The Easter ham is gone. The hard-boiled egg shards scatter the floor. The Easter bunny has hopped on. So what do we do now? How do we continue to live in the joy of Easter?
We follow the example of Jesus' closest followers and we live with zeal.
We don't often use the word "zeal" in everyday conversation. The dictionary defines it as “great energy or enthusiasm in pursuit of a cause or an objective.” Some related words include passion, vigor, intensity, devotion, fervor, and fire. But what does it mean to live zealously?
On Palm Sunday, the people shouted praises as Jesus passed, laying down palm branches. The indignant Pharisees said, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples. But He answered and said to them, ‘I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out’” (Luke 19:39–40). Those people on the road into Jerusalem had zeal. You can hear their passion.
When Jesus walked into His Father’s house and saw those He referred to as “robbers,” taking advantage of God’s people, he acted with zeal as he overturned the tables. You can see his devotion and intensity.
Naturally, Jesus—being zealous for God’s house and God’s children—took action. Jesus would not stand for such abuse upon those who sought to be closer to God. These were men and women coming to the temple in order to offer a sacrifice to the Lord, and they were being taken advantage of. In that moment, He showed Himself once again to be the voice of the voiceless and the defender of the defenseless. He caused a scene, ruffled some feathers, and no doubt stirred hearts. His righteous anger led to a holy and teachable moment. He had zeal. His was the life the disciples sought to live after Jesus' resurrection and ascension. And that is how we continue to live in the joy of Easter - with zeal.
We can live like the disciples, preaching and demonstrating, driven by the same fire that drove Jesus.
By the time we arrive at Acts 4, Peter and John had been making waves in the temple, healing a lame man and proclaiming the message of Jesus and His resurrection boldly. They, like their Master, disrupted the religious order, the temple. Not for the sake of dissension, but to set those held captive by an unreachable religious standard free, to receive the grace of God that comes by faith in Christ.
Here at Lutheran Indian Ministries, we, too, are challenging religious leaders, those who, centuries ago, taught a false gospel to the Natives they encountered. Those who told the indigenous people of this land that God could only love them if they became like the white man. And those who, with their un-Christian ways, damaged communities, families, and individuals, the aftermath of which we still see today.
We aren't doing this to simply be quarrelsome but because we are zealous for Native peoples who still feel held by unreachable religious standards. We want to share with our Native brothers and sisters the joy of Easter and the grace of God that comes by faith in the Risen Christ. We want to be like the those who followed Jesus.
So, what are you zealous for?
Where do your passion and devotion lie? For Jesus and His disciples, it was all about serving the lost and broken, bringing hope and freedom to all who would receive it. As Christ followers, our zeal should be for God’s temple, because you are His temple. Your neighbor is His temple. Your enemy is His temple! Ask God to show you how you can clear your temple so that the Spirit may fill it!
Today, spend time reflecting on what it means to have God’s Spirit within you.
This devotion is based on Calvary Fort Lauderdale's series: "'It is finished' was just the beginning."