After Easter

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“When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”  They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen…” (Luke 24:30-35).

Only Dr. Luke records this post-resurrection event. Two downcast disciples of Jesus are leaving Jerusalem and returning to their home in Emmaus. They share with their unrecognized Lord how great their crucified Master was. Yet they could not veil the disappointment that their hope that He was “the one who was going to redeem Israel ” (Luke 24:21) had vaporized. “After all,” they said, “it has been 3 days since His death.” Jesus’ response was a loving but stern, “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” (Luke 24:25-26). Then He patiently explained that these events were the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets and that Scripture had pointed to Him from the beginning (v. 27). And when they understood, they rushed back to Jerusalem with a renewed sense of enablement.

These followers of Christ were still living in the past, choosing to dwell upon Friday’s seemingly tragic events. They had been told that He was alive (v. 22-24) but, with their faith shattered and their heads staring down at the dirt road, they solemnly trudged home to their former life back in Emmaus.

But they weren’t alone. Peter, along with some of the other disciples, had essentially done the same thing. Jesus had called them to be “fisher’s of men” but where did He find them after He had come victoriously from the grave? Fishing! For fish (see John 21:1-14)! Defeated by their failure to be faithful during Christ’s suffering and hopeless and helpless without the leadership of their Captain, they had returned to the same purposeless way of life they knew before they met Jesus. But upon seeing their risen Lord they made a mad dash to greet Him (John 21:7-8).

Tomorrow we celebrate Easter and Jesus’ expression of His continued presence with us, power in us, peace for us, and purpose through us that is clearly demonstrated by His resurrection. In the 40 days (Acts 1:3) before He ascended to the right hand of the Father, He continually reminded His followers of those 4 things and made clear statements regarding each (see Matthew 28:16-20; Luke 24:36-49; John 21:15-19; Acts 1:1-11). All of this became a reality for His disciples as they waited in Jerusalem (the very place many had left following His crucifixion) for these promises to be fulfilled by the manifestation of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. In other words, it was after Easter that the full impact of His resurrection was most realized in His followers and they, moving forward, led lives that demonstrated His continued presence, power, peace, and purpose. Just read the book of Acts for the dramatic aftermath.

My point? Let’s not lose the inertia of our Easter worship and festivities. Many of us will be stirred by exhilarating music, emotional “Passion Plays,” and motivating sermons. But our experience of the profundity of His resurrection is not meant to end there. The influence of His resurrection is to be something that propels us all year around, day by day, moment by moment.

So, let us not, like these disciples, return to the routine of a former, spiritually trivial life, but let us be continually transformed by the “fellowship of His sufferings and the power of His resurrection” (Philippians 3:10). May His presence, power, peace and purpose in and through us not fade after the invigorating crescendo of our Easter activities and focus. Instead, may our hearts continue to “burn within us” with an all-consuming passion that can only come from the on-going sufficiency that His resurrection guarantees.

May we let Jesus’ truth resonate with us: “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies;  and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26). Do we? Then let’s be transformed by the truth that His resurrection is to be experienced not just on a holiday but every day before and after. Let’s not live like He is still dead. Let’s not revert to the old passionless, mundane ways that we rose above during this sacred season. Let’s magnify Him through His presence, power, peace, and purpose, even after Easter!

2 Responses to After Easter

  1. Thank you Pastor Linden for the Pingback it was very kind of you and I loved the way you presented it and the others which I will also check out, thank you for them too.

    I was also blessed by your message and it is part of my Devotions this morning, my heart rose in Joy as I read your words below, yes how we long to do this everyday…..

    Let’s magnify Him through His presence, power, peace, and purpose, even after Easter!

    On reflection of your message Pastor Linden, we know without the Holy Spirit who we ask for and receive through His Baptism, (Luke11:13) we too would be like the Disciples after Jesus’ death, without clear direction or power to witness. This is why Jesus told them to wait for Pentecost and with the empowering of the Holy Spirit they went out into the whole known world and powerfully shared the Gospel to all those who would listen, sadly some didn’t and so they had to shake the dust off their sandals and just walk away.

    God never forces us to accept and obey Him against our free will, He does not want puppets but He does show us His reality so we can choose and we will choose Him if we are known by God as His own from Eternity and because He knew we would choose Him, He chose us to be conformed into the image of Jesus after our heart repentance and by putting our flesh to death (Romans 8 :12-15-Colossians 3:4-6 -Galatians 5:24 -26 +) and being perfected in Love we become one.

    Jesus tells us to seek ask and knock, some don’t and so they don’t Mature, they don’t aim for the goal of their Salvation but remain childish and so are easily deceived and sadly some fall away and reject Jesus and His Truth even after being part of a church, and knowing the Truth and also having a spiritual gift and this is the Eternal Destiny they choose for themselves.

    Thank you again Pastor Linden and God bless you and your Loved ones greatly at Easter and always.

    Christian Love in our Unity in Christ Jesus – Anne.

    • God bless you, Anne! Thanks for your kind words and the ministry you have to magnify our great God. Knowing that we are part of the same divine family, even though thousands of miles apart, is one of the most amazing parts of His mercy! Grace to you, Linden.

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