about Jesus and the resurrection! I love what Paul says in a letter to the Philippians, after serving Jesus for many years, and now in jail for serving Jesus: “I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection” (Phil. 3:10). Paul experienced incredible things as Jesus lived His life through Paul. Many of us are there also…I hope. I pray Jesus never gets boring, and that living in the power of our risen Savior never becomes dull to us. If following Jesus has become unexciting, it's time for a fresh filling from Holy Spirit. It’s time to reconnect to Jesus and His power, and to start living the abundant life of turning the whole world upside down as we do the work He has prepared for us to do. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is never a boring topic – because He lives…we live! To quote Paul, “it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me” (Gal. 2:20). The answer to the question, “Now What?” is, “Jesus, now that you are resurrected and alive in me, what do you want me to do next?” “What great thing have you got planned for me today…who am I talking to; who do you want me to pray for…lay hands on; with whom do you want me to share the power of the resurrection?” “Now what” can either be a condescending dismissal of the whole event, or “now what” can be a sincere question to the God of the universe who is abiding in us to empower us to say, “Now what is next Lord…what exciting thing have You planned for me today?” I pray that the dismal state of our world has not got us too down and discouraged, but that the power of the risen Savior fires us up to turn the world upside down for Jesus. It’s Monday, after easter Sunday – be filled and empowered to bring the resurrected Savior into your workplaces, spaces and faces, and see what a risen Savior can do through you to change the world you live in! Now What…Jesus. What’s next!
Have an exciting week!
"Advancing the Kingdom of God by releasing Spirit-filled followers to serve Jesus in freedom and joy."