Tuesday, March 25, 2008

After the Resurrection

What happened after the resurrection in the disciples' lives? What was going through their minds? What did they do the day after, the week after? I've been studying the aftermath of the resurrection of Jesus because that is where we are now. We call Easter weekend the Super Bowl of the church - more people and more excitement than any other time of the year. The weekend after Easter is often called the Great Letdown because those same people who had such great excitement a week before aren't back.

As I read the four Gospels, I don't think we are so different from the disciples - we should be because time gives us perspective, but we aren't. Check out what each describes as happening after the resurrection:

Matthew 28:8-20 has Jesus appearing and wanting to meet the disciples in Galilee. The religious leaders want to play down the "disappearance" of Jesus so they bribe the guards. Then we get the Great Commission.

Mark 16:9-20 gives us a bit more information. Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene, then appears to two of them, then he appears to them all because they lack faith in his resurrection. We get another Great Commission and a promise of signs and wonders. Finally, Jesus ascends to heaven and the disciples go to work spreading the Gospel.

Luke 24:13-53 begins with the walk to Emmaus as Jesus joins two of his followers, but they are going away from Jerusalem, not in the direction that he asked his disciples to go. Then Jesus appears to the disciples, but they are not heading to Galilee as instructed. He appears to them again and opens their minds to everything he needed them to understand. Finally, Jesus leads them to where he is going to ascend to heaven. After he goes the disciples stick around for a while and worship.

John 20:19-21:25 has Jesus appearing to the disciples behind locked doors, telling them to receive the Holy Spirit and to forgive one another. Then Jesus appears two more times and then to Thomas who is doubting everything going on post resurrection, but believes after seeing Jesus. Then we get the story of the disciples fishing and Peter jumping into the water when he recognizes Jesus. It is here that Jesus and Peter have a one on one session where Jesus asks Peter if he loves him three times to represent the three denials of Peter before the crucifixion.

All of these accounts are fascinating to me. I ask myself - what do we learn from this? The life, death and resurrection of Jesus really happened, but we don't stay where we are. We are called to obediently continue the work that was started in Jesus and has now been passed on to us - that the world may know the Good News of Jesus.

What does that mean for you and me? What's our next move after the resurrection? Do we allow the resurrection to transform us? Or do we go back to our everyday, ordinary lives as if nothing happened? Our response to the resurrection today shows where our hearts are with God. It means everything, because everything changed on Easter.


Pamela said...

We need as the body to continually pray for Pentecost, for without the empowering of the Holy Spirit, we can do nothing. It is vitally imporant to assemble weekly in the "upper room" of the sanctuary so to speak so that we can be refreshed and renewed to go back out into the world showing His love. It wasn't just the apostolic elders that were assembled in the upper room, it was a large gathering of believers, We are the church together.....